Stretch IRA Rules May Change

  October 18, 2019

Rules surrounding the distribution of funds from an Inherited IRA may change due to new rules being imposed. Those most affected by the new rules are retirees with generous IRA balances intending to leave funds to their children and grandchildren. Known also as Stretch IRAs, which have allowed IRA beneficiaries to stretch distributions and taxes over an extended period of time.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have drafted their own versions of the new rules. The House has named the legislation the Secure Act, which stands for the Setting Every Community Up For Retirement Enhancement Act. Both versions essentially accelerate the distribution and taxation of Inherited IRA funds going to non spouses.

A current rule that will remain the same is allowing a spouse to rollover their deceased spouse’s IRA to a spousal IRA and take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) based on their life expectancy. Inherited IRA rules will be modified by the newly imposed rules, affecting non spousal beneficiaries such as children and grandchildren, the most common types of inherited IRA beneficiaries.

For years, legislation has allowed inherited IRA beneficiaries to distribute funds over the course of decades based on the beneficiary’s life expectancy. Revised legislation will require inherited IRAs to be distributed entirely within 10 years. The distribution could be taken as intervals, at the end of the period, or whenever desired, as long as the entire account is disbursed within 10 years. Both versions do allow distribution exceptions for minor children, disabled beneficiaries, and beneficiaries not more than 10 years younger than the deceased IRA owner.

A challenge for inherited IRA beneficiaries is the tax implication of accelerated distributions over a much shorter time period. Some beneficiaries may also run the risk of falling into a higher tax bracket especially if they are working.

The Senate version allows for a stretch on the first $400,000 of IRA assets with the exceeding balance distributed within 5 years. Both versions would apply to inherited IRAs with the original owner’s death occurring after December 31, 2019.

Sources: https://waysandmeans.house.gov/sites/democrats.waysandmeans.house.gov/files/documents/SECURE%20Act%20section%20by%20section and prepared by One Blue Window

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