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IRS warns of 50 percent penalty for failing to make retirement withdrawals

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Joe Mueller

(The Center Square) – Throughout the decades, millions of Americans had small amounts from their paychecks withdrawn – before taxes were deducted – and invested the money in retirement plans.

As those taxpayers retire or plan for retirement, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding them about required mandatory withdrawals from retirement accounts. Failure to withdraw funds or not taking the minimum required amount could result in a 50 percent excise tax on the amount distributed, according to the IRS.

If you’re doing some year-end tax planning, are age 72 or were born in 1950 or earlier with a retirement plan, the IRS encourages you to begin making decisions concerning the required minimum withdrawal. Account holders can delay making their first required minimum distribution until April 1, following the later of the year they reach 72, or when they retire if they have a workplace retirement plan.

The amount withdrawn is taxable income and may be subject to penalties if not made by certain IRS deadlines.

The money withdrawn can’t be rolled over to another individual retirement account (IRA). For those with Roth IRAs, distributions aren’t required while the original owner is alive, according to the IRS.

If you’re still working at age 72, IRS rules require the holders of most retirement accounts to begin taking distributions. If you turned 72 this year, the IRS requires the first minimum distribution by April 1, 2023, the second by Dec. 31, 2023, and each year thereafter.

The IRS made a pandemic-related distribution exception in 2020. Required minimum distributions were waived and an account owner or beneficiary who received a distribution in 2020 had the option of returning it to their IRA or another qualified plan to avoid paying taxes on that distribution. A required minimum distribution in 2020 that qualified as a pandemic-related distribution may be repaid over a three-year period or have the taxes on the distribution spread over three years.