Personal Finance

Congress may permit retirees to skip required minimum distributions from their retirement savings.

The House coronavirus relief bill, which was released yesterday, contains a provision that waives for 2020 the required minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and workplace retirement plans.

A similar provision is in the latest version of the Senate bill.

“For people with a retirement account and who don’t need the money right now, it’s helpful,” said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation. “It’s interesting that this showed up in both versions; it shows some consensus.”

The House’s proposed legislation contains a range of additional relief measures, including permitting coronavirus-related withdrawals from retirement accounts and enhancing the earned income tax credit.

Historically, savers who are aged 70½ have had to take mandatory withdrawals from their retirement accounts every year. The distributions are required from each 401(k) account you hold, as well as any traditional IRAs you have.

Roth IRAs are exempt from RMDs, but Roth 401(k) investors must take the mandated withdrawals.

Starting in 2020, the Secure Act boosted the RMD age to 72 and over.

If it’s your first time taking this distribution, you generally have until April 1 of the following year to do so. But all subsequent RMDs must be taken by year-end.

If there was ever a good time to waive mandatory distributions, now would be it. Mandatory distributions are looking especially painful as major market indexes have been battered by volatility.

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