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IRS Sets Distribution Relief Procedures

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The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance aimed at financial institutions that will be helping retirees put off taking cash from individual account retirement plans.

The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, signed into law Dec. 23, 2008, includes a provision that waives any required minimum distributions for 2009 from 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, some 457(b) plans and other plans that hold each participant’s benefits in an individual account.

The act also applies to individual retirement accounts.

The act RMD waiver “means that most participants and beneficiaries otherwise required to take minimum distributions from these types of accounts are not required to withdraw any amount in 2009,” IRS officials write in Notice 2009-9. If they do make a withdrawal in 2009 . . . they might be able to roll over the withdrawn amount into other eligible retirement plans.”

But the retirees still must include any previously untaxed portion of the withdrawal that they do not roll over in their taxable income, officials write.

“The act does not waive any 2008 RMDs, even for individuals who were eligible and chose to delay taking their 2008 RMD until April 1, 2009,” officials warn.

The act also does not waive any RMDs for 2010, officials write.

The RMD waiver does apply to individuals who may be eligible to postpone taking 2009 RMDs until April 1, 2010, officials write.

The individuals eligible to postpone RMDs until 2010 are, mostly, retired employees and IRA holders who turn 70.5 in 2009.

Financial institutions that issue t he 2008 Form 5498, “IRA Contribution Information,” should not put a check in Box 11, but the IRS will not penalize them for doing so mistake as long as they notify the IRA owner by March 31, 2009, that no RMD is required this year, officials write.

In addition, the RMD notice usually required need not be sent to IRA owners for 2009, officials write.

Any RMD notices sent to IRA holders should show that 2009 required minimum distribution is $0.

A financial institution also can tell an IRA holder what the required distribution normally would have been but explain the existence of the 2009 waiver.

“The IRS encourages all financial institutions to inform IRA owners who delayed taking their 2008 RMD until April 1, 2009, that they are still required to take that distribution,” officials write.


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