If you reached age 70½ last year, April 1 could be an important deadline. It’s the last day you can take your required minimum distribution (RMD) for 2017 from your traditional IRAs. If you miss that deadline, the penalty may be a 50 percent excise tax on the amount you should have withdrawn.
How the rules work
Once you reach age 70½, you must start taking annual distributions from your traditional IRAs. Normally these distributions must occur by Dec. 31 of each year. But a special rule lets you defer your very first RMD until April of the year after you reach age 70½. So if you turned 70½ last year, April 1 is the deadline for your 2017 distribution. Be aware that you’ll still need to take your 2018 RMD before the end of this year. Note that RMD rules don’t apply to Roth IRAs.
Generally, the amount of the RMD for any year is based on your age. You take the balance in all your traditional IRAs as of the last day of the previous year, and divide by a factor representing your life expectancy. The IRS has published a standard life expectancy table to use in the calculation. Special rules might apply if your spouse is more than 10 years younger than you are.
RMDs and tax planning
Because all or part of your distribution may be taxable income, it is important to include RMDs in your tax planning. Ideally you should start planning for RMDs several years before you reach age 70½. But whether you’re planning in advance or looking at a distribution on April 1, contact our office for more detailed advice.
If you’re still working, this deadline may also apply to your other retirement accounts.
If you would like to engage us to evaluate tax planning strategies for your specific situation, please visit Tax Planning and give our office a call to set up an appointment to explore the planning steps you might consider.