IRA FAQs: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

General information

  • What are required minimum distributions (RMDs)?

    Required minimum distributions, or RMDs, are mandatory, minimum yearly withdrawals that generally must be taken starting in the year you turn 70½. While there is a minimum amount you are required to withdraw in order to avoid severe penalties, you can withdraw more than the RMD amount.

    You generally have to take RMDs from any retirement account in which you contributed tax-deferred assets or had tax-deferred earnings. These accounts include:

    • Traditional IRAs
    • Rollover IRAs
    • SIMPLE IRAs
    • SEP IRAs
    • Most Keogh accounts
    • Most 401(k) and 403(b) plans

    Inherited IRAs have special rules for RMDs and the required distributions are time-sensitive, usually beginning in the year after the year of death of the original owner. If you have inherited an IRA, see RMD Rules for Inherited IRAs.

    Our Retirement Distribution Center can help you calculate and manage your RMDs. We provide estimated RMDs for your Fidelity IRAs (Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, Rollover IRAs, and all small-business retirement plans) as well as important news and insights. Our system also keeps track of all withdrawals and allows you to set up automated distributions. Learn more about our Retirement Distribution Center.

  • Are there any exceptions?

    One exception is Roth IRAs. You are not required to take RMDs from your Roth IRA during your lifetime, and you cannot satisfy your Traditional IRA RMD requirement with a withdrawal from a Roth IRA.

    Another exception is retirement plan accounts, if you are still working. If you continue to work beyond age 70½, and do not own more than 5% of the business you work for, you may be able to defer taking RMDs from your current employer's Keogh, 401(k), 403(b), or other employer-sponsored retirement plan until April 1 of the calendar year after the year in which you retire. For some older 403(b)s, special rules allow participants to delay RMDs until age 75. Please consult your plan administrator to learn more.

Calculating your RMD

  • How do I calculate my RMD?

    Generally, your RMD is determined by dividing the adjusted market value of your tax-deferred retirement account as of December 31 of the prior year by an applicable life expectancy factor taken from the Uniform Lifetime Table (PDF).

    Our RMD Calculator can help you determine the amount to withdraw. We also offer the Retirement Distribution Center which can help you manage your withdrawals. This free service keeps track of how much you've withdrawn to date, allows you to set up automatic withdrawals, and provides estimated RMDs for your Fidelity IRAs (Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, Rollover IRAs, and all small-business retirement plans). Learn more about our Retirement Distribution Center

  • What if my spouse is more than 10 years younger?

    If your spouse is more than 10 years younger than you, and if he or she will be the sole primary beneficiary for the entire distribution year, you should use the Joint Life Expectancy Table (PDF) to calculate your RMD. This will result in a smaller RMD than with the Uniform Lifetime Table. You can use the RMD Calculator to do this calculation. If that spouse is listed on your account as the sole beneficiary with the correct date of birth on Fidelity.com, then Fidelity will use that information and your life expectancy factor from the Joint Life Expectancy Table. This information must be correct on Fidelity.com before December 31 for it to be used in the annual recalculation process.

  • Will Fidelity calculate my RMD for me?

    Yes, to view your RMD estimate for the current year, please visit the Retirement Distribution Center (RDC)Log In Required. You can also find current year estimates and year-to-date withdrawals on your account statement. Prior year estimates, dating back to 2012, are available in the RDC but only for accounts held at Fidelity during that time.

    Please note, we calculate your RMD based on a variety of factors such as your date of birth, year-end account balance, and account beneficiaries. If any of this information changes, your Fidelity-provided RMD may no longer be accurate.

    The RMD estimates use all the information on file as of December 31 of the prior year. For example, transfers that are not processed by December 31 will not be be reflected in the next year's RMD. So, if you transfer funds to your retirement account in late 2016, but they are not received by December 31, 2016, your 2017 RMD will not reflect this deposit. Similarly, beneficiary changes made after December 31 will not be reflected in the current year RMD.

    If you have consolidated assets, transferred funds, or made a beneficiary change that should have been taken into consideration for the current year, please call our representatives at 800-544-4774 for help recalculating your RMD.

    Please note, RMD estimates for Fidelity's Profit Sharing Retirement Plan, Money Purchase, and Self‐Employed 401(k) accounts, are presented separately and not aggregated in the All Your Fidelity IRAs section of your portfolio.

    Additionally, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans held at Fidelity and certain annuities are not included in the RMD estimate. To learn more about how we estimate your RMD, please visit the RDC and select Learn more about your RMDs and how they're calculated.

    Sample RDC calculations page:

    Sample RDC calculations page
    For illustrative purposes only.
  • I can't find my RMD estimates on my account statement. Where is it located?

    Your RMD estimates will appear on the account summary page, at the end of the account balance section.

  • Where can I find the Retirement Distribution Center?

    You can visit the RDC directly at www.fidelity.com/RDCLog In Required. It can also be found on the Track Your Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) section of your account summary that appears after you log in.

    example of RDC card
    For illustrative purposes only.

    Note: This information is only visible to those with required withdrawals. If you're under 70½ or do not own an Inherited IRA account, you may not see the card.

    If you own an Inherited IRA and are under 70½, you may still have required withdrawals. Learn more about RMDs for inherited retirement accounts

    If you have required withdrawals but do not see an RMD estimate, we may be missing key information such as your prior year's account balance and date of birth. If that's the case, please update your account.

  • Can I find my RMD estimates anywhere else?

    Depending on your retirement status, you may see your RMD in account history or on the Withdraw from IRA or Convert to a Roth IRA pages once you're logged in.

  • How should I handle year-end transfers or rollovers?

    The December 31 market value of each of your retirement accounts should be adjusted for any pending year-end transfers or rollovers. For example, if assets were withdrawn from an IRA or qualified employer-sponsored plan within the last 60 days of the prior calendar year, and then a portion or all of those assets were rolled over to a Fidelity IRA this year, you must add the amount of the rollover to the balance of your Fidelity IRA as of December 31 of the prior year. This may also apply to year-end transfers not credited to your account until after December 31, unless the RMD attributable to the amount transferred was distributed from another IRA.

    If you are age 70½ or older, generally, you must withdraw the RMD from the employer-sponsored plan prior to rolling it over to your IRA. RMD amounts are not eligible for rollover. Please check your records to determine if that was done properly or ask one of our representatives if you need help understanding any paperwork from that process.

  • Will Fidelity send me my RMD automatically?

    Yes, if you enroll in our automatic withdrawals process, Fidelity will automatically recalculate your RMD each year, and distribute that amount based on your instructions. Enroll in automatic withdrawalsLog In Required.

  • How are RMDs taxed?

    RMDs are taxed as ordinary income for the tax year in which they are taken and will be taxed at your applicable individual federal income tax rate. RMDs may also be subject to state and local taxes. If you made non-deductible contributions to your IRA, you must calculate your RMD based on the total balance, but your taxable income may be reduced proportionately for the after-tax contributions. Please consult a tax advisor to learn more.

  • What if I made non-deductible contributions to my IRA?

    Regardless of whether or not you made non-deductible contributions, you must take the RMD. If you have made non-deductible, after-tax Traditional IRA contributions (or if your account includes any after-tax rollover amounts), you will not have to pay taxes on the portion of your distribution that represents after-tax contributions, provided you have filed IRS Form 8606 each year you made a non-deductible contribution. Remember, you will owe taxes on any earnings on those contributions. Check with your tax advisor on what portion of your account is from non-deductible contributions.

  • Can I withdraw my total RMD from one account?

    The IRS allows you to add up the separately calculated required minimum distributions (RMDs) for all your Traditional IRAs, Rollover IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and IRA Deferred Annuities that are subject to an RMD, and then withdraw the total RMD amount from one or more of the accounts. This process is called aggregating RMDs.

    An RMD from a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401(k), or from an inherited retirement account generally must be taken from that account and cannot be aggregated.

    403(b)s must also be calculated separately, but the total amount of the RMD can be withdrawn from any one or any combination of your 403(b) accounts. 403(b)s cannot be aggregated with IRAs.

Taking your first RMD

  • When should I take my first RMD?

    You generally have until April 1 of the year following the calendar year you turn age 70½ to take your first RMD. This is known as your required beginning date (RBD). In subsequent years, the deadline is December 31. If you turned 70 between July 1 of last year and June 30 of this year, you will be turning 70½ this year and will need to take your first RMD for this year.

  • How should I time my first RMD when it comes to taxes?

    If you take your first RMD between January 1 and April 1 of the year after you turn age 70½, you still need to take your second RMD by December 31 of the same year. Since IRA and Keogh distributions are taxed as ordinary income, this may push you into a higher tax bracket. Also note that if you take your RMD between January 1 and April 1 of the year after you turn age 70½, your December 31 account balance is not reduced by the amount of the RMD taken for the first RMD when calculating the amount of your second RMD. So, be sure to plan your first withdrawal carefully.

Taking your RMDs each year

  • How should I take my RMDs if I have multiple non-Roth accounts?

    If you have more than one non-Roth IRA, you must calculate the RMD for each IRA separately each year. However, you may aggregate your RMD amounts for all of your non-Roth IRAs and withdraw the total from one IRA or a portion from each of your IRAs.

    If you have qualified plan accounts, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), in addition to your IRAs, you must calculate and satisfy your RMDs for IRAs separately from your qualified plan accounts. If you have more than one qualified retirement plan account, you must calculate and satisfy your RMD requirements separately for each qualified plan account.

    For example, if you have both a profit-sharing plan and a self-employed 401(k), you must separately calculate and withdraw an RMD from each plan. Also, RMDs for Inherited IRAs must be satisfied separately from your other IRAs.

    After you have fully retired from all employers it may be easier to consolidate your accounts into an IRA in order to make taking RMDs easier to manage. Consider rolling over your retirement accounts to Fidelity and managing your RMDs in one place.

    Our Retirement Distribution Center can help you keep track of RMDs for your Fidelity IRAs (Traditional IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, Rollover IRAs, and all small-business retirement plans). Learn more about our Retirement Distribution Center

  • What are the deadlines for taking RMDs?

    You may withdraw your annual RMD in one distribution or make withdrawals periodically throughout the year, but the total annual minimum amount must be withdrawn by the deadline of December 31 (except for your first RMD, as explained above in "When should I take my first RMD?").

    Our Retirement Distribution Center can help you keep track of how much you've withdrawn so you're never behind. You can also set up automatic withdrawals on a monthly, annual, or customized basis. Learn more about our Retirement Distribution Center

  • What are the penalties if I miss a deadline?

    The penalty for taking less than your RMD can be severe. If you withdraw less than the required minimum amount, the IRS may assess a penalty equal to 50% of the amount of the RMD not taken. If you missed taking RMDs, consider discussing your options with your tax advisor. You may be able to file for an exemption from the penalty by filing an IRS Form 5329. Consult your tax advisor.

  • Do I have to take my RMD if I am still working?

    Yes, with certain exceptions:

    In some circumstances you may delay RMDs from any retirement plan for a current employer, such as a Keogh, 401(k), 403(b), or other employer-sponsored retirement plan account until you retire. If you are still working and have other tax-deferred retirement accounts in previous employers' plans, you must satisfy your RMD for those other accounts each year beginning when you reach age 70½.

    Roth IRAs are also an exception, as they are not subject to RMDs while the original account owner is still living.

  • Can I still contribute to my IRAs while taking RMDs?

    You can contribute to a Roth IRA after age 70½ as long as you have compensation and meet the income eligibility requirements. Otherwise, you generally cannot contribute to any other kind of IRA for yourself in the year you turn age 70½ or any year thereafter.

Beneficiaries and stretching tax advantages of assets

  • Why is it so important to consider beneficiaries when taking RMDs?

    Retirement accounts generally pass outside the instructions of a will. Your beneficiary designations will determine who receives your retirement assets upon your death. That's why it is so important to carefully consider who you have designated as a beneficiary on your accounts. Also, there are opportunities for beneficiaries to stretch out the tax-deferred growth of IRA assets after the death of the original account owner. With proper planning, many beneficiaries can minimize their required distributions and potentially maximize the advantage of continued tax deferral.

  • How do I name a beneficiary?

    A designated beneficiary is an individual, charitable organization, estate, or other entity that you have named to receive any assets in your account upon your death. Update your beneficiaries lock_green.

    You may also complete a beneficiary form.

  • Should I convert to a Roth IRA, since they don't have RMDs?

    You can convert a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at any age. If you are over age 70½ when you convert, you will need to take your RMD for the Traditional IRA before converting any other amounts into the Roth IRA. Our online Convert an IRA to a Roth IRA lock_green Calculator will help with that process.

  • What is a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)?

    A QCD is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA custodian, payable to a qualified charity. QCDs can be counted toward satisfying required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the year and allow you to exclude the amount donated from taxable income.

  • Are Qualified Charitable Distributions an option for my RMDs?

    Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) were permanently extended in 2015.

    For a distribution to qualify as a QCD, it must meet all of the following requirements:

    • Taxpayer must be over the age of 70½.
    • Total of all distributions does not exceed the maximum of $100,000 per taxpayer.
    • Distributions are made directly from an IRA to the charity.
    • Written receipt is obtained from each recipient charity. Note: Recipient charity is qualified as a 501(c)(3) organization per IRS regulations.

    You may also want to consider the following when making a QCD:

    • Donations count toward any IRA required minimum distributions for the year.
    • Married individuals filing a joint return may exclude up to $100,000 donated from each spouse's own IRA ($200,000 total).
    • Amounts excluded from gross income are not deductible.
    • Donations from an inherited IRA are eligible if the beneficiary is at least age 70½.
    • Donations from an ongoing SEP or SIMPLE IRA aren’t eligible.
    • Donations from a Roth IRA are eligible.

    Note: Private foundations, supporting organizations, or donor‐advised funds do not qualify for QCD contributions.

    Please consult your tax advisor if you have specific questions about your eligibility for this exemption.

  • How do I know if I'm qualified to make a QCD?

    The IRS requires that:

    • The taxpayer is over the age of 70½.
    • Distribution(s) do not exceed the maximum of $100,000 per taxpayer.
    • Distributions are made from an IRA.
    • Written receipt is obtained from each recipient charity.
  • How to do I request a QCD from my Fidelity IRA?

    If you qualify, you have the following choices for requesting a QCD from your Fidelity IRA.

    1. Use the Qualified Charitable Distributions - IRA One-Time Withdrawal (PDF) to request a QCD from your account.
    2. If you have checkwriting established on your IRA, you can write a check directly to the qualified charity.

    Note: The charity must cash the check by December 31 in order to meet your required minimum distribution (RMD) and the QCD deadline for that year.

    Fidelity will report the distributions as normal on 1099-R for an non-Inherited account. For an Inherited account, the distribution will be reported as a death distribution.

    Please speak with your tax advisor on how to report the distribution as a QCD when you file your taxes.

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RMDs for inherited IRAs

If you own an inherited IRA, your RMD rules are different. Learn about the rules that apply to you.