By Vanessa Usui

 In the 1980s and 1990s, Oregon was ground zero for anti-LGBTQ ballot measures. I joined the board of Basic Rights Oregon because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of LGBTQ Oregonians. Today, I’m married to the woman I love, as are many LGBTQ Oregonians.

I also know the work of Basic Rights Oregon isn’t done, so am continuing to invest in my community now and long after I’m gone. I’ll be doing this by remembering Basic Rights Oregon in my estate plan. As Tax day approaches, I want others to know that they can use their retirement assets to help today by donating their Required Minimum Distribution to LGBTQ equality. 

Here’s how it works.

According to IRS rules, anyone with an IRA must begin taking their Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) the year they turn 70 ½. The appreciated amount from these distributions is taxed as ordinary income. The penalty for not taking them is steep: People who don’t take their annual RMD are subject to a penalty equal to 50 percent of the amount they were required to withdraw (This rule excludes Roth IRAs; you should talk to your accountant or financial advisor to determine what your RMD is).

Folks may avoid paying taxes on their RMDs, avoid the penalty and support LGBTQ equality, however, by donating their distributions to the Basic Rights Education Fund. The IRS allows holders of IRAs to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution directly to the nonprofit of their choice and avoid any tax penalty. A Qualified Charitable Distribution to Basic Rights is a fantastic way to fight for equality for all LGBTQ Oregonians.

There are a few facts to remember: the tax-free donation cannot exceed $100,000 per person, per year (so a couple with sufficient retirement assets could donate up to $200,000 per year). Additionally, the distribution must move directly from the company that administers the retirement account to Basic Rights Education Fund in order to avoid tax penalties.

Donating the Required Minimum Distribution from your retirement account to the Basic Rights Education Fund is an ideal way to support Basic Rights Oregon’s life-changing work, and to ensure your money supports the values of equality and fairness you hold dear.

To learn more about supporting the work of Basic Rights Oregon, please contact Mikki Gillette.

*Basic Rights Oregon cannot give legal or tax advice nor can it guarantee the tax treatment of any donation and folks should contact their tax advisor to determine if their contributions are deductible