How to Pay Taxes on an IRA Required Distribution

Between the ages of 59 1/2 and 70 1/2, you're free to withdraw as much or as little as you like from your traditional IRA. But when you reach age 70 1/2, the Internal Revenue Service demands that you start taking required minimum distributions. These distributions are calculated using figures from an IRS life-expectancy table. You must pay ordinary income taxes on any and all traditional IRA withdrawals. Armed with reporting documentation from your trustee, the process of paying the taxes is straightforward.

Step 1

Find the taxable amount distributed in Box 2a of the Form 1099-R you receive from your trustee. The total distribution is notated in Box 1. In most cases, the two figures will be the same.

Step 2

Write the taxable amount on Line 15b of IRS Form 1040. Enter the total distribution amount on Line 15a.

Step 3

Fill out the succeeding entries and perform the calculations of Form 1040 until you reach the amount you owe on line 76.

Step 4

Write a check to the U.S. Treasury for the amount due and mail it with your return to the IRS address listed in the Form 1040 instructions.

Items you will need

  • IRS Form 1099-R from your IRA trustee


  • You can calculate the tax on your required minimum distributions by working through the first page of IRS Form 1040 to find your adjusted gross income and looking up your tax rate by consulting the IRS Tax Rate Schedule.
  • The IRS does not require minimum distributions from Roth IRA owners of any age.
  • Online tax-filing programs screen-prompt you through the process of including your RMD in your income and calculating the tax owed. You can then e-file your return and pay the tax electronically, by paper check or by credit card, as long as the payment is received by the tax-filing deadline.

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About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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