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Be aware of the details on required minimum distributions

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By Hook Law Center

It is important for taxpayers to be informed about required minimum distributions (RMDs) from IRAs so that they can plan accordingly for their retirement. In the current year, those persons age 70 ½ or older are required to take a RMD from their traditional IRAs (Individual Retirement Arrangements), SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRAs, SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRAs, or retirement plan accounts. You must also report RMDs for any IRAs that you inherit.

If you do not take distributions in a timely manner, you may have to pay a 50 percent excise tax on excess IRA additions. You should be aware that defined contribution owners may not have to file a report until retirement.

Those who attain the age of 70 ½ in 2016 are required to report a RMD for the year, but they may wait until April 1, 2017 to do so. Individuals who report RMDs for the first time and are waiting until April to do so, must report twice, because they are required to report a RMD for the current year prior to December 31. This could result in an increase in their tax liability.

Following the first year, IRA owners must report RMDs on an annual basis by the end of the year. The life expectancy of the taxpayer and the taxpayer’s spouse will play a role. The IRS provides resources for making calculations of RMDs. However, the main calculation is to divide the taxpayer’s account balance as of the end of the previous year by an IRS life expectancy factor.

Taxpayers who have neglected to take RMDs are advised to take all of them as quickly as possible so as to avoid the aforementioned excise tax. But taxpayers, such as retirees, who do not need their RMDs, may wish to reinvest those funds into a Roth IRA, which will not require the taxpayer to make withdrawals until after the death of the account holder. Or they may consider reinvesting the funds into a 529 savings plan for their grandchildren.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016. Filed under Estate Planning.