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Tell Congress to Support the IRA Rollover!

The fundraising profession has the opportunity to see the IRA Rollover provision extended and expanded, but ONLY IF Congress knows of our concerns. Please take a few minutes to contact your members of Congress and voice your support for the IRA Rollover provision.

When you call, please urge Congress to make the IRA Rollover permanent and enhance the provision by removing the $100,000 cap on gifts from IRA accounts and lowering the age threshold from 70½ to 59½ for all gifts! Talking points and step-by-step instructions, along with background information on the provision are below.

Why not spend a few more minutes and send a letter as well. You can also use the model letters below.  Add in your personal information and a sentence or two about how the IRA Rollover would help, or already has helped, your organization. We have step-by-step instructions below.

Please understand that it is fine for you to voice your opinion to Congress even though your organization is tax exempt.  This is an educational activity, not a political activity.  We’re educating Congress on an important issue confronting the nonprofit sector.  (A political activity would be helping an election campaign and that sort of thing).  Also remember that you can always call and write as an individual/concerned citizen.

Background/Urgency

After years of lobbying by AFP and other organizations, the IRA (Individual Retirement Account) Rollover provision was finally signed into law in 2006.  Unfortunately, the provision is limited, as it only allows for direct gifts of cash from IRAs by individuals who have attained the age of 70½. Such gifts are also capped at $100,000 per year.

Worst of all, the provision expires at the end of 2007.

Since the beginning of 2007, the IRA Rollover provision has brought in over $110 million to the charitable sector (according to a recent National Committee on Planned Giving survey).  Making the provision permanent would both ensure that such funds continue to enhance charities’ altruistic missions and give charities time to increase public awareness of the provision.

How does the IRA Rollover work?

Under the current provision (set to expire at the end of this year), a donor who has reached the age of 70½ would be allowed to exclude from his or her income any IRA funds up to $100,000 that are withdrawn and transferred to a charity when filing a tax return for the year of the transfer. 

During the call-in day, we are asking members of Congress to take action and make the provision permanent prior to the expiration date, and to remove the $100,000 cap and lower the age threshold from 70½ to 59½ for all types of gifts.

Okay, what do I do now?

Thanks for helping! Detailed instructions are below.

1.      Identify your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators.  Use this link and type in your zip code to determine your U.S. Representative: http://www.house.gov/zip/ZIP2Rep.html. Use this link to determine your two U.S. Senators: U.S. Senators by State

2.      Call the Congressional switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to speak to your House Member or Senator.

3.      Use the following talking points:

  • Say that you are calling from the Senator’s state or the Representative’s district. Please tell them your hometown.
  • Ask the Member of Congress to support the IRA Rollover, a provision that has brought in over $110 million to the charitable sector in 2007.
  • Ask the Member of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Public Good IRA Rollover Act (H.R. 1419 in the House; S. 819 in the Senate), and any other legislation that will make the provision permanent. The provision currently is set to expire at the end of 2007.
  • Explain that Congress should not only make the IRA Rollover permanent but also should enhance the provision by removing the $100,000 cap on gifts from IRA accounts and lowering the age threshold from 70½ to 59½ for all gifts.
  • Finally, emphasize that your organization and many people in your state are counting on the Member’s support.

4.      Mail three letters, one each to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators.

5.      Cut and paste the sample letter below into your word processing software and personalize it with your own information (places where you can include your personal information are indicated in bold in the sample letter below):

a.       the Representative’s or Senator’s name and salutation
b.      your name and address
c.       the correct bill number
d.      a line or two about the impact the IRA Rollover would have (and is having) upon your organization.
e.       any other information you would like to add about your organization and its impact upon the community.

IRA Rollover Sample Letter

DATE

For U.S. Representative, use:

Dear Representative LAST NAME:
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

For U.S. Senators, use:

Dear Senator LAST NAME:
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C.  20510

As a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and a constituent, I urge you to make the IRA Rollover provision permanent by passing legislation or amendments containing language similar to the provisions found in H.R. 1419 [or S. 819], the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2007.

Congress should not only make the IRA Rollover permanent but it should also enhance the provision by removing the $100,000 cap on gifts from IRA accounts and lowering the age threshold for all such gifts from 70½  to 59½.

AFP represents more than 25,000 members across the United States who are responsible for generating philanthropic funds for a wide variety of charitable organizations. AFP exists to advance ethical and effective fundraising and support the extraordinary work that charities perform every day for millions of Americans. 

The IRA Rollover provision was included in last year’s Pension Reform Act, but the provision currently is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year. This provision is very important because it will not only help all types and sizes of charities, but it also has the potential to increase giving by millions of dollars annually.

IRA assets are currently estimated well in excess of $3 trillion. Even if only a small percentage of these funds were donated to charitable purposes, it could add millions of dollars to support the vital work that nonprofit organizations do in communities across America.  According to a recent National Committee on Planned Giving survey, the IRA Rollover provision has brought in over $69 million to the charitable sector in just the past ten months.  [If your organization received any IRA gifts, please note that here to show that the provision has been effective.]

The Public Good IRA Rollover Act would make most of these necessary changes, which would in turn allow our nation’s charities to significantly enhance their programs and services that serve communities across the country and especially in my community.

Please support the Public Good IRA Rollover Act, and thank you for your attention and consideration.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

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