In most cases, taxpayers who turned 70 1/2 during 2018 must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Monday, April 1, 2019.
The April 1 deadline applies to owners of traditional (including SEP and SIMPLE) IRAs but not Roth IRAs. Normally, it also applies to participants in various workplace retirement plans, including 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) 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 December 31. In other words, a taxpayer who turned 70 1/2 in 2018 (born after June 30, 1947, and before July 1, 1948) and receives the first required distribution (for 2018) on April 1, 2019, for example, must still receive the second RMD by December 31, 2019.
Affected taxpayers who turned 70 1/2 during 2018 must figure the RMD for the first year using the life expectancy as of their birthday in 2018 and their account balance on December 31, 2017. The trustee reports the year-end account value to the IRA owner on Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information in Box 5. Worksheets and life expectancy tables for making this computation can be found in the appendices to Publication 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
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Most taxpayers use Table III (Uniform Lifetime) to figure their RMD. For a taxpayer who reached age 70 1/2 in 2018 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. Both tables can be found in the appendices to Publication 590-B.
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, plan administrator or provider to see how to treat these accruals.
Now is the time to begin planning for distributions required during 2019. 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 in Box 12b on Form 5498. For a 2018 RMD, this amount would be on the 2018 Form 5498 that is normally issued in January 2019.
If you have any questions about RMDs, don't hesitate to call our office to speak to one of our firm members, 610-544-5900.