People over age 70 ½ who have retirement plans are required to take minimum distributions each year. If someone does not need this extra amount, it can be donated directly from the IRA to a qualified charity. This helps to reduce one’s adjusted gross income, which could have several benefits. It might help reduce the higher Medicare Part B premium that is assessed to higher income earners, it might help to reduce or avoid the Medicare surtax, or it might help reduce miscellaneous itemized deductions. By the way, the charitable IRA donation cannot be used to give to a donor-advised fund.