A required minimum distribution, or RMD, is the amount of money one is required to withdraw from most retirement accounts after he or she attains a certain age. Beginning in 2020 the Secure Act raised that age from 70½ to age 72. Almost all retirement accounts are affected by the RMD rules. The one major exception is Roth IRAs.
RMDs for 2020
The CARES Act suspended most RMD payments for 2020. Any taxpayer with an RMD due in 2020 from an IRA, an inherited IRA, a 401(k) or 403(b) or defined-contribution retirement plan may skip those RMDs this year. Defined benefit plans are not exempt from RMDs for 2020.
Owners of IRAs, 401(k) plans or beneficiaries of inherited IRAs who already received an RMD in 2020 have until August 31, 2020 to rollover or repay the distribution to the retirement plan. This reversal of the 2020 RMD is intended to benefit older Americans who can refrain from taking money out, making it easier for their balances to recover from the 2020 decline in security values.
Who will benefit?
The ability to reverse a 2020 RMD is not expected to help the majority of retirement account owners who rely on the retirement income to live from. This IRS provision will generally only help those who are less reliant on their retirement account funds for their living expenses. Taxpayers in high brackets stand to benefit from saving the steep income tax and keeping funds longer in a tax-deferred account. Individuals with extremely high medical expenses in 2020, should not consider reversing the 2020 RMD. The steep medical expenses will shelter the RMD from taxes.
Don’t forget the withholding!
One must return the entire amount of the 2020 RMD to your retirement account by August 31, 2020 to qualify as a reversal. Many individuals have income tax withheld from the RMD. The income tax withheld also has to be returned – not just the amount received. The amount withheld will be credited to your 2020 income tax return. This can reduce the amount of your September and December 2020 estimated income tax payments.
Example of withholding from RMD and reversal
Retired Rita withdrew an RMD of $50,000 in Feb 2020. She had $10,000 of federal income tax withheld from her RMD and received $40,000. If Rita would like to reverse the RMD she must return the entire $50,000 to her retirement account by August 31, 2020 even though she received only $40,000. On her 2020 US Income Tax Return (Form 1040) she will receive credit for the $10,000 of income tax withheld. This will enable her to reduce her third and fourth quarter 2020 US estimated income tax payments.
Look before you leap!
Everyone’s tax situation is different. If you feel you can benefit from the 2020 RMD reversal, contact your investment advisor. You should also contact our tax accountants at Urbach & Avraham, CPAs this week to assist you in the decision.