Ask a trust officer: Required Minimum Distributions in 2020


I’m 74 and my wife turns 70 this year.  I’ve been taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from my IRA, and she should begin hers this year.  However, we hate to sell our stocks at low prices.  Any suggestions?—COMFORTABLY RETIRED


If you have not yet taken your RMD for this year, you do not need to. RMDs for 2020 were suspended by the CARES Act. If you took an RMD or a portion of an RMD after February 1, you have until July 15, 2020 to return it to your IRA.  This recontribution option is not available for January distributions.  Next year your RMDs will return to the usual schedule.

Your wife does not need to begin her RMDs until she turns 72, thanks to the SECURE Act enacted last year.

Of course, if you need the money, you are free to withdraw as much as you need, subject to the usual income tax rules.

If you are planning to boost your charitable giving to help those who’ve suffered as a result of the coronavirus, you might consider a direct transfer from your IRA instead of the usual contribution and deduction route.  You and your wife are each eligible to donate up to $100,000 from your IRAs, and the amounts will not be included in your taxable income.

Consult your tax advisor before making any final decisions.

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