Retirement Topics — Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)


You cannot keep retirement funds in your account indefinitely. You generally have to start taking withdrawals from your IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or retirement plan account when you reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022). 

Roth IRAs do not require withdrawals until after the death of the owner; however, beneficiaries of a Roth IRA are subject to the RMD rules. Designated Roth accounts in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan are subject to the RMD rules for 2022 and 2023. However, for 2024 and later years, RMDs are no longer required from designated Roth accounts. 2023 RMDs due by April 1, 2024, are still required.  

Your required minimum distribution is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your account each year.

  • You can withdraw more than the minimum required amount.
  • Your withdrawals will be included in your taxable income except for any part that was taxed before (your basis) or that can be received tax-free (such as qualified distributions from designated Roth accounts).

Do these rules apply to my retirement plan?

The minimum distribution rules discussed below apply to original account holders and their beneficiaries in these types of plans:

  • traditional IRAs
  • SEP IRAs
  • 401(k) plans
  • 403(b) plans
  • 457(b) plans
  • profit sharing plans
  • other defined contribution plans
  • Roth IRA beneficiaries

Calculating the required minimum distribution

The required minimum distribution for any year is the account balance as of the end of the immediately preceding calendar year divided by a distribution period from the IRS’s “Uniform Lifetime Table.” Use a different table if the sole beneficiary is the owner’s spouse who is ten or more years younger than the owner.  The following can help determine the payout periods and the amount of your required distribution:

  • worksheets to calculate the required amount
  • tables to calculate the RMD during the participant or IRA owner’s life:

Inherited IRAs - if your IRA or retirement plan account was inherited from the original owner, see "required minimum distributions after the account owner dies," below.

Required beginning date for your first RMD

  • IRAs (including SEPs and SIMPLE IRAs)
    • April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which you reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022).
  • 401(k), profit-sharing, 403(b), or other defined contribution plan
    Generally, April 1 following the later of the calendar year in which you:
    • reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022), or
    • retire (if your plan allows this).

See the chart comparing IRA and defined contribution plan RMDs.

Example: Jodie has decided to retire from their employer on her 73rd birthday, December 31, 2022. The employer’s 401(k) plan allows participants to delay taking RMDs until after they retire. Jodie’s first RMD is due by April 1, 2023, for the 2022 year (based on December 31, 2021, balance). Their second RMD is due on December 31, 2023, for 2023 (based on December 31, 2022, balance). Subsequent RMDs are due on December 31st annually thereafter.

If Jodie was a 5% owner of the employer, her first RMD would have been due for 2021. 

If Jodie also had an IRA, her first RMD from her IRA was due by April 1, 2022, for the 2021 year. Jodie’s RMD from her IRA doesn’t affect the RMD due from the retirement plan.

Terms of the plan govern

A retirement plan document may require you to begin receiving distributions after you reach age 72 (73 if you reach age 72 after Dec. 31, 2022), even if you’re still employed.

Date for receiving subsequent required minimum distributions

For each year after your required beginning date, you must withdraw your RMD by December 31.

For the first year following the year you reach age 72, you will generally have two required distribution dates: an April 1 withdrawal for the year you turn 72 and an additional withdrawal by December 31. You can make your first withdrawal by December 31 of the year you turn 72 instead of waiting until April 1 of the following year. This would allow the distributions to be included in your income in separate tax years.

Example: John reached age 72 on August 20, 2022. He must receive his 2022 required minimum distribution by April 1, 2023, based on his 2021 year-end balance. John must also receive his 2023 required minimum distribution by December 31, 2023, based on his 2022 year-end balance.

If John receives his initial required minimum distribution for 2022 by December 31, 2022, then his first RMD is included on his 2022 income tax return and the second on his 2023 return. However, if John waits to take his first RMD until April 1, 2023, then both his 2022 and 2023 distributions are included in income on his 2023 income tax return.

Extra taxes for not taking RMDs

If you don’t take any distributions, or if the distributions are not large enough, you may have to pay a 50% excise tax on the amount not distributed as required.

Calculating RMDs for designated beneficiaries after the account owner’s death

For the year of the account owner’s death, the RMD due is the amount the account owner would have been required to withdraw, if any, but did not withdraw. Beginning the year following the owner’s death, the RMD depends on certain characteristics of the designated beneficiary. See Retirement Topics – Beneficiary for more information.

Additional resources