Are you one of the many retirement account holders who took a mandatory distribution this year? If so, you may be able to manage the taxes associated with Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. There are some essential details to keep in mind, however. Here’s what you need to know.
Don’t forget the withholding. Thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, those who hold certain retirement accounts can bypass the required minimum distributions for 2020. To do so, though, you’ll need to return the full amount of your RMD to your retirement account. Keep in mind, many retirement account custodians often withhold income tax, which will need to be returned as well—not just the net amount you receive.1
Remember August 31. August 31 is the deadline by which you must return your RMD. But considering the widespread disruption caused by COVID-19, it may be wise to begin this process sooner rather than later. After all, with industries shuttering doors or modifying their hours of operation, it may be difficult to contact the various institutions necessary. If you’re not sure where to begin, speaking with your banking or financial professional is always a wise move.1
Avoid the 6%. As many retirement account holders know, accidental excess contributions result in a 6% tax for every year the excess remains in the account. Typically, this is a non-issue for those working with a financial professional. But considering the flurry of changes to the tax code this year, it may be worth checking with your custodian to make sure they have tagged your transaction as a “return of funds.”1
It pays to be sure. These are just some of the most important factors to keep in mind, but the longer you wait, the greater the potential for delay or mishap. In this case, it literally pays to work with your financial, tax, and banking professionals to make sure your RMDs are returned correctly.1
Distributions from Traditional IRAs, 401(k) plans and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. The change in the RMD age requirement from 70½ to 72 only applies to individuals who turn 70½ on or after January 1, 2020. Once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from your 401(k) or other defined contribution plan in most circumstances. Workers over 72 can still contribute to an IRA, 401(k) or other retirement accounts, depending on specific circumstances.
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1. IRS.gov, 2020