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Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

WHO is subject to RMD rules?

Investors who reach 70 ½ (for those born before July 1, 1949) or 72 for those born after – are required to take RMDs from their IRAs. You’ll face a hefty 50% tax penalty on amounts not withdrawn from your IRA to meet the RMD.

NOTE: The CARES Act waived all RMD obligations for 2020. But requirements are back to normal beginning in 2021.

> RMDs can be automated to help ensure you don’t miss applicable deadlines. Talk with your Wealth Advisor or Client Relationship Manager.

> Your first RMD can be delayed until April 1 of the year after you turn 72. If you delay, however, you must also take your second RMD in the same tax year. This can inflate your income, which may affect your tax bracket.

> Subsequent RMDs must be taken no later than December 31 of each calendar year.

> Qualified charitable distributions allow traditional IRA owners who transfer RMDs to qualified charities to exclude the amount donated from their adjusted gross incomes, up to $100,000.

> Be mindful of how taking a distribution will impact your taxable income or tax bracket. If you have space left in your bracket or a down income year, you may want to consider taking additional distributions.

WHICH PLANS are subject to RMD Rules?

Many retirement plans, including most IRAs such as traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs; pensions; stock bonuses; and profit-sharing plans such as 401(k), Section 457(b) and Section 403(b) plans, are subject to the RMD requirement.

Note: Roth IRAs are exempt from RMDs during the owner’s lifetime, however most beneficiaries of Roth IRAs will be required to start taking distributions when they inherit the accounts.


Your RMD is calculated separately for each IRA covered by the rules. However, the total amount can be withdrawn from a single account or from a combination of accounts in a balance you select. You may wish to discuss the best strategy for taking your distributions with your tax and financial advisors. If you have multiple employer retirement plans, keep in mind that your RMD is calculated separately for each plan and must be withdrawn from that plan. However, similar plans may be aggregated and the distribution taken from one account. Consult your tax advisor for more information.


1. Obtain the balance of your account from the prior December 31.

2. Using the applicable IRS lifetime table, find the age you will be on your birthday of the current year, and the "life expectancy factor" that corresponds to it. (Life expectancy tables are found in IRS Publication 590-B.)

3. Divide the distribution period into your year-end balance. This is your RMD.

Here's an example, using the Uniform Lifetime Table (applies to individuals that are unmarried, married with a spouse that is less than 10 years younger, or married with a spouse that is not listed as sole beneficiary.):


Life Expectancy Tables

There are three life expectancy tables used for RMDs: the Uniform Lifetime Table, the Joint and Last Survivor Table, and the Single Life Table. Most IRA owners will use the Uniform Life Table (below), except when the “younger spouse rule” applies. For those with multiple accounts subject to the RMD rules, remember that RMDs are calculated separately for each.

Uniform Lifetime Table:  Applies to individuals that are unmarried, married with a spouse that is less than 10 years younger, or married with a spouse that is not listed as sole beneficiary.

Joint and Last Survivor Table: Used instead of the Uniform Lifetime Table when your spouse is the sole beneficiary and is more than 10 years younger than you.

Single Life Table: Used to calculate RMDs for your beneficiaries, but only if they are an “eligible designated beneficiary.” These include:  

a surviving spouse

a minor child

disabled individual

a chronically ill individual

someone no more than 10 years younger than you


All other individual beneficiaries who inherit after 2019 are subject to a 10-year payout rule and do not use this table. This table is also used if you die after your “required beginning date” (April 1 after your age 72 year) without naming a living beneficiary. The IRS regulations include a special “reset” provision for calculating RMDs for non-spouse beneficiaries who inherit before January 1, 2022.

Uniform Lifetime Table

This information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. RMD's are generally subject to federal income tax and may be subject to state taxes. Consult your tax advisor to assess your situation.