As we approach the twilight of another year, it is most appropriate to consider increasing charitable donations to your favorite non-profit, church, or synagogue.
You can use your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) to make a charitable contribution. Contact the custodian who holds your IRA/401K monies (generally this will be a bank, or brokerage) and ask them to do the paperwork on this. You'll need to get the Employer's Identification Number (EIN) from the charity and give that to your banker or broker. If this transaction is done by transferring from the institution to the church/non-profit, then you will not have to declare this money as income for 2013. Remember, you must not take the money out yourself and "touch" it - then, it would be income to you! (By the way, this tax benefit is slated to expire on 12/31/2013, so don't count on it continuing for 2014!)