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Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

  • 1.  Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

    Posted 09-09-2021 02:13 PM
    Hi All,

    For most giving, our standard process is to split hard credit and soft credit equally (50/50) among spouses when both are alumni.

    With IRAs, our process, even on couples where both spouses are alumni, has been to give 100% hard credit to the person whose IRA it was, and 100% soft credit to the spouse.  Is this what others do?  Do we need to break away from our standard process like this in the case of a gift from an IRA?


    Gwen Donev
    Director of Advancement Services
    Gustavus Adolphus College

  • 2.  RE: Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

    Posted 09-09-2021 02:23 PM
    Generally speaking, the old 50/50 split process is, well, old.  It is a holdover from the olden days when advancement systems did not have the ability to handle soft credit in order to facilitate proper participation counting.  But, since the 90s - and with CASE's blessing - soft credit counts, too.

    The common practice these days is to assign 100% hard credit to the legal donor and 100% soft to the spouse or partner.  In theory, that's the most accurate representation and is based on who signed the check - not whether both names appear on the check.

    So, to answer your question about the IRA, that is precisely how these - and all donations - are generally handled.


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 3.  RE: Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

    Posted 09-09-2021 02:38 PM

    On the other hand, I like the 50/50 split, which I would argue might be a better reflection of whose money the charity received that quaintly reflecting which spouse might happen to write the checks (or make the online gifts) for a couple.


    The 50/50 split can also work quite well.  My favorite information split the hard credit 50/50 and gave both spouses 100% soft credit, so when you looked at recognition, you didn't have to dance around adding hard and soft credit, you just looked at soft credit.


    But, of course, assigning all the hard credit to the couple's bill-payer can also be made to work, if that's the way one has chosen to implement.


    My US$0.02 worth; the usual disclaimers apply.


    Good luck!




    Alan S. Hejnal   

    Data Quality Manager




    Smithsonian Institution - Office of Advancement

    600 Maryland Ave SW Ste 600E

    PO Box 37012, MRC 527

    Washington, DC 20013-7012

    Voice: 202-633-8754 | Email:                                                                                                                                            


  • 4.  RE: Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

    Posted 09-09-2021 04:29 PM
    Great, thanks for both of these answers.

    Regardless whether we decide to stick with the 50/50 split for most gifts, MUST we apply 100% hard credit to the donor whose IRA the gift came from? Or do we have the option to use the 50/50 rule there?


  • 5.  RE: Hard credit to spouse on IRA gift?

    Posted 09-09-2021 04:46 PM
    I am wary of providing legal credit to anyone other than the individual or individuals who own the account.  I certainly would not issue a receipt to anyone other than the account holder.

    John H. Taylor 
    919.816.5903 (Cell/Text)

    Big Ideas; Small Keyboard