Do You Have to Take an RMD for 2019?

Are you age 70½ years or older? If yes, you need to pay attention to the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rules for traditional IRAs, 401(k) plans and other pre-tax retirement plans. Tax law doesn’t allow your untaxed money to go untouched indefinitely. RMD rules are intended to make sure that Uncle Sam gets his share of at least some of what you saved for retirement. 

Even if you aren’t close to age 70½, it’s good to know these Four RMD Facts:

  • How is the amount of the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) calculated?

An RMD is calculated separately for each account by dividing the prior December 31 balance of that IRA or retirement plan account by a life expectancy table published by the IRS. Life expectancy tables vary based on your individual situation, such as “Joint and Last Survivor,” “Uniform Lifetime” and “Single.”

  • When must I receive my RMD from my IRA?

You must take your first RMD for the year in which you turn age 70½. However, the first payment can be delayed until April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70½. For all subsequent years, including the year in which you were paid the first RMD by April 1, you must take the RMD by December 31 of the year. 

  • What happens if a person does not take a RMD by the required deadline?

If an account owner fails to withdraw the RMD by the applicable deadline, the amount not withdrawn is taxed at 50%. The additional tax is reported on IRS Form 5329Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, with the federal tax return for the year in which the full amount of the RMD was not taken.

  • Can a person avoid taxes on her or his RMD?

Charitable donations can be made directly from a traditional IRA to save on taxes. People who are age 70½ and older can transfer up to $100,000 yearly from IRAs directly to charity. The IRA funds must go directly to a charitable organization. Make sure you get a receipt and an acknowledgement from the charity to substantiate your donation.

All of that information is not easy to absorb. No extra charge for reading the Four RMD Facts again. Still want to know more about RMDs and how to calculate them? Check out the IRS website at