Don’t forget the April 1 deadline to take required retirement plan distributions

Taxpayers who turned age 70½ during 2017 (in most cases) must start receiving required minimum distributions (RMDs) from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans by Sunday, April 1, 2018. A 50 percent tax normally applies to any required amounts not received by the April 1 deadline.

The April 1 deadline applies to owners of traditional IRAs (including SEP and SIMPLE), but not Roth IRAs. It also typically 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. A taxpayer who turned 70½ in 2017 (born after June 30, 1946, and before July 1, 1947) and receives the first required distribution (for 2017) 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 2017 and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2016. 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. Employees who are still working usually can, if their plan allows, wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions.

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 2017 Form 5498 that is normally issued in January 2018.

IRA owners can use a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) paid directly from an IRA to an eligible charity to meet part or all of their RMD obligation. Available only to IRA owners age 70½ or older, the maximum annual exclusion for QCDs is $100,000.

More information on RMDs, including answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on IRS.gov. Feel free to contact your KraftCPAs tax advisor for guidance.

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