There are not two, but three certain things in life: Death, taxes and change. This third element was brought home to us recently in the legislation that yet again would change the landscape for retirement planning, saving and spending in potentially radical ways.
A few years ago, the SECURE act increased the age at which one was required to draw out tax-deferred retirement savings from age 70 ½ to 72, causing a great deal of confusion initially, but simplifying the matter overall, since people have a hard time with half-year calculations. This allowed folks to wait a little longer before drawing out a required minimum distribution (RMD) and perhaps more significantly, paying income taxes on the withdrawal. It also allowed a bit more time for funds to grow tax free.
The IRS penalty for failure to make such withdrawal has been 50% of the RMD amount not withdrawn, a big incentive for making full timely withdrawals.
Now we are faced with the RMD age increasing again in 2023 to 73 (known as the RBD, or Required Beginning Date), and yet again in 2033 to age 75. Here’s how this would work for 2023: If you were born after December 31, 1950 (in other words, not yet 72 by 12/31/2022) then your RMD age is 73. So if you turn 72 in 2023, your RMD does not start until 2024.
Here’s an example of that. John’s birthdate is January 5, 1951. Under the “old” provision, he would have to begin his RMD in 2023, because he turns 72 on January 5, 2023. However, under SECURE 2.0 having not reached the age of 72 by 12/31/22, his RMD age would be 73. Technically, he does not have to take a distribution in 2024 when he turns 73 but could delay until April 1, 2025. However, since he would have another RMD amount in 2025, taking the 2024 amount in the same year as 2025 could result in higher tax rates applying, so he might be smart to go ahead and start in 2024 with his first minimum distribution.
So RMD age is now 73, and your first distribution is not due until April 1 of the year following your 73rd birthday, but it’s often better to take it in the calendar year of your RBD so you don’t have to take multiple distributions in the same tax year.
Also under SECURE 2.0 when we get to 2032, less than 10 years from now, RMD age will increase to 75 if you haven’t turned 74 by the end of 2032. So, in 2033, the age for RMD’s is 75.
Delaying the Required Beginning Date (RBD) for RMD’s – increasing the age to 73, and then 75 – offers retirement savers the opportunity to continue to allow their tax-deferred savings to grow free of tax until RMD’s begin and income taxes are paid on those withdrawals.
The original SECURE Act also eliminated the age limitation on making contributions to IRA’s in recognition of people working later and later in life, just as the increase in the RMD age recognizes a tendency for people to continue to earn income beyond more a traditional retirement age of 65 and have less reliance on retirement income until much later in life.
So we could say we are starting 2023 with positive news on the retirement savings and planning front. There’s much more to the legislation knowns as SECURE 2.0 but we’ll save that for another time.