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PO Box 7, Mary Esther, FL 32569  •  850.581.0099  •

ACA Is Now A 501c3

By Bill Rone, SES (Retired) ACA Executive Financial Advisor

Greetings Air Commandos, I hope each of you and your families are safe and healthy as we struggle to cope with rising costs and increasing interest rates.

Funding is essential to keep any activity viable—government, non-profit, or commercial, and your Air Commando Association is no different. Since my last SITREP a very exciting change has occurred. Retired CMSgt Mike Gilbert and his Warrior Law team successfully led the ACA through a complex IRS process to reclassify the ACA from a 501(c)(19) to a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

What does this mean? By law, 501(c)(19) non-profits are very rigid and administratively challenging for membership verification and record keeping and are more closely scrutinized because many have “posts” that include revenue generating bars, food service, and entertainment areas, etc., and this is why we made the change to a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

The reclassification of the Air Commando Association to a 501(c)(3) is important because many donors who have limited their charitable donations to only 501(c)(3) non-profit charities can now consider donating to the ACA. Another benefit for the ACA reclassification to 501(c)(3) is it opens the door for individuals to make Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) from their IRAs to the ACA, free from federal income taxes. When we were a 501(c)(19), donors could not make tax free donations using QCDs…now they can!

The ACA has operated at essentially the same support level to the Air Force Special Operations Forces mission for many years. These two new revenue opportunities have the potential to provide relief and growth potential to the ACA. We can do better and Air Commandos deserve it.

As a 42 year “tight fisted” DoD Comptroller and volunteer “finance guy” for many non-profits, I clearly recognized how lean and efficient the ACA operates—and fights far above its weight class—with only two employees operating out of our small facility west of Hurlburt Field. If you are a commercial business or your employer, or any organization you serve, allows donations to 501(c)(3) non-profits, please consider donating to the Air Commando Association.

If you have reached the wonderful age of 70.5 years, I strongly recommend investigating making QCD contributions from your non-Roth IRAs to the ACA—or any worthy 501(c)(3) non-profit or church; they are federal income tax free. The year you reach age 72, you will be required to take Required Minimum Distributions from your IRAs—or lose 50 percent of those amounts each year to federal tax penalties. QCDs may be a good fit for your family situation.

NOTE: QCDs cannot be made from Thrift Savings Plan accounts. As I approached 70.5, I rolled my TSP to an IRA. I could have made incremental transfers from TSP to my IRA, but elected to simplify and roll 100 percent to my new IRA account.

The QCD process is relatively simple. A QCD must flow directly from your IRA custodian to your designated charity. Your custodian will report that amount to the IRS. When your taxes for that year are prepared, QCDs will be excluded from taxable income. The process is simple but each of you should consult your IRA custodian and tax preparer as you move forward. My wife and I have used QCDs for all donations to 501(c)(3)s and our church for three years. I enjoy avoiding federal income taxes on our withdrawals and the ability to donate 100 percent of my 1990 TSP withholding–plus investment growth to my favorite charities. If you have QCD questions, please contact me through the ACA office at (850) 581-0099 or

I am pleased to report the ACA and our Air Commando Foundation are well funded for current operations and we have accumulated strong reserves for unexpected loss of altitude and air speed. Please see the 2022 ACA Convention financial briefing for a much better recap. I am honored to serve Air Commandos as a volunteer.

This content first appeared in the Air Commando Journal, Vol 11 Issue 2 on page 5 in the SITREP

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