The size of required beginning distributions is governed by tables published by the IRS that are based on estimated life expectancies.

  • Uniform Lifetime Table – Used by most taxpayers. It provides a figure representing the anticipated distribution period.
  • Joint Life and Last Survivor Expectancy – If a spouse is the sole beneficiary of an IRA and the spouse is more than 10 years younger than the account holder then this table is used. It reflects the joint life expectancy of the couple.
  • Calculating Required Minimum Distribution – The account balance is divided by the distribution period figure (as obtained from one of the two above tables).
    • Account Balance - As of December 31 of the preceding year.
    • Age – As of the end of the calendar year for which the distribution is being made.
    • For example, the RMD for the year 2013 would be based on the individual's age as of Dec. 31, 2013, and the account balance of Dec. 31, 2012.

RMD = Account balance as of December 31 of preceding year
Distribution period (as determined by relevant table)

The balance for a given year's distribution is the balance as of December 31 of the preceding year, while the age is as of the end of that calendar year. So for the 2006 distribution, the account balance is divided by the distribution period for the taxpayer's age as of Dec. 31, 2006.

Beneficiary Considerations or Stretch IRAs

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