When it comes to taxes, reaching age 70-1/2 is an important milestone. That’s because you have to start taking minimum annual distributions from your traditional IRAs when you reach age 70-1/2. And if you’ve already retired from your company, you also must begin making withdrawals from your company retirement plan as well. If you don’t take these minimum distributions when you’re supposed to, you could get hit with a 50% penalty tax.
When must these minimum distributions begin? If you reach age 70-1/2 in 2011, you actually have until April 1, 2012 to take your first year’s distribution, namely the one for 2011 (your age 70-1/2 year). However, if you wait until 2012 to take this distribution, you may wind up loading too much income into 2012. That’s because you’ll also have to take your second year’s annual minimum distribution in 2012, since the extended deadline until April 1 is available only in the first distribution year. That could have unpleasant tax consequences. For example, you may be pushed into a higher tax bracket in 2012. Additionally, you may be hit with a larger tax on social security benefits in 2012, and saddled with larger cutbacks for deductions (such as for medical expenses) that have an adjusted-gross-income-based “floor.”
The decision whether or not to accelerate minimum distribution payouts is not an easy one, and is not necessarily the best choice. If you’d like, one of our tax professionals at Maxfield•Peterson, P.C. can sit down with you to discuss your options, taking into account your overall financial picture. We would review your financial and tax situation, and determine whether you’d be better off beginning required distributions this year, instead of next. Give us a call so that we can get together and set up the right IRA and retirement plan payout strategy for you and your family.
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