The IRS just released the inflation adjusted retirement plans maximum contribution amounts for 2023, and the increases are dramatic. So, this may be the time to start considering funding a retirement plan if you don’t currently have one. If you are already contributing to a tax-favored retirement plan and are looking for ways to increase your annual contribution, these inflation increases will be good news.
Here’s a rundown on the various tax-favored retirement plans available and the inflation adjustments pertaining to each.
If your traditional IRA is invested in stocks and/or mutual funds, the recent substantial downward slide by the stock markets may provide a unique opportunity to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at a low cost, and then benefit when the markets recover.
Why would you want to do that? Because Roth IRA distributions provide tax free retirement benefits while payouts from Traditional IRAs are taxable.
Of course there is no assurance that the markets will not continue to decline, and this may not be the most opportune time to make a conversion in your specific circumstances but is something you may want to consider. Conversions provide the most benefit to younger individuals who can look forward to many years of the tax-free growth provided by a Roth IRA.
You don’t have to convert all of your traditional IRA in one year. You can convert what you can afford to pay the tax on each year.
Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are required distributions from qualified retirement plans. RMDs are commonly associated with traditional IRAs, but they also apply to 401(k)s and SEP IRAs.The tax code does not allowtaxpayers to keep funds in their qualified retirement plans indefinitely. Eventually, assets must be distributed, and taxes must be paid on those distributions. If a retirement plan owner takes no distributions, or if the distributions are not large enough, he or she may have to pay a 50% penalty on the amount that is not distributed. (Note that distributions are not required to be taken from Roth IRAs while the account owner is alive.)
That is an important question because the actual money you have to spend when you retire depends upon the after-tax sources of your retirement income. Thus it is important to understand how the various retirement vehicles are taxed. There is significant diversity in taxation since a retiree must consider both Federal and state taxes on retirement income. Of all the states one might consider retiring to, there are eight that have no state income tax. These are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. However, to make up for no revenue from individual income taxes these states may be funded by other types of taxes, such as property taxes, sales taxes, or excise taxes.
Your 401(k), IRA or other retirement accounts may be a tempting source for cash if you find yourself short of funds or have a major purchase you are considering. But withdrawing money from a traditional IRA or qualified retirement account before you reach age 59 1/2 may not be the best idea, as you will likely pay both income tax and a 10% early-distribution tax (also referred to as a penalty) on any previously untaxed money that you take out.
Withdrawals you make from a SIMPLE IRA before age 59 1/2, and those you make during the 2-year rollover restriction period after establishing the SIMPLE IRA, may be subject to a 25% additional early-distribution tax instead of the normal 10%. The 2-year period is measured from the first day that contributions are deposited.
These penalties are just what you’d pay on your federal return; your state may also charge an early-withdrawal penalty in addition to the regular state income tax.
Thus, before making any withdrawals from a traditional IRA or other retirement plans, including a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plan, or a self-employed retirement plan, there are two things you should carefully consider: (1) you are taking funds, and their future appreciation, from your retirement savings which can impact your future retirement lifestyle. (2) You will be creating unnecessary taxes and penalties which will increase the amount you will need to withdraw to obtain your needed funds.
When Congress established tax-favored retirement plans, they allowed taxpayers to take a tax deduction for the amount of their allowable contribution to the plans. But they also included a requirement for a portion of the funds to be distributed each year and be subject to income tax. Such a distribution is referred to as a minimum required distribution (RMD).
There have been some recent tax law changes that have led to some confusion among taxpayers subject to the RMD requirement. Prior to 2020, the required starting age for RMDs was 70½. Thanks to the Secure Act passed by Congress in late December 2019, the age at which distributions have to begin was increased to age 72 starting in 2020.
RMDs Resume in 2021 – Since the suspension was for one year only, the RMD requirement resumes for 2021. Of course, the resumption applies to those that attained the age of 70½ in years before 2021, those who turned 72 in 2020 and those who turn 72 in 2021. Still Working Exception – If you participate in a qualified employer plan, generally you need to start taking RMDs by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 72. This is your required beginning date (RBD) for retirement distributions. However, if your plan includes the “still working exception,” your RMD is postponed to April 1 of the year following the year you retire. This delayed-until-retirement distribution provision does NOT apply to IRAs, so even though someone age 72 or older with an IRA is still working, and perhaps still contributing to the IRA, they are required to take a minimum distribution from the IRA each year.
As part of the CARES Act, the requirement for older taxpayers to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their retirement plans was waived for 2020. This primarily was due to the anticipated drop in value for most investments as a result of the economic effects of COVID-19, which actually did not materialize.
So, barring any extension of the 2020 moratorium by Congress, RMDs must be resumed for the 2021 tax year.
Advance planning can, in many cases, minimize or even avoid taxes on IRA distributions and other qualified plan distributions. When contemplating future retirement and when to begin tapping taxable IRA and other qualified retirement accounts, taxpayers need to consider a number of important issues.
Keeping your designated IRA beneficiary current is very important. You may not want your account going to your ex-spouse, and you certainly do not want a deceased individual to be your beneficiary.
What’s more, a periodic review of your named IRA beneficiaries is vital to ensure that your overall estate planning objectives will be achieved in light of changes in the performance of your IRAs and your personal, financial, and family situations. For example, if your spouse was named your beneficiary when you first opened the account several years ago and you’ve subsequently divorced, your ex-spouse will remain the beneficiary of your IRA unless you notify your IRA custodian to change the beneficiary designation.
The tax code offers two types of IRAs; one is referred to as the traditional individual retirement account (IRA), so named because it was the first type of IRA available, having been created by Congress back in the 1970s. The second type is the Roth IRA, established in 1997 and named after William Roth, who was a senator from Delaware. Which one is best for you?