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Most Retirees Need to Take Required Retirement Plan Distributions by Dec. 31

by Matthew Person on December 11, 2015

Required Retirement Distributions

If you were born before before July 1, 1945, you generally must receive payments from your individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31.

Known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), these payments normally must be made by the end of 2015. But a special rule allows first-year recipients of these payments, those who reached age 70 during 2015, to wait until as late as April 1, 2016 to receive their first RMDs. This means that those born after June 30, 1944, and before July 1, 1945, are eligible for this special rule. Though payments made to these taxpayers in early 2016 can be counted toward their 2015 RMD, they are still taxable in 2016.

The required distribution rules apply to owners of traditional, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) and Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs but not Roth IRAs while the original owner is alive. They also apply to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

An IRA trustee must either report the amount of the RMD to the IRA owner or offer to calculate it for the owner. Often, the trustee shows the RMD amount on Form 5498 in Box 12b. For a 2015 RMD, this amount is on the 2014 Form 5498 normally issued to the owner during January 2015.

The special April 1 deadline only applies to the RMD for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31. So, for example, a taxpayer who turned 70 in 2014 (born after June 30, 1943 and before July 1, 1944) and received the first RMD (for 2014) on April 1, 2015 must still receive a second RMD (for 2015) by Dec. 31, 2015.

Though the RMD rules are mandatory for all owners of traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs and participants in workplace retirement plans, some people in workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMDs. Usually, employees who are still working can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions. See Tax on Excess Accumulations in Publication 575. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.

The rules governing RMDs are confusing. If you retired and feeling confused about your next steps, give us a call NOW because you only have about 20 days to sort it out. We can help you understand the distribution rules and how they apply to you.

Contact Person Huff CPA Group

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