Upon turning 70 ½, and each year onward, the IRS will require you to take required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from your IRA accounts. RMDs ensure the government receives taxes from the funds that were deposited pre-tax. The minimum distribution rules apply to all retirement plans except Roth IRAs because Roth IRAs are after-tax money and grow tax-free. The required minimum distribution must be recalculated as balances change.There is flexibility in RMDs, though. Funds may be withdrawn from a single account, multiple accounts, in equal amounts or unequal amounts as long as the total RMD is met by Dec. 31.
Refer to your account balance at the end of the year in which you turn 70 ½. This information is most easily found on your year-end statement.Step 2
Consult the IRS life expectancy tables in the appendices of Publication 590 for the appropriate life expectancy number. Life expectancy must be recalculated each year.Step 3
Divide your account balance by the life expectancy number; this is your RMD. Repeat this procedure for each of your IRA accounts.Step 4
Add the total of each account's RMD and divide that sum by 12 to find your minimum monthly withdrawal amount. Withdrawals do not have to be in 12 equal increments as long as the total RMD for all accounts is met by Dec. 31.Step 5
Schedule automated withdrawals with your financial institution to ensure your obligations are met. Withdrawals may be made from a single account or multiple accounts. Withdrawal amounts need to be recalculated each year because RMDs change yearly.
- When determining monthly distributions round cents and fractions up to avoid under-calculating your RMD.
- The amount withdrawn is subject to income tax.
- Failure to complete an RMD will result in a 50 percent penalty on the amount you failed to withdraw.
- Determine the life expectancy number if you are the recipient by using the Uniform Lifetime Table. If your spouse is the recipient, and is more than 10 years younger than you are, use the Joint and Last Survivor Table. These tables can be found at the IRS website.
Lynn Starner has been writing professionally since 2004, specializing in business-related topics. She holds a both a bachelor's and a master's degree in business. She loves reading, writing, and talking about business with a particular fondness for small businesses.