The tax laws generally require individuals with retirement accounts to take annual withdrawals based on the size of their account and their age beginning with the year they reach age 70.5. Failure to take a required withdrawal can result in a penalty of 50 percent of the amount not withdrawn.

If you turned age 70.5 in 2015, you can delay your 2015 required distribution to 2016. Think twice before doing so, though, as this will result in two distributions in 2016 – the amount required for 2015 plus the amount required for 2016, which might throw you into a higher tax bracket or trigger the 3.8 percent net investment income tax. On the other hand, it could be beneficial to take both distributions in 2016 if you expect to be in a substantially lower bracket in 2016.

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Doug Wendlandt
I began my career in public accounting in 1978 and became a certified public accountant in 1981. I worked at a public accounting firm for 25 years and then started my own practice. In 2010, Hawkins Ash CPAs acquired my firm in Marshfield and welcomed me as a partner. I am a member of the firm’s Tax Committee.

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