Missed Required Minimum Distribution? What to do…

You missed the deadline to take a required minimum distribution from your qualified retirement plan. What do you do?

The deadline was December 31, 2017. You must take your first required minimum distribution for the year in which you turn age 70½. However, the first payment can be delayed until April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70½. For all subsequent years, including the year in which you were paid the first RMD by April 1, you must take the RMD by December 31 of the year. A different deadline may apply to RMDs from pre-1987 contributions to a 403(b) plan.

What happens if a person does not take a RMD by the required deadline?

If an account owner fails to withdraw a RMD, fails to withdraw the full amount of the RMD, or fails to withdraw the RMD by the applicable deadline, the amount not withdrawn is taxed at 50%. The account owner should file Form 5329, with his or her federal tax return for the year in which the full amount of the RMD was not taken.

Can the penalty for not taking the full RMD be waived?

Yes, the penalty may be waived if the account owner establishes that the shortfall in distributions was due to reasonable error and that reasonable steps are being taken to remedy the shortfall. In order to qualify for this relief, you must file Form 5329 and attach a letter of explanation.

What to do… take a correcting RMD as soon as possible. Then ask to have the penalty waived using Form 5329.