IRA FAQs: Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)

RMD Basics

  • What are Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)?

    Once you reach age 70½, you may be required to withdraw a certain amount of money from your tax-deferred retirement account each year. That amount is called a required minimum distribution (RMD).

    RMD rules apply to tax-deferred retirement accounts:

    • Traditional IRAs
    • Rollover IRAs
    • SIMPLE IRAs
    • SEP IRAs
    • Most small-business accounts (Keoghs)
    • Most 401(k) and 403(b) plans

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

  • Do I have to take my RMDs from my Roth IRA?

    You don't have to take RMDs from a Roth IRA, if you're the original account owner. However, if you have inherited a Roth IRA, you are subject to RMD rules.

    For tax-deferred retirement accounts, withdrawing from a Roth IRA will not meet the RMD requirement.

    You always have the option to convert your Traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. However, if you're over age 70½ you'll have to take your RMD for the year before you convert. Use our Convert an IRA to a Roth IRA Calculator to help with the conversion process.

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

    Yes, even if you continue working past age 70½, you have to take an RMD from your IRA.

    However, you may qualify for an exception from taking RMDs from your current employer-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401(k), 403(b), or small-business account, if:

    • You're still working
    • You do NOT own more than 5% of the business you work for
    • You have an employer-sponsored retirement account with the business you work for

    If you meet all the criteria above, you may delay taking an RMD from the account until April 1 of the year after you retire. Keep in mind that this does not apply to IRAs or other accounts you may hold with companies you no longer work for.

Calculating & taking your RMD

  • How do I calculate my RMD?

    Your RMD amount is calculated by dividing your tax-deferred retirement account balance as of December 31 of last year by your life expectancy factor.


    *If you have more than one tax-deferred retirement account, this number is the sum of all your account balances on December 31 last year.

    **Your life expectancy factor is taken from the Uniform Lifetime Table. We've listed out the factors from age 70 to 75 in the table below:

    Age707172737475
    LIfe Expectancy Factor27.426.525.624.723.822.9

    See the full version of the Uniform Lifetime Table

    However, if your spouse is the sole primary beneficiary and he or she is 10 years younger than you, your life expectancy factor is taken from the Joint Life Table.

    If you're a Fidelity customer, log in to see your estimated RMD amountLog In Required.

    Don't have a Fidelity account? Estimate your RMD amount by using our RMD calculator.

  • Will Fidelity calculate my RMD for me?

    Yes. If you're a Fidelity customer, log in to see your estimated RMD amountLog In Required.

    Don't have a Fidelity account? Estimate your RMD amount by using our RMD calculator.

  • Can I withdraw my total RMD from one of my retirement accounts?

    Yes, if you have multiple retirement accounts it's possible to take your RMD from one, but it depends on the type of retirement account:

    For Traditional IRAs, Rollover IRAs, SEP IRAs, SARSEP IRAs, and SIMPLE IRAs: You must calculate the RMD for each of these accounts separately, but you can withdraw the total RMD amount from one or any combination of accounts.

    For 403(b)s: RMDs must be calculated separately for each account, but the total amount of the RMD can be withdrawn from any one or a combination of your 403(b) accounts.

    For 401(k) and Fidelity Retirement Plan accounts: RMDs must be calculated separately for each account and taken individually from those accounts.

    Any distribution from an account that requires an RMD will count toward that year's RMD. Amounts withdrawn in excess of that RMD amount do NOT reduce RMD amounts in future years.

    You are not required to take RMDs from your own Roth IRA, and cannot satisfy an RMD requirement with a withdrawal from a Roth IRA.

  • How do I take my RMD?

    Withdrawing online is the easiest way to take your RMD. To make a one-time withdrawalLog In Required from your IRA, you'll follow these steps:

    • Enter your withdrawal amount and select an account
    • Set up a withdrawal date and where your withdrawals are sent
    • Choose your tax withholding amounts
    • If necessary, sell your investments to make cash available

    You can also set up automatic withdrawalsLog In Required for your RMD on a monthly, quarterly, annual or custom schedule.

    If you know your RMD amount and you're ready to withdraw now, take your RMDLog In Required.

    If you're ready to withdraw but you don't know your RMD amount, log in to see your estimated RMD amountLog In Required.

Taxes & timing your RMD

  • How will RMDs impact my taxes?

    The IRS taxes RMDs as ordinary income. This means that withdrawals will count towards your total taxable income for the year. Keep in mind that this income increase may push you into a higher tax bracket and may impact the taxes you pay for your Social Security or Medicare. Be sure that you don't miss your RMD deadline, because your tax penalty may be 50% of the amount not taken on time.

    If you'd like to reduce the affect of RMDs on your taxes, consider making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). A QCD excludes the amount you donate from taxable income and can be counted toward satisfying your RMD for the year, as long as certain rules are met.

    A tax advisor can help you determine when to take RMDs and if a QCD is appropriate for your situation.

  • When should I take my first RMD?

    The deadline for taking RMDs is December 31 each year. You may delay taking your first RMD (and only your first RMD) until April 1 of the year after you turn 70½*. If you choose to delay your first RMD, you'll have to take your first and second RMD in the same year.

    To understand how delaying your first RMD impacts your taxes and future RMDs, review your options and consider speaking with your tax advisor.

    The examples below outline 2 options for you, as a hypothetical retiree:

    • You will turn 70½ this year
    • You have $300,000 in a Traditional IRA
    • Your life expectancy factor for this year is 27.4 years, based on the IRS Uniform Lifetime Table for someone age 70 years old
    • For the purposes of this example, assume the value of your IRA account remains constant

    Considerations for Option 1:

    • Your account balance was higher when your second RMD was calculated, because you didn't take out your first RMD
    • Your second RMD is $413.75 more
    • Your taxable income for one year would be two RMDs totaling $22, 269.75 which will more likely push you into a higher tax bracket

    Considerations for Option 2:

    • Your first and second RMD amounts are the same ($10,949.00)
    • Your taxable income would only be one RMD ($10,949.00) per year, which still has the potential to push you into a higher tax bracket, but not as likely as Option 1

    To determine which option is best for you, talk with a tax advisor about your personal tax situation.

  • What are the deadlines for taking RMDs?

    After you take your first RMD, your deadline will always be December 31 each year. If you miss the deadline your penalty may be severe—50% of the amount not taken on time.

    If it's your first year taking RMDs, see the question above: When should I take my first RMD?

  • What are the penalties if I miss a deadline?

    It's important to remember your RMD deadline, because there may be a severe penalty of 50% of the amount not taken on time.

    For example, say you're 73 years old and your RMD for the year is $15,000, but you only withdrew $7,000 by December 31. You'll have to pay the penalty for the remaining $8,000 you did not take on time. This means that you may owe the IRS a $4,000 penalty for missing your RMD deadline that year.

    If you do miss the deadline, you may be able to request a waiver by filing IRS Form 5329. Please discuss your options with a tax advisor.

Withdraw from your IRALog In Required

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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.