You are here

Memorial Church

How to Make a Tax-Free Distribution from Your Individual Retirement Account

Winter 2019

For those who are 70½ or older, any amount up to $100,000 can be distributed tax-free from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to Stanford or your other favorite charities though December 31, 2019—and unless Congress changes this law, similar distributions can be made in future years as well. This amount can count toward your required minimum distribution for the year in which the distribution is made. Although these distributions are not deductible as charitable contributions on your income tax return, they impact your taxes because they are not treated as taxable income to you.

Here’s how it works:

  • You must be 70½ or older at the time of distribution.
  • You may distribute any amount up to $100,000 in a calendar year to charity, as long it is completed by December 31 of the year in which you intend to make the charitable distribution.
  • Your IRA administrator must make the distribution directly to the charity, or you may write a check payable to the charity from your IRA checkbook (special rules apply when a check is written from an IRA checkbook, please contact the Stanford Office of Planned Giving for more information). For a sample letter of instruction to your IRA administrator requesting a distribution to Stanford, click here.
  • If you make a gift to Stanford from your IRA, please include written instructions on how you would like to designate your gift. You can also call 866.543.0243 or email with your gift designation.

Certain restrictions and requirements* must be followed when making this type of gift. If you have questions, please call the Office of Planned Giving at Stanford at 650.725.4358 or 800.227.8977, ext. 54358, or email Before proceeding, you should also consult with your tax advisor to discuss your particular situation including any impact of your state’s tax laws.

* For example, the following transfers will not qualify: distributions to private foundations, to donor advised funds, for life income gifts (e.g., charitable remainder trusts), and for any purpose that entitles you to receive a benefit, such as preferred seating at athletic events or tickets to a dinner.

Gifts may be sent to:

Stanford University
Development Services
P.O. Box 20466
Stanford, CA 94309-0466

For further information, please contact:

Office of Planned Giving, Stanford University
Tel: 650.725.4358 or 800.227.8977, ext. 54358 (toll-free; United States only)

Stanford University’s federal tax identification number is 94-1156365