Although many retirees may not need to withdraw money from their retirement accounts (IRAs, SEP IRAs and 401(k) plans to name a few), April 1st could cost some of them as much as a “50% excise tax” if they do not take any contributions, and this is no April Fools’ Joke!
The Reason & Who’s Affected?
As delightful and rewarding as tax-deferred retirement saving plans like IRAs can be, there is a very important IRS Rule known as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) that needs to be observed or the penalties can be severe. Generally speaking, all taxpayers (there are a few exceptions we will discuss later) with these types of accounts must start taking mandatory minimum distributions from their retirement accounts once they reach the age of 70½. The importance of the April 1st deadline is that it applies to the first year after which a taxpayer turns 70½. Going forward each taxpayer is required to take the RMDs by the end of each calendar year (we provide the IRS worksheets to calculate the required minimum amount of distribution below). There is a caveat, if you are retired and your 70th birthday was say July 1, 2018. You reached age 70½ on January 1, 2019. You do not have an RMD for 2018. You must take your first RMD (for 2019) by April 1, 2020. Of course, for those who turned 70½ June 30th or earlier in 2018, you must observe the upcoming April 1st deadline.
Failure To Take The Required Minimum Distribution
The consequences for failing to take the Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) can be severe, as taxpayers would be subject to pay an excise tax of up to 50% on the amount not distributed as required. The IRS is flexible regarding how you can choose to take your RMD. For instance, if you have more than one account that is subject to the Required Minimum Distributions (RMD), you can elect to withdraw the combined RMD from one account, provided that the total minimum for all accounts is withdrawn during the calendar year in question.
What Plans Are Subject to RMDs?
The minimum distribution rules apply to:
- traditional IRAs
- SEP IRAs
- SIMPLE IRAs
- 401(k) plans
- 403(b) plans
- 457(b) plans
- profit sharing plans
- other defined contribution plans
* Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner.
Below you will find the IRS RMD Worksheets:
IRA Required Minimum Distribution Worksheet
IRA Required Minimum Distribution Worksheet (if your spouse is the sole beneficiary of IRA and he or she is more than 10 years younger)
Retirement Plan Options For Business Owners
Business owners, who are often burdened with many challenges building and running their businesses, too often miss special retirement plan opportunities available to businesses, instead electing to rely on their personal retirement plans instead. Below are a few options that business owners should consider.
Profit-Sharing Plan (DPSP)
A profit–sharing plan, also known as a deferred profit–sharing plan or DPSP, is a defined contribution plan under which the plan may provide, or the employer may determine, annually, how much will be contributed to the plan (out of profits or otherwise). Under this plan, an employee receives a percentage of a company’s profits based on its quarterly or annual earnings. The plan contains a formula for allocating to each participant a portion of each annual contribution. A profit-sharing plan may include a 401(k) feature.
Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEPs)
SEP plans are ones in which an employer contributes on a tax-favored basis to IRAs owned by its employees. If the employer meets certain conditions, it isn’t subject to the reporting and disclosure requirements of most retirement plans. One of the distinctive advantages of a SEP plan, is that they can be established in one year and contributions are deductible as late as the due date of income tax returns for the previous year, including extensions.
Per the IRS rules regarding participation, Employees must be included in the SEP plan if they have:
- attained age 21;
- worked for your business in at least 3 of the last 5 years;
- received at least $600 in compensation (in 2016 – 2019) from your business for the year.
Your plan may use less restrictive requirements, for example age 18 or three months of service, to determine which employees are eligible.
Defined Benefit Plans
Also known as a traditional pension plan, Defined Benefit plans promise the participant a specified monthly benefit at retirement. These plans can state an exact dollar amount (e.g. $1000 per month at retirement) with a maximum annual benefit capped at $220,000 (as of 2018) or 100% of the average earned income for the highest three consecutive years, whichever is less. Most often, the benefit amount is calculated through a plan formula that considers such factors as salary and service. Like SEPs, business owners and plan participants can make deductible contributions until the due date of income tax returns for the previous year, including extensions.
Retirement planning can be a daunting task for even the most sophisticated business owners, therefore it is always a good idea to consult a tax professional like those found at TaxPM who can help you review, and if necessary revise your retirement planning strategies.