Making That First RMD

Senior couple at computerIf you turned 70½ last year but did not take the required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, then you had until April 1 of this year. So, did you make it in time?

Kiplinger’s recent article, “Meeting Your First RMD Deadline,” explains that although the IRS is extending the April 15 deadline for filing your tax return to the 18th this year because of the weekend and a Washington, D.C., holiday, there was no break or delay coming for taking your required minimum distribution (RMD).

If you turned 70½ in 2016, you were required to take your first RMD by April 1, 2017 (if you haven't already withdrawn the money). If you didn’t, you'll pay a penalty that’s equal to 50% of the amount of money you should have withdrawn.

Note that if you delayed taking your first RMD, you’ll also have to take the one for age 71 by December 31 of this year. That withdrawal can increase your adjusted gross income a bit. It may also bump you into a higher tax bracket.

In addition, it could make you subject to the Medicare high-income surcharge, if your adjusted gross income (AGI)—plus tax-exempt interest income—totals more than $85,000 if you’re single or $170,000 if you are married and filing jointly.

A good way to shelter your required withdrawal from your AGI, is to make a tax-free transfer from your IRA to a charity. If you're 70½ or older, you can transfer up to $100,000 per year to a charity from your IRA. This will count as your RMD, but it isn't included in your adjusted gross income.

Reference: Kiplinger (March 15, 2017) “Meeting Your First RMD Deadline”

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