IRS Logo

Publication 590-B - Introductory Material

What's New for 2015

Application of one-rollover-per-year limitation. Beginning in 2015, you can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period regardless of the number of IRAs you own. However, you can continue to make unlimited trustee-to-trustee transfers between IRAs because it is not considered a rollover. Furthermore, you can also make as many rollovers from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA (also known as “conversions”). For more information, see Pub. 590-A.


Future developments. For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 590-B, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to

Publication 590 split.  Pub. 590 has been split into two separate publications as follows.

  • Pub. 590-A, covers contributions to traditional IRAs as well as Roth IRAs. This publication includes the rules for rollover and conversion contributions.

  • Pub. 590-B, covers distributions from traditional IRAs as well as Roth IRAs. This publication includes the rules for required minimum distributions and IRA beneficiaries.

Simplified employee pension (SEP). SEP IRAs are not covered in this publication. They are covered in Pub. 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

Deemed IRAs. A qualified employer plan (retirement plan) can maintain a separate account or annuity under the plan (a deemed IRA) to receive voluntary employee contributions. If the separate account or annuity otherwise meets the requirements of an IRA, it will be subject only to IRA rules. An employee's account can be treated as a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.For this purpose, a “qualified employer plan” includes:

  • A qualified pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan (section 401(a) plan),

  • A qualified employee annuity plan (section 403(a) plan),

  • A tax-sheltered annuity plan (section 403(b) plan), and

  • A deferred compensation plan (section 457 plan) maintained by a state, a political subdivision of a state, or an agency or instrumentality of a state or political subdivision of a state.

Statement of required minimum distribution (RMD). If an RMD is required from your IRA, the trustee, custodian, or issuer that held the IRA at the end of the preceding year must either report the amount of the RMD to you, or offer to calculate it for you. The report or offer must include the date by which the amount must be distributed. The report is due January 31 of the year in which the minimum distribution is required. It can be provided with the year-end fair market value statement that you normally get each year. No report is required for section 403(b) contracts (generally tax-sheltered annuities) or for IRAs of owners who have died.

IRA interest. Although interest earned from your IRA is generally not taxed in the year earned, it is not tax-exempt interest. Tax on your traditional IRA is generally deferred until you take a distribution. Do not report this interest on your return as tax-exempt interest. For more information on tax-exempt interest, see the instructions for your tax return.

Net Investment Income Tax. For purposes of the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), net investment income does not include distributions from a qualified retirement plan (for example, 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), or 457(b) plans, and IRAs). However, these distributions are taken into account when determining the modified adjusted gross income threshold. Distributions from a nonqualified retirement plan are included in net investment income. See Form 8960 and its instructions for more information.

Photographs of missing children. The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.


This publication discusses distributions from individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). An IRA is a personal savings plan that gives you tax advantages for setting aside money for retirement. For information about contributions to an IRA, see Pub. 590-A.

What are some tax advantages of an IRA?   Two tax advantages of an IRA are that:
  • Contributions you make to an IRA may be fully or partially deductible, depending on which type of IRA you have and on your circumstances, and

  • Generally, amounts in your IRA (including earnings and gains) are not taxed until distributed. In some cases, amounts are not taxed at all if distributed according to the rules.

What's in this publication?   This publication discusses traditional and Roth IRAs. It explains the rules for:
  • Handling an inherited IRA, and

  • Receiving distributions (making withdrawals) from an IRA.

  It also explains the penalties and additional taxes that apply when the rules are not followed. To assist you in complying with the tax rules for IRAs, this publication contains worksheets, sample forms, and tables, which can be found throughout the publication and in the appendices at the back of the publication.

How to use this publication.   The rules that you must follow depend on which type of IRA you have. Use Table I-1 to help you determine which parts of this publication to read. Also use Table I-1 if you were referred to this publication from instructions to a form.

Comments and suggestions.    We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can send us comments from Click on “More Information” and then on “Give us feedback.

  Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service 
Tax Forms and Publications 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.    Visit to download forms and publications. Otherwise, you can go to to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, check and How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication.

Useful Items - You may want to see:


  • 590-A Contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

  • 560 Retirement Plans for Small Business (SEP, SIMPLE, and Qualified Plans)

  • 571 Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans (403(b) Plans)

  • 575 Pension and Annuity Income

  • 939 General Rule for Pensions and Annuities

Forms (and Instructions)

  • W-4P Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments

  • 1099-R Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

  • 5304-SIMPLE Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE)–Not for Use With a Designated Financial Institution

  • 5305-S SIMPLE Individual Retirement Trust Account

  • 5305-SA SIMPLE Individual Retirement Custodial Account

  • 5305-SIMPLE Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE)–for Use With a Designated Financial Institution

  • 5329 Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts

  • 5498 IRA Contribution Information

  • 8606 Nondeductible IRAs

  • 8815 Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989

  • 8839 Qualified Adoption Expenses

  • 8880 Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions

See chapter 3 for information about getting these publications and forms.

Table I-1. Using This Publication

IF you need 
information on ...
THEN see ...
Traditional IRAs chapter 1.
Roth IRAs chapter 2, and parts of  
chapter 1.
SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and 401(k) plans Pub. 560.
Coverdell education savings accounts (formerly called education IRAs) Pub. 970.
Table I-2. How Are a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA Different?
This table shows the differences between traditional and Roth IRAs. Answers in the middle column apply to traditional IRAs. Answers in the right column apply to Roth IRAs.
Question Answer
  Traditional IRA? Roth IRA?
Do I have to start taking distributions when I reach a certain age from a Yes. You must begin receiving required minimum distributions by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70½. See When Must You Withdraw Assets? (Required Minimum Distributions) in chapter 1. No. If you are the original owner of a Roth IRA, you do not have to take distributions regardless of your age. See Are Distributions Taxable? in chapter 2. However, if you are the beneficiary of a Roth IRA, you may have to take distributions. See Distributions After Owner's Death in chapter 2.
How are distributions taxed from a Distributions from a traditional IRA are taxed as ordinary income, but if you made nondeductible contributions, not all of the distribution is taxable. See Are Distributions Taxable? in chapter 1. Distributions from a Roth IRA are not taxed as long as you meet certain criteria. See Are Distributions Taxable? in chapter 2.
Do I have to file a form just because I receive distributions from a Not unless you have ever made a nondeductible contribution to a traditional IRA. If you have, file Form 8606. See Nondeductible Contributions in Pub. 590-A. Yes. File Form 8606 if you received distributions from a Roth IRA (other than a rollover, qualified charitable distribution, one-time distribution to fund an HSA, recharacterization, certain qualified distributions, or a return of certain contributions).

More Online Publications