When must I take a required minimum distribution from my Traditional IRA?

Once you reach age 70 ½, you are subject to mandatory distributions from your Traditional IRA each year. These mandatory distributions are referred to as Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). Roth IRAs are subject to different rules and there are no RMDs required.

Beginning the year you turn 70 ½, you must take an RMD for every year. For the first year there is a special rule that allows you additional time. If you reach age 70 ½ this year, your first RMD is required for this year. However, you have until April 1st of next year to take your first RMD. In all other cases, RMDs must be distributed from your IRA by December 31st of the year they apply to known as the Required Distribution Date. 

The Due Date for Your First RMD:

  • RMD is an annual distribution you must take from your traditional IRA account after you reach the age of 70 ½.
  • You are considered to have reached age 70 ½ six months after the date of your 70th birthday. 
    • For example, if you reach age 70 on January 15th, you are considered to have reached age 70 ½ on July 15th.

Information Needed to Calculate your RMD:

  • Your RMD must be calculated using a special formula that is provided by the IRS.
  • It may be possible to aggregate your IRA accounts for RMD purposes.
  • Your IRA custodian is required to calculate your RMD on your behalf, but they are allowed to exclude or ignore assets held in other IRA accounts from their calculation and other information that may be necessary to ensure accuracy.  

Tax Implications & Fees 

  • A $50 distribution fee is incurred to process RMD distributions.
  • Failure to request an RMD, may be penalized with an excise tax equal to 50% of the difference between the actual amount distributed and the RMD for the relevant tax year. (1)
  • If there is ’reasonable cause’ for missing the deadline, you can ask the IRS to waive the penalty.


(1) This information is for general education purposes only and not intended to be tax advice. We encourage you to consult a qualified tax professional before requesting a distribution.

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