Required Minimum Distribution Roundup

by | Nov 29, 2021 | Wealth Management

As we approach the end of 2021, now is a good time to take a closer look to make sure you have satisfied your required minimum distributions (RMDs). Generally, RMDs must be taken by December 31 each year (Exception: RMDs are not required from an employer plan if you are still working at the company sponsoring the plan and you do not own more than 5% of the company). Failing to take the full amount of an RMD could result in a penalty tax of 50% of the difference.

Once you reach age 72, you are required to take minimum distributions from your traditional IRAs and most employer-sponsored retirement plans. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 raised the minimum RMD age to 72 from 70½ beginning in 2020. That means if you reached age 70½ before 2020, you are currently required to take minimum distributions. The option to delay to April 1, 2022, applies only to first RMDs for those who have reached or will reach age 72 on or after July 1, 2021.

If you have more than one IRA, you must calculate the RMD for each IRA separately each year. However, you may aggregate your RMD amounts for all your IRAs and withdraw the total from one IRA or a portion from each of your IRAs. You do not have to take a separate RMD from each IRA. If you have more than one defined contribution plan, you must calculate and satisfy your RMDs separately for each plan and withdraw that amount from that plan (Exception: If you have more than one 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity account, you can total the RMDs and then take them from any one (or more) of the tax-sheltered annuities).

For those over age 70.5, Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) can be used to satisfy all or part of your RMD (up to $100k). This helps you avoid the distribution being included in your taxable income and is especially valuable for those who don’t typically itemize on their tax returns.

The IRS publishes tables in Publication 590-B that are used to help calculate RMDs. To determine the amount of a required distribution, you would divide your account balance as of December 31 of the previous year by the appropriate age-related factor in one of three available tables.


Recognizing that life expectancies have increased, the IRS has issued new tables designed to help investors stretch their retirement savings over a longer period of time. These new tables will take effect for RMDs beginning in 2022. Investors may be pleased to learn that calculations will typically result in lower annual RMD amounts and potentially lower income tax obligations as a result. The old tables still apply to 2021 distributions, even if they’re postponed until 2022.

This year-end, more than most, will require some flexibility given the potentially material changes coming down the pike for income taxes. Consider speaking with your financial and tax professionals for additional tax planning.

Prepared by Broadridge Advisor Solutions. Copyright 2021. Edited by BFSG, LLC.

Disclosure: BFSG does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to BFSG’s web site or blog or incorporated herein and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Please see important disclosure information here.

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