Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)

What Will The Taxes Be on My IRA Withdrawal?

Sometimes, the amount of taxes owed on your IRA withdrawal will be zero. However, in other cases, you will owe income tax on the money you withdraw and sometimes have to pay an additional penalty, if you withdraw funds before age 59½. After a certain age, you may be required to withdraw money and pay taxes on it.

IRA Withdrawals
Know the rules for IRA Withdrawals

Investopedia’s recent article, “How Much are Taxes on an IRA Withdrawal?” says there are a number of IRA options, but the Roth IRA and the traditional IRA are the most frequently used types. The withdrawal rules for other types of IRAs are similar to the traditional IRA, but with some minor unique differences. The other types of IRAs—the SEP-IRA, Simple IRA, and SARSEP IRA—have different rules about who can start one.

Your investment in a Roth IRA is with money after it’s already been taxed. When you withdraw the money in retirement, you don’t pay tax on the money you withdraw or on any gains you made on your investments. That’s a big benefit. To use this tax-free withdrawal, the money must have been deposited in the IRA and held for at least five years, and you have to be at least 59½ years old.

If you need the money before that, you can take out your contributions without a tax penalty, provided you don’t use any of the investment gains. You should keep track of the money withdrawn prior to age 59½, and tell the trustee to use only contributions, if you’re withdrawing funds early. If you don’t do this, you could be charged the same early withdrawal penalties charged for taking money out of a traditional IRA. For a retired investor who has a 401(k), a little-known technique can allow for a no-strings-attached withdrawal of a Roth IRA at age 55 without the 10% penalty: the Roth IRA is “reverse rolled” into the 401(k) and then withdrawn under the age 55 exception.

Money deposited in a traditional IRA is treated differently, because you deposit pre-tax income. Every dollar you deposit decreases your taxable income by that amount. When you withdraw the money, both the initial investment and the gains it earned are taxed. But if you withdraw money before you reach age 59½, you’ll be assessed a 10% penalty in addition to regular income tax based on your tax bracket. There are some exceptions to this penalty. If you accidentally withdraw investment earnings rather than only contributions from a Roth IRA before you are 59½, you can also owe a 10% penalty. You can, therefore, see how important it is to maintain careful records.

There are some hardship exceptions to penalty charges for withdrawing money from a traditional IRA or the investment portion of a Roth IRA before you hit age 59½. Some of the common exceptions include:

  • A required distribution in a divorce;
  • Qualified education expenses;
  • A qualified first-time home purchase;
  • The total and permanent disability or the death of the IRA owner;
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses; and
  • The call to duty of a military reservist.

Another way to avoid the tax penalty, is if you make an IRA deposit and change your mind by the extended due date of that year’s tax return, you can withdraw it without owing the penalty (but that cash will be included in the year’s taxable income). The other time you risk a tax penalty for early withdrawal, is when you’re rolling over the money from one IRA into another qualified IRA. Work with your IRA trustee to coordinate a trustee-to-trustee rollover. If  you make a mistake, you may end up owing taxes.

With IRA rollovers, you can only do one per year where you physically remove money from an IRA, receive the proceeds and within 60 days subsequently deposit the funds in another IRA. If you do a second, it’s 100% taxable.

You shouldn’t mix Roth IRA funds with the other types of IRAs, because the Roth IRA funds will be taxable.

When you hit 59½, you can withdraw money without a 10% penalty from any type of IRA. If it’s a Roth IRA, you won’t owe any income tax. If it’s not, there will be a tax. If the money is deposited in a traditional IRA, SEP IRA, Simple IRA, or SARSEP IRA, you’ll owe taxes at your current tax rate on the amount you withdraw.

Once you reach age 70½, you will need to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a traditional IRA. The IRS has specific rules as to the amount of money you must withdraw each year. If you don’t withdraw the required amount, you could be charged a 50% tax on the amount not distributed as required. You can avoid the RMD completely, if you have a Roth IRA because there aren’t any RMD requirements. However, if money remains after your death, your beneficiaries may have to pay taxes.

The money you deposit in an IRA should be money you plan to use for retirement. However, sometimes there are unexpected circumstances. If you’re considering withdrawing money before retirement, know the rules for IRA penalties, and try to avoid that extra 10% payment to the IRS.

If you think you may need emergency funds before retirement, use a Roth IRA for those funds, and not a traditional IRA.

Reference: Investopedia (February 9, 2019) “How Much are Taxes on an IRA Withdrawal?”

Did the New Tax Law Change Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2018?

Unlike contributions to a traditional IRA—which may be tax-deductible—a Roth IRA has no up-front tax break.

If you are 50 or older, you can put $6,500 into your Roth IRA: that includes a “catch up” contribution of $1,000. Typical Roth IRA contributions are still limited to $5,500 a year. There are income limits,  which you’ll need to be careful about.

MP900404926One good thing about the new tax law: it raised income limits to qualify for the maximum contribution to a Roth IRA.  However, the maximum contribution to a Roth IRA in 2018 is the same as 2017.

Kiplinger’s recent article on this topic asks “How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA for 2018?”In its answer, the article explains that the maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA for 2018 is $5,500, if you're younger than 50. Those age 50 and older can add an extra $1,000 per year in "catch-up" contributions. That is $6,500, which is the maximum contribution amount and the same as 2017.

The actual amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA is based on your income. To be eligible to contribute the maximum for 2018, your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) must be less than $120,000 if you’re single or $189,000 if you’re married and filing jointly. The contributions start to phase out above those amounts. You can't put any money into a Roth IRA once your income reaches $135,000 if single or $199,000, if married and filing jointly. Roth IRA income limits have increased slightly from 2017.

Unlike contributions to a traditional IRA—which may be tax-deductible—a Roth IRA has no up-front tax break. Money goes into the Roth after it’s been taxed. However, when you begin withdrawing funds in retirement, your contributions and all the earnings will be tax-free.

Roth’s are also more flexible than traditional, deductible IRAs. You can withdraw contributions to a Roth account anytime, tax- and penalty-free.  However, if you want to withdraw earnings tax-free, you need to be at least age 59½ and must have owned the Roth for at least five years.

Roth’s aren’t subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) after age 70½, and you can deposit money at any age, provided you have earned income from a job or self-employment. Traditional IRAs prohibit new contributions once you reach 70½, even if you’re working.

There’s no minimum age limit to open a Roth IRA, and you can contribute to another individual's Roth account as a gift. However, the recipients must have earned income, and you can only contribute an amount up to that person's annual earnings or $5,500, whichever isless.

The popular Roth IRA accounts are used by many to leave money to heirs. Beneficiaries do have to take distributions over time, but they don’t have to pay taxes on the distributions. That’s an attractive benefit!

Reference: Kiplinger(April 22, 2018) “How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA for 2018?”

Making a Financial Plan? Watch Out for These Mistakes

A failure to plan is a big reason why many people’s financial goals are missed, year after year, until it’s too late to fix things.

You wouldn’t fly a plane without a flight plan. The same is true for a financial plan. You need to know where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.

MP900303002A failure to plan is a big reason why many people’s financial goals are missed, year after year, until it’s too late to fix things. Those who succeed in investing, are more likely to be people who create and follow a long-term, well-thought out financial plan.

Arecent article in Forbes, “3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Making A Financial Plan,”describes these miscues:

  1. Not Creating a Comprehensive Plan. A major error most people make when creating a financial plan, is that their plan is too narrow. A sound financial plan is comprehensive in nature and covers all areas of your life, rather than only a single area like an investment portfolio. It should address tax issues, risk management, estate planning, and long-term care needs. These are all vital when creating a solid long-term financial plan.
  2. Creating a Balanced Portfolio but Never Re-Balancing. Another frequent mistake people make is creating a balanced portfolio—and then not re-balancing it on a regular basis. You should maintain the portfolio balance, as the market ebbs and flows. The original portfolio can and will change over time, as events like market rallies naturally increase overall equity exposure, or retirees take required minimum IRA distributions that may cause an over- or underweight to equities.
  3. No Follow-Through. The third mistake commonly committed by investors when creating a financial plan, is that they spend time creating their plan, but they don’t follow-through and act. You must implement your plan.

These are far from the only classic investment mistakes that people commonly make. Others are selling into a down market, failing to follow through their financial plans, trying to time market swings and reacting to short term trends. Create a financial plan with the long-term in mind, execute the plan and remember that a portfolio needs tending like a garden, as you proceed through the seasons of life.

Reference: Forbes(April 6, 2018) “3 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Making A Financial Plan”

Under New Tax Law, Roth IRAs are More Attractive

Here are the two biggest tax advantages from Roth IRAs

The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have made the Roth more attractive as retirement savings vehicles.

MP900398747Here are the two biggest tax advantages from Roth IRAs: withdrawals are tax free, and you don’t have to worry about required minimum distributions. According to MarketWatch’s article, “How the new tax law creates a ‘perfect storm’ for Roth IRA conversions,”today’s federal income tax rates might be the lowest you’ll see for the rest of your life.

Tax-Free Withdrawals. Unlike traditional IRA withdrawals, qualified Roth IRA withdrawals are federal-income-tax-free and most often state-income-tax-free. A qualified withdrawal is one taken after you, as the Roth account owner, have met both of the following requirements: (i) you’ve had at least one Roth IRA open for more than five years; and (ii) you’ve reached age 59½ or become disabled or dead. To satisfy the five-year requirement, the clock starts on the first day of the tax year for which you make your initial contribution to your first Roth account. That initial contribution can be a regular annual contribution or a conversion contribution.

RMD Exemption. Unlike a traditional IRA, you don’t have to start taking annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) from Roth accounts after reaching age 70½. Instead, you can leave your Roth account(s) untouched for as long as you live if you want. This makes your Roth IRA a great asset to leave to your family, if you don’t need the Roth money to help finance your retirement.

Annual Roth contributions make the most sense for those who think they’ll pay the same or higher tax rates during retirement. Higher future taxes can be avoided on Roth account earnings, because qualified Roth withdrawals are federal-income-tax-free (and typically not taxed at the state level).  However, the downside is you don’t get a deduction for making Roth contributions.

Therefore, if you anticipate paying lower taxes in retirement, you might want to make deductible traditional IRA contributions (if your income allows). That’s because the current deductions may be worth more to you, than tax-free withdrawals down the road.

 What is the other best-case scenario for annual Roth contributions? It is when you’ve maxed out on deductible retirement plan contributions. Annual contributions are limited, and earned income is required. The maximum you can contribute to a Roth for any tax year is the lesser of: (1) your earned income for the year; or (2) the annual contribution limit for the year. Earned income is wage and salary income (including bonuses), self-employment income, and alimony received that is included in your gross income (believe it or not). If you’re married, you can add your spouse’s earned income to the total. Remember, after reaching age 70½, you can still make annual Roth IRA contributions, provided there are no problems with the earned income limitation or the income-based phase-out rule. However, you can’t make any more contributions to traditional IRAs after you reach age 70½.

Roth conversions. Converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, is the fastest way to get a large amount of money into a Roth IRA. This conversion is considered a taxable distribution, since you have received a payout from the traditional IRA. Once that money is deposited into a new Roth IRA, it will trigger a tax bill. However, with federal income taxes so low, now is the time to do this, since you’ll be avoiding the possibility of higher rates on the post-conversion income that will be in the Roth account. You should also remember that if you’ve had at least one Roth account open for more than five years, withdrawals are federal income tax free.

Reference: MarketWatch(March 27, 2018) “How the new tax law creates a ‘perfect storm’ for Roth IRA conversions”

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