WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-M.I.) introduced the Legacy IRA Act of 2019 today, a bill to increase the ability of elderly middle-class Americans to give to charity without facing double taxation.

“Current law allows elderly Americans to contribute previously-taxed funds in their IRA directly to qualified charities without facing double taxation. However, most middle-class Americans cannot do so because they need their IRA to last their entire retirement,” said Senator Cramer. “Charitable life income plans allow retirees to transfer their IRA into an accessible trust that automatically donates any remaining funds to a charity of their choice. Unfortunately, that transfer is taxable, making it infeasible for any middle-class senior who cannot afford a cut to their retirement savings. The Legacy IRA Act exempts these transfers from taxation and makes it easier for middle-class Americans to give their life savings to a good cause.”

“Our charitable organizations do such important work and depend on generous contributions from many American families,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our legislation cuts red tape in the tax code to make it easier for people to give to the charity of their choice.”

Leaders of non-profit organizations that heavily rely on charitable donations issued statements in support of the Legacy IRA Act.

“This legislation is a win-win, both for seniors who want to support philanthropic causes and for charitable organizations that benefit from individual philanthropy,” said Suzie Upton, Chief Operating Officer for the American Heart Association. “By building on the IRA Charitable Rollover, which has generated millions of dollars in new or increased contributions to local and national charities, this bill would allow more seniors to benefit from the rollover and make tax-free charitable contributions. The legislation would encourage charitable giving to mission-driven organizations nationwide, enabling seniors to participate in the rich American tradition of philanthropy while continuing to draw needed income from their investments. We are grateful to Senators Cramer and Stabenow for their leadership on behalf of the nationwide philanthropic community, and we urge broad congressional support for this important bill.”

“We applaud Senators Cramer and Stabenow for introducing the Legacy IRA Act, legislation that will incentivize additional giving to support student scholarships, research, faculty and academic programs,” said Sue Cunningham, President and CEO, Council for Advancement and Support of Education. “We all benefit from the opportunities created through charitable giving to educational institutions. Through such generosity, colleges and universities are better able to achieve their goals, support their students, and create new knowledge that transforms lives and society, which provides impact far beyond the institution itself.”

“The existing IRA Charitable Rollover has been extremely beneficial for charities overall, but many Americans cannot afford to give away their retirement income during their lifetime,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, President and CEO of Independent Sector. “The Legacy IRA Act would give prospective donors one more critical way to invest in the common good in a way that works for them. On behalf of our members—a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations working to advance the common good—Independent Sector is proud to support this legislation.”

“The IRA charitable rollover has been a proven charitable giving incentive over the past decade,” said William C. Daroff, Senior Vice President of the Jewish Federations of North America. “Expanding the rollover to cover legacy gift programs will help senior donors secure their finances as well as increase the flow of dollars to America’s charities.”

“I want to thank both Senator Cramer and Senator Stabenow for their bi-partisan support and sponsorship of the Legacy IRA Act,” said Georgette Lehmuth, President and CEO of the National Catholic Development Conference. “This act will empower middle class supporters of the charitable good works of our faith-based organizations to make a significant gift that they never dreamed possible to the charities whom they have supported throughout their lives.  This will give charities an invaluable option to offer to their faithful donors as they move closer to retirement. In the end, our organizations will find new resources to further their ministries of care and compassion to those most vulnerable.”

Click here to download the text of the bill.

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