Retirement Assets

Your IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other qualified retirement plan can provide a tax-smart way to make an impact on Robin Hood either now or at the end of your lifetime. The qualified charitable distribution or QCD (also known as an “IRA charitable rollover”) is a great way to make a tax-free gift now to Robin Hood and satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD) too.

A gift of retirement plan assets could be right for you if:

  • You have an IRA or other qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k) or 403(b).
  • You do not expect to need all of your retirement plan assets during your lifetime.
  • You have other assets, such as securities and real estate, that you want to pass to heirs.
  • You want to provide income or payments to loved ones after you are gone.
  • You would like to make a charitable bequest to Robin Hood.

Option 1: Make a tax-free gift now with a qualified charitable distribution.

You can make a tax-free gift with a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA. (Other Qualified Retirement Plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s are not eligible). You must be at least 70½ years old to take advantage of this opportunity. Your QCD must go directly from your IRA administrator to Robin Hood. The total of all of your QCD gifts for 2024 cannot exceed $105,000 per person however, your spouse with a separate IRA can also make a QCD of up to $105,000 in 2024 if they otherwise qualify.

The benefits of a QCD gift include:

  • If you don’t itemize your income tax deductions, a QCD provides the tax benefits of an itemized income tax charitable deduction.
  • If you are age 73 and must take a required minimum distribution, your QCD gift can satisfy your RMD without increasing your income taxes.
  • Your gift provides immediate support for the important work of Robin Hood with a tax-free gift.

Option 2: Designate your remaining qualified retirement plan assets as a contribution to Robin Hood.

Another attractive option is to designate Robin Hood as the recipient of some or all of what’s left in your IRA, 401(k), 403(b), or other qualified retirement plan at the end of your lifetime.

In addition to having the satisfaction of making a significant future gift to Robin Hood, your benefits include:

  • Your estate is entitled to an unlimited estate tax charitable deduction for the value of your qualified retirement plan donated to Robin Hood.
  • Since Robin Hood is tax-exempt, there will be no income taxes paid on the distribution to Robin Hood.
  • A tax-smart estate planning strategy is to contribute taxable Qualified Retirement Plan assets to Robin Hood and preserve non-retirement plan assets for your heirs.

Note: Directing your qualified retirement plan to charitable and noncharitable beneficiaries can accelerate the income tax. Always consult with your advisers before naming the beneficiaries of your qualified retirement plan.

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IRAs and Qualified Retirement Plans

Retirement plan assets are a major source of wealth for many households. People can have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in their IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or other qualified retirement plans. These plans do not pay tax on the income they earn or the capital gains realized within the account. This allows the assets to grow faster than if held and not invested in these qualified plans.

The primary purpose of your retirement plan is to provide you with income during your retirement, but it can also be an excellent source of funds for making charitable gifts during your life and when your plan ends.

Withdrawals Are Taxed as Income

With the exception of the Roth IRA, the money used to fund a qualified retirement plan, such as a traditional IRA, 401(k) or 403(b), has never been taxed, and the earnings that occur within a qualified retirement plan are not taxed either. Consequently, withdrawals from any of these plans (except for the Roth IRA) are taxed as ordinary income. Your federal income tax alone on a withdrawal from one of these plans could be as high as 37%.

Withdrawals Are Required Once You Reach 73 Years Old

You must start taking withdrawals from your qualified retirement plan once you reach 73 years old. The amount you must withdraw each year is a percentage of the value of your retirement plan as of the last day of the previous year. The percentage starts below 4% for someone who is taking their first required minimum distribution and increases with age according to a schedule published by the IRS.

Taxes on Remaining Retirement Assets Can Be Very High

Your family members and other heirs will have to pay income tax on any distributions they receive from your retirement plan after you are gone. In addition, your qualified retirement plan is included in your estate, so if your estate is large enough to owe estate tax, your plan may increase the estate taxes you owe.

As mentioned above, federal income tax can be 37%. When you add federal income tax and estate tax together, they can total 62% or more. In states that assess their own taxes on estates, the total taxes on retirement plan assets paid to heirs can be over 62%.

Give Retirement Plan Assets to Robin Hood and Save Taxes

In contrast to your retirement plan assets, your estate will not owe income tax on most of its other assets in addition to estate taxes that may be due. As a result, your estate and heirs will pay lower taxes if you pass your less heavily taxed assets to your heirs and give your retirement plan assets to charity. Paying lower taxes will mean that more assets will reach your heirs. How much more will depend on the size of your estate, where you live, the other assets you own and the type of gift you make.

How Do I Pass Retirement Plan Assets to Robin Hood?

You have several good options for passing your retirement plan assets to us:

Beneficiary Designation

The simplest and most common way to give retirement plan assets is to make Robin Hood a beneficiary of your retirement plan. All you need to do is to file a revised beneficiary designation form with your retirement plan administrator to designate our organization as a beneficiary of your plan and name the percentage of your remaining assets that you want us to receive. The retirement plan assets that you designate for us will avoid all income tax and estate tax. In order for your estate to enjoy both of these tax benefits, it is especially important that you make our organization the designated beneficiary of these retirement plan assets, not your estate. Please be sure to use our legal name on the form: Robin Hood Foundation.

Life Income Plan

Prior to the passage of the SECURE Act in 2020, inherited IRAs could stretch out their taxable distributions over the life expectancy of your heirs. The SECURE Act requires an inherited IRA to distribute all of its assets within 10 years. With the elimination of the stretch IRA, an attractive option for planning (so that inherited retirement plan assets can pay income for life) is to designate a charitable remainder trust or charitable gift annuity as the beneficiary of your retirement plan. Passing assets to us through a life income plan allows you to provide income to your loved ones after you are gone as well as provide support to Robin Hood. Such a plan strikes a balance between leaving the entirety of your retirement plan assets to loved ones subject to significant taxation and leaving all of these assets to us and eliminating taxes on them altogether. Here's how a life income plan works:

  • Your retirement plan transfers the designated portion of its final balance to a charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity.
  • The heirs you have chosen receive payments from the plan each year, typically for life.
  • When the life income plan ends, its remaining principal goes to support Robin Hood.

Using retirement plan assets to fund a life income plan spreads out income tax and reduces estate tax on these assets, if your estate is subject to estate taxes. This typically results in a reduction of the total taxes on your retirement assets by more than half compared to distributing them to your heirs through your estate.

Life Income Plan Options

There are several life income plan options to choose from. The one that is right for you will depend on a variety of factors. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about funding a life income plan with assets from your retirement plan.


Armand Garrett, 75, is a retired business executive who has accumulated $500,000 in the retirement plan that he set up through his company years ago. He takes minimum distributions from his plan in order to preserve as much tax-free growth inside the plan as he can. At this rate, he expects that his account may still be worth $500,000 when he dies.

Armand has reached the time in his life when he has begun thinking about the legacies he wants to leave behind after he is gone. He decides to leave a bequest to Robin Hood to create an endowed fund that will perpetuate generous support in his name. To accomplish his goals, he designates 40% of the final balance in his retirement account to Robin Hood.

Benefits in This Example:

  • There will be no income tax or estate tax on the 40% of Armand's retirement plan assets that are transferred to Robin Hood.
  • Assume the balance in Armand's IRA when it ends is $500,000 and he donates 40% of that balance ($200,000) to Robin Hood. If Armand were to pass the same amount to his family, that distribution would be subject to ordinary income tax. His family would owe an income tax of $74,000 (37% bracket) on the IRA assets, leaving only about $126,000 for their own use. If Armand’s estate is subject to estate tax, the tax savings would be even greater if he donates his assets to Robin Hood, since his estate would be entitled to an estate tax charitable deduction of $200,000.
  • Armand has the immediate satisfaction of knowing that he has put a gift plan in place that will keep his name alive and support Robin Hood long after he is gone.