Has the IRS changed the rules for starting retirement distributions?

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Q. Has the IRS changed the rules regarding the start of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)? I am hearing that you now have to begin RMDs in the year you turn 73. I thought that it was the year you turn 72. Please respond as I need to settle this question with my wife.
— Retired

A. We’re happy to settle this between you and your wife.

If she’s the one saying age 73 is the year to start, she’s correct.

The IRS did indeed change the rules, said Christine Melilli, a certified public accountant with Smolin, Lupin & Co. in Red Bank.

The change was enacted as part of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, commonly called the SECURE Act, which was signed into law min December 2019, she said.

The SECURE Act changed the starting age for lifetime RMDs from 70 ½ to 72, Melilli said.

Then there were more changes with a 2022 law known as the SECURE 2.0 Act, which increasd the starting age for lifetime RMDs to age 73 for those individuals who turn 72 on or after Jan. 1, 2023, she said.

“Therefore, if you turn age 72 in 2023 or later, a minimum distribution is not required until the year you turn age 73,” she said. “However, if you turned age 72 in 2022 or earlier, you are required to continue taking your minimum distributions as before.”

Melilli said there are no changes impacting individuals who reached RMD age prior to 2023.

Also courtesy of the SECURE 2.0 Act, the starting age threshold for lifetime RMDs will rise to 75 on Jan. 1, 2033, she said.

“It should be noted that once an individual reaches their RMD age, initial distributions must be received by no later than April 1 of that initial year,” she said. “Subsequent year RMDs may be taken at any point during the calendar year, up to Dec. 31.”

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This story was originally published on Feb. 27, 2023.

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