Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas Introduces IRA Charitable Giving Act

May 31, 2009
Congresswoman Suzanne Kosmas, who represents Florida's 24th District in Congress, introduced the IRA Charitable Giving Act on May 14, 2009, to extend the tax-free treatment of distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.  Kosmas decided to introduce the bill after a visit to her office by representatives of Florida Philanthropic Network in March.
 
The bill, H.R. 2435, would extend for an additional year a provision that is set to expire at the end of 2009.  "Charitable giving is essential during difficult economic times to help those who are struggling the most," said Congresswoman Kosmas.  "Allowing individuals to donate to charity from their retirement accounts without penalty is a common-sense solution that will encourage charitable giving to the organizations that are providing needed services."
 
"We appreciate Congresswoman Kosmas’ responsiveness on an issue that will help so many people in District 24 and across the state of Florida," said Katie Ensign, President of Florida Philanthropic Network.  "This bill would allow more charitable dollars to go toward housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, tending to the sick, and so many other vital community needs."
 
FPN made the visit to Kosmas' office as part of the Foundations on the Hill event in Washington, D.C., on March 25, 2009, which was co-sponsored by the Council on Foundations and the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.  FPN coordinated and led the Florida delegation for the event, in partnership with the Southeastern Council of Foundations.  FPN's visit to Kosmas’ office was one of 23 visits that FPN members and representatives made to Florida's congressional delegation that day.
 
Taxpayers have contributed millions of dollars to charity as a result of the limited IRA charitable rollover incentive enacted as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  That incentive allowed taxpayers aged 70 1/2 or older to make tax-free distributions to charitable organizations from their traditional IRA accounts through 2007.  Congress extended the provision through 2009 as part of The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 that passed on October 3, 2008.
 
The Council on Foundations and Florida Philanthropic Network are also encouraging the passage of the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2009 (H.R. 1250), which was introduced by Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Wally Herger (R-CA) in the House of Representatives on March 2, 2009.  If enacted, H.R. 1250 would make the charitable rollover incentive permanent and allow taxpayers who make IRA distributions to donor-advised funds, supporting organizations, and private foundations to qualify for the incentive.  The bill would also lift the $100,000 cap on distributions and allow planned gifts beginning at age 59 1/2.