The deadline for making a charitable contribution directly from an IRA is the end of January. The deduction would apply to your 2012 income, even though the year is over. In other words, you can still reduce your 2012 taxes.
The limit is $100,000. After Feb. 1 you can still use the strategy but the deduction will apply to your 2013 tax year.
Why would you do this? Using that strategy can take care of your required minimum distribution for the year (if you are over 70.5), can reduce your taxable income and of course, make a charitable donation. But the big deal is that you don’t pay taxes on the withdrawal from the IRA, which you would otherwise.
For more details, see http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=581065