Retirement: These Seniors Must Begin Taking Required Minimum Distributions by April 1

Financial advisor explaining paperwork to elderly retired couple front of desk.
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Most Americans who turned 72 during the last six months of 2021 must begin receiving payments from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), 401(k)s and similar retirement plans by April 1.

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In a March 25 notice, the IRS sent out a reminder about the payments, called required minimum distributions. RMDs are the retirement account withdrawals you must take when you reach a certain age. They are typically made by the end of the year.

However, anyone who turned 72 after June 30, 2021, is covered by a special rule that lets IRA account owners and participants in workplace retirement plans wait until as late as April 1, 2022, to take their first RMD. The April 1 rule applies to IRA owners and other participants in these plans who were born after June 30, 1949.

The April 1 RMD deadline only applies to the required distribution for the first year you have to take it, the IRS said. For all subsequent years, the RMD must be made by December 31. This means that if you turned 72 after June 30, 2021, and received your first RMD on or before April 1, 2022, you must make a second RMD by December 31, 2022.

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The required distribution rules apply to owners of traditional, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs while the original owner is still alive. They also apply to participants in workplace retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans. RMDs don’t apply to Roth IRAs.

The April 1 deadline is mandatory for all owners of traditional IRAs and most participants in workplace retirement plans, but not all. Some people with workplace plans can wait longer to receive their RMDs.

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For example, most participants who are still working for an employer can wait until April 1 of the year after they retire to start receiving these distributions, as long as their workplace plan allows. This RMD exception does not apply to everyone, however, so check with your employer, plan administrator or provider to see if you qualify. You can also visit the RMD FAQs page on IRS.gov to learn more.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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