How Are RMDs Calculated?
RMDs are generally calculated by dividing your traditional IRA or
retirement plan account balance by a life expectancy factor specified in IRS
tables listed in Publication 590-B. Your account balance is usually calculated as of December 31 of the
year preceding the calendar year for which the distribution is required to be
You have a traditional IRA, and you will reach age 72 in 2022. Your first RMD must be taken no later than April 1, 2023. In
calculating this RMD, you must use the total value of your IRA as of December
When calculating the RMD amount for your second distribution
year (in this example, 2023), you base the calculation on the IRA or plan balance as of December 31 of
the first distribution year (the year you reached age 72 — in this example, 2022) regardless of
whether or not you waited until April 1 of the following year to take your
first required distribution.
For most taxpayers, calculating RMDs is straightforward. For
each calendar year, simply divide your account balance as of December 31 of the
prior year by your distribution period, determined under the Uniform
Lifetime Table using your attained age in that calendar year. This life
expectancy table is based on the assumption that you have designated a
beneficiary who is exactly 10 years younger than you are. Every IRA owner's and
plan participant's calculation is based on the same assumption.
There is one exception to the procedure described above —
the younger spouse rule. If your sole designated beneficiary is your spouse,
and he or she is more than 10 years younger than you, the calculation of your
RMDs may be based on the longer joint and survivor life expectancy of you and
your spouse. Consequently, if your spouse is your designated beneficiary and is more
than 10 years younger than you, you can take your RMDs over a longer payout
period than under the Uniform Lifetime Table. If your beneficiary is not your
spouse, or a spouse who is not more than 10 years younger than you, then you
must use the shorter payout period specified in the Uniform Lifetime Table (see below).
|Uniform Lifetime Table
For use by:
- Unmarried owners
- Married owner whose spouse is not more than 10 years
- Married owner whose spouse is not the sole
|Age||Distribution period||Age||Distribution period||Age||Distribution period|
In order for the younger spouse rule to apply, your spouse must be your sole beneficiary for the entire distribution year. Your spouse will be considered your sole beneficiary for the entire year if he or she is your sole beneficiary on January 1 of the year, and you don't change your beneficiary during the year. In other words, even if your spouse dies, or you get divorced after January 1, you can use the younger spouse rule for that distribution year (but not for distribution years that follow). In the case of divorce, however, if you designate a new beneficiary prior to the end of the distribution year, you cannot use the younger spouse rule (since your former spouse will not be considered your sole beneficiary for the entire year).
If you have multiple IRAs, an RMD is calculated separately for each IRA. However, you can withdraw the required amount from any one or more IRAs. Inherited IRAs are not included with your own for this purpose. [Similar rules apply to Section 403(b) accounts.] If you participate in more than one employer retirement plan, your RMD is calculated separately for each plan and must be paid from that plan.