If you have always given to a 501(C)(3) charity (a church, school, hospital, etc.), you are acutely aware that your charitable contributions now have to exceed $12,000 for an individual or $24,000 for a married couple before you can itemize under the new law.
Simply put, you may have your RMD’s (beginning at age 70 ½ and beyond) from your IRA, 401k, etc., sent directly from your retirement account to the charity…it never touches your hands (bank account). It is not treated as income! This is called a Qualifying Charitable Distribution (QCD).
Your accountant will have to do the “work” on your return, but it may be well worth your time to do this if you no longer have enough deductions to itemize, but you still make charitable contributions. If the charity does not send you an acknowledgment, then you need to request a statement that it was received, the date, and the amount, just in case the IRS ever asks. You will get a 1099R, but that is where the accountant does the work on the return so it never really shows up as income.
You may give to one or more charities so long as the total does not exceed your RMD for that year. Talk to your accountant for more details, but it could save you several thousand dollars each year if your contributions are normally several thousand dollars.