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Reminder on first-time MRDs

Chris Farrell Mar 21, 2012

What’s an MRD, you ask? It stands for minimum required distribution. The reminder? Investors who turned 70 1/2 years old in 2011 should know that March 30, 2012, is the deadline for taking their first annual MRD from their IRAs and 401(k)s.  

According to a note I got from the mutual fund behemoth Fidelity, as of December, 48 percent of MRD-aged Fidelity IRA customers who turned 70 1/2 in 2011 had not yet taken the full required amount. Here’s the thing: Investors who do not withdraw their full MRDs by March 30 may get hit with a 50 percent tax penalty on the amount not withdrawn. Ouch.

To be clear, if you’re age 70 1/2 and older, you must take your MRD from your traditional IRAs and 401(k)s by Dec. 31 of each tax year. However, if you’re taking it for the first time, the deadline is extended until April 1 of the following year. Since it falls on a weekend this year, the deadline is March 30 for tax year 2011. Don’t forget.

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