Ruzek gives retirement assets through Austin Area Foundation

Published 10:01 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mike Ruzek, a retired agent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, has taken advantage of the Charitable IRA legislation recently made permanent. He is transferring a portion of his individual retirement account (IRA) into an Austin Area Foundation charitable fund that will benefit the greater Austin community forever.

Because of recently extended charitable giving legislation, Ruzek was able to transfer his IRA assets directly from his account to the Austin Area Foundation, as a tax-free gift with no deduction.

Under prior laws, IRA holders were discouraged from giving retirement assets to charity during their lifetimes, because all withdrawals from IRAs were subject to income tax. For this reason, many donors included this type of asset in their wills — but could not experience the joy and impact of giving during their lives. There could still be a donation to charity but it usually resulted in a much less amount due to taxes.

Email newsletter signup

“The Austin Area Foundation is very dear to me and I’m grateful for the opportunity to help in this way.” Ruzek said in a press release. “With this law, it made sense to set it up now. I can give more and do it sooner — and experience the joy of giving while I’m living.”

Holders of traditional IRAs who are at least 70½ years old can make direct charitable transfers up to $100,000 annually. If married, each spouse can transfer up to $100,000 from his or her IRA annually. As a qualified public charity, the Austin Area Foundation can help donors execute the transfers and choose from several charitable fund options for their gift. Donor Advised Funds do not qualify for tax-free IRA transfers.

“This tax incentive is great for donors like Mike because they can use assets tied up in an IRA to make a gift right now and unleash resources into this community that might otherwise be eaten up by taxes,” said Jeff Baldus, Austin Area Foundation executive director, in the release.

Through philanthropic services, strategic investments and community leadership, the Austin Area Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come.