(Note – The IRS issued final regulations superceding the proposed regulations discussed below. The effective date was changed to required minimum distributions for years beginning on or after January 1, 2022 and the new life expectancy tables changed slightly. See TD 9930.)
The IRS has issued proposed regulations relating to required minimum distributions from retirement accounts, including, 401(k), IRA and Roth IRA accounts. (Proposed Regulations REG-132210-18, Proposed Regulations Section 1.401(a)(9)-9.)
The required minimum distribution is generally computed using a life expectancy table issued by the IRS, called the lifetime distribution table. The life expectancy tables haven’t been updated for many years. The proposed regulations include new life expectancy tables.
(If a taxpayer fails to take a required minimum distribution, the federal penalty is 50% of the undistributed amount.)
Since life expectancies have been increasing, required minimum distributions will be smaller using the proposed tables, potentially leaving larger balances to accumulate future earnings. Bigger distributions can optionally be taken at the risk of exhausting the account before the employee or plan owner’s death.
The proposed regulations are proposed to be effective for retirement plan distributions for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, provided they are adopted as final regulations by that date.
Required minimum distributions for a non-spouse beneficiary of a deceased employee or a deceased plan owner are based on the life expectancy determined using the Single Life Table of the beneficiary as of the date of death of the employee or plan owner, minus one for each subsequent year. Under the proposed regulations, the beneficiary will be able to recompute his or her life expectancy as of the date of death of the employee or deceased plan owner using the new lifetime distribution table starting January 1, 2021.