Taxpayers who turned 70½ during 2017 in most cases must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by April 1, 2018.
The April 1 deadline applies to owners of traditional IRAs but not Roth IRAs. Normally, it also applies to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans. The April 1 deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by Dec. 31. So, a taxpayer who turned 70½ in 2017 and receives the first required payment on April 1, 2018, for example, must still receive the second RMD by Dec. 31, 2018.
Affected taxpayers who turned 70½ during 2017 must figure the RMD for the first year using the life expectancy as of their birthday in 2016 and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2016. The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner of Form 5498 in Box 5. Worksheets and life expectancy tables for making this computation can be found in the Appendices to Publication 590-B.
Most taxpayers use Table III (Uniform Lifetime) to figure their RMD. For a taxpayer who reached 70½ in 2017 and turned 71 before the end of the year, for example, the first required distribution would be based on a distribution period of 26.5 years. A separate table, Table II, applies to a taxpayer married to a spouse who is more than 10 years younger and is the taxpayer’s only beneficiary.
Though the April 1 deadline is mandatory for all owners of traditional IRAs and most participants in workplace retirement plans, some people with workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMD. 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. Employees of public schools and certain tax-exempt organizations with 403(b) plan accruals before 1987 should check with their employer to see how to treat these accruals.
Barry Lisak is an IRS Enrolled Agent, meaning that he has passed special U.S. Treasury Department exams that qualify him to represent clients dealing with audits or tax-resolution cases. Any questions can be directed to him at (516) TAX-SAVE, or firstname.lastname@example.org.