As we transition into the second half of the year, now is a good time to reflect on and review the wealth plan you have currently in place. When it comes to retirement planning, the SECURE Act that was passed in December 2019 established some wide-ranging changes to the treatment and handling of retirement accounts. A few of these key changes made were:
- The required beginning age for IRA Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) increased to age 72 for those turning 70 ½ in 2020 or later.
- The maximum age for contributions to traditional IRAs is repealed. Anyone that is still working and receives earned income can add to their retirement accounts.
- The “Stretch” IRA is eliminated. Prior to the passing of the SECURE Act, an IRA beneficiary was permitted to take minimum required distributions over their lifetime and continue to grow assets inside the IRA tax deferred. Under the new rule, inherited IRAs are required to be withdrawn sooner for non-spouse beneficiaries.
After the owner of an IRA or 401k participant dies, distribution to beneficiaries must be completed by the end of the tenth year following the owner’s date of death. The IRA can be withdrawn partially over the ten – year period, or the entire amount postponed and withdrawn until the required termination date. Those that are exempt from this provision would be: spouses and minor children of the owner, chronically ill or disabled persons, and persons not more than ten years younger than the owner.
For children and grandchildren inheriting an IRA, this may have an impact on the timing of disbursements and their income taxes. Your estate plan and beneficiary designations should be reviewed with your professional advisor to determine how these changes affect your legacy goals.
In March 2020, the CARES Act waived the RMD, providing IRA owners some flexibility and potential income tax savings for those that elected to waive their RMD in 2020. However, in March 2021, the American Rescue Act was passed and reinstated the RMD. As a result, those taking their RMD this year will likely see a larger required distribution and a potential increase in their income tax.
Look to your IRA to fulfill a charitable gift.
IRA owners can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from their IRA assets directly to a qualified charity. The QCD is excluded from the donor’s taxable income. Individuals age 70 ½ and older, whether itemizing or claiming the standard deduction, can direct up to $100,000 per year tax-free from their IRA to operating charities through QCDs. By reducing the IRA balance, a QCD may also reduce the donor’s taxable income in future years, lower the donor’s taxable estate, satisfy their RMD, and limit IRA beneficiaries’ tax liability.
Considering a Roth Conversion?
For those considering a full or partial Roth conversion of their traditional IRA, a charitable gift can be a great strategy to reduce the income taxes created from the conversion, while supporting a charity that is important to them. Using non-IRA assets to make a planned charitable gift in the same year as a Roth conversion could result in less taxes paid by reducing taxable income and possibly the marginal tax rate.
Of course, everyone’s situation varies, therefore you will need to consult your tax and legal advisor for advice on your personal situation.
2021 First Quarter Review and Commentary
By Michael R. Barnes
Vice President & Private Wealth Advisor, Trust