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Prepare For A Sweeping New Law On Retirement Account Taxes

A sweeping new law changing retirement investing tax rules was passed by the House of Representatives on May 29th. It's expected to be passed by the Senate and has the support of President Donald J. Trump. Although the legislation may not be signed into law until late this year, individuals with retirement accounts should consider how its enactment will affect them and their beneficiaries. Here's what you need to know now:

Secure Act Misnomer. The legislation is referred to as the Secure Act. Often buried or unmentioned in coverage is the full name of the legislation, "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019."

Kills Stretch IRAs. A popular strategy for stretching tax deferral would be eliminated by the proposed law. The legislation’s sweeping changes would kill stretch IRAs and represents a move to higher taxes on IRA beneficiaries. Non-spouse beneficiaries of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) would no longer be permitted to defer taxes on payouts of inherited IRA over their expected lifetime after 2019. Under current rules, you could leave an IRA to your children and your heirs who can take distributions from that IRA based on their life expectancy. This allows those inheriting IRAs to stretch deferral of taxes over many decades, and the IRA account compounds without being taxed in this period. Under the proposed change, heirs would be required to distribute an inherited IRA over 10 years.

Exceptions. The proposal carves out an exception for minors — 18 or 21 in most states — until they reach the age of majority, and then they would be required to distribute the assets in the IRA over 10 years. A surviving spouse, those who are chronically ill or disabled are among those not affected by the new 10-year payout rule.

Beginning Date Of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). The new law would push back the age at which you must begin withdrawing money from an IRA. Under current law, you are required to begin taking distributions on the 1st of April following the year you turn age 70½. Under this new statute, that's going to be pushed back to age 72.

Stay Tuned. Waiting till the legislation is signed into law may not leave enough time to adjust your plans and minimize taxes for yourself and loved ones, and the legislation makes changes so sweeping and so new that its effects on long-term financial plans are still being researched. Please watch this space to learn details about ways to shield yourself and your beneficiaries from higher taxes on IRA payouts in the weeks ahead. Tax panning requires a qualified tax professional and personal attention. This is an early warning about an important issue affecting strategic long-term tax planning and not intended as tax or legal advice.


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This article was written by a professional financial journalist for Blattel & Associates and is not intended as legal or investment advice.

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