A Reminder for First-time RMD Retirees

Even though the IRS is extending the April 15 deadline for filing your tax return to April 18 this year because of the weekend and a Washington, D.C., holiday, you don't get a similar extension for taking your first required minimum distribution (RMD). If you turned 70½ in 2016, you actually have until April 1, 2017 to take your first RMD, if you haven't already withdrawn the money (NOTE: for non-first timers, your deadline to take the RMD passed on December 31, 2016). Otherwise, you'll pay a penalty of 50% of the amount of money you should have withdrawn but didn't.

Remember, The RMD rules apply to all employer sponsored retirement plans, including
profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans (both Traditional and Roth), 403(b) plans, and 457(b) plans. They also apply to traditional IRAs and IRA-based plans such as SEPs, SARSEPs, and SIMPLE IRAs.

Because the deadline falls on a Saturday, when the stock market is closed, don't wait until the very last minute to take your withdrawal. Instead, if you haven’t done so already complete the withdrawal on or before March 31. If you have to sell investments to take the RMD, allow even more time because it can take up to three days for stocks, mutual funds and ETFs to settle.

Another thing to remember - if you delayed taking your first RMD, you will also have to take the one for age 71 by December 31 of this year. That can boost your adjusted gross income and may bump you into a higher tax bracket. One 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, which counts as your required minimum distribution but isn't included in your adjusted gross income.