Three RMD to-do’s before the end of the year

The end of the year is full of deadlines for your financial matters. Here are three of the most important to-do items when it comes to taking your required minimum distribution (RMD) from a retirement account.

If you’re at least 70 years old and have a retirement account, you should read over this list and make sure you’ve met RMD requirements to avoid a tax penalty.

1. Make sure that 2018 required minimum distributions (RMDs) for all IRA account owners who reached age 70½ prior to 2018 are paid out. IRA owners generally use the IRS’s Uniform Lifetime Table to find the life expectancy factor to calculate their required minimum distributions. There is an exception for people whose spouses are more than 10 years younger and were their sole primary beneficiary for the entire year. Those individuals will use the Joint Life Expectancy Table. There is a 50% penalty that applies when RMDs are missed, so be sure you don’t miss this deadline.

2. Verify that all 2018 minimum distributions for deceased IRA owners, if not taken by the IRA owner when alive, are paid out to the beneficiaries by year end. The year-of-death RMD is calculated as though the account owner lived for the entire year. It is often overlooked, particularly when IRA owners die near the end of the year without taking their full RMD. Beneficiaries who miss the deadline will face a 50% penalty on the shortfall.

3. Don’t forget 2018 RMDs for beneficiaries. Double check that RMDs for all beneficiaries are paid out before the end of the year. IRA custodians are not required to notify beneficiaries of their RMDs. Don’t overlook Roth IRA beneficiaries; they also are subject to minimum distribution requirements.

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