The option to defer starting your required minimum distribution (RMD) beyond age 70.5 is available only if the individual is not a 5% owner of the business. Five percent owners must begin RMDs by April 1 of the year following the year they reach age 70.5.
A 5% owner is defined as follows:

  1. If the employer is a corporation, any person who owns more than 5% of the outstanding stock of the corporation, or
  2. If the employer is not a corporation (unincorporated), any person who owns more than 5% of the capital or profits interest in the employer.

If you fall into either of the two categories, you are a 5% owner and should begin your RMD by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70.5.

To read more, check out Avoiding RMD Pitfalls.

Question answered by Denise Appleby, CISP, CRC, CRPS, CRSP, APA

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