Due to circumstances beyond my control, my Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) was not withdrawn until early January. What is the procedure I need to follow in such a case?

The deadline date for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) is December 31 of each year except for your first RMD. You generally have until April 1 of the year following the calendar year that you turn 70½ to take your first RMD. You can withdraw your RMD in one lump sum or make periodic withdrawals throughout the year. Failure to make RMD withdrawals triggers an excess accumulation tax. The tax is 50 percent of the required distribution that you didn’t take.

For example, if you didn’t withdraw a required $2,000 from your 401(k) plan or traditional IRA, the tax penalty would be $1,000. If you failed to make an RMD withdrawal, here’s what you need to do. You need to file Form 5329, which is the form to use when you owe tax because you did not receive a minimum required distribution from a qualified retirement plan. Using Form 5329, you will go ahead and pay the excess accumulation tax.

In addition, attach a letter of explanation describing the nature of the “circumstances beyond your control” and request a waiver of the penalty. If you can convince the IRS that your distribution shortfall was due to “reasonable error” and you’ve taken steps to correct the situation, the agency could waive the penalty and refund the excess accumulation tax.

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