When is the most tax-efficient time to take my first RMD?

I will be 70 years old next July and will be doing my first required minimum distribution (RMD). I am confused about taking it in the year of reaching age 70.5 and paying tax on it in that calendar year. That would add to my regular tax burden when my other income is considered. Or should I take the RMD the following April, thereby delaying the tax due until the following year? When is the most tax-efficient time to take my first RMD?

Retirement, Taxes
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5 days ago

If you will be 70 in July 2019, then you will turn 70.5 in January 2020. Therefore, you will need to take your first RMD for the year 2020, but have until April 2021 to do so. If you will have significantly lower income in 2021, compared to 2020, then it may be advantageous to wait until 2021 to take the first RMD. If you expect no significant difference in income in each of these years, then it would be best to take the initial RMD in 2020 because you will still need to take another RMD in 2021 for the year 2021. Two RMDs taken in 2021 may be more tax punitive if all other income is unchanged. All RMDs, after the first year, must be taken during the calendar year to which they apply.

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