Minimum IRA Distribution Calculation

The min­i­mum IRA dis­tri­b­u­tion cal­cu­la­tion is dif­fer­ent for these dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances:

  • If you are the IRA own­er
  • If you are a non-spouse IRA ben­e­fi­cia­ry
  • If you are the spouse of the ben­e­fi­cia­ry and if
    • the deceased had reached age 70 12 and had start­ed tak­ing dis­tri­b­u­tions
    • the deceased had reached not yet reached age 70 12

Here is the min­i­mum IRA dis­tri­b­u­tion cal­cu­la­tion for each case and then we pro­vide a link to specifics.

Minimum IRA Distribution Calculation for IRA Owners

The IRA own­er must take the first dis­tri­b­u­tion in the year he reach­es age 70 12.  The cal­cu­la­tion is as fol­lows

  1. Get the pri­or-year Decem­ber 31 bal­ances of all of your retire­ment accounts
  2. Add up all bal­ances from IRA accounts of sim­i­lar type (for exam­ple, you can­not com­bine a con­trib­u­to­ry IRA and a SEP IRA and do one cal­cu­la­tion based on the total val­ue.  You need to do a cal­cu­la­tion and take a sep­a­rate dis­tri­b­u­tion for each type of retire­ment plan- — IRA, SEP IRA, 401k, etc).
  3. Open up a copy of IRS pub­li­ca­tion 590‑B and flip to the appen­dices
  4.  Use the work­sheet IRS pro­vides there

To use the work­sheet, you will divide the bal­ance from step 2 above by a num­ber that you get from one of three required min­i­mum dis­tri­b­u­tion tables. These tables are also in the appen­dix of pub­li­ca­tion 590‑B. There is a table for each of these 3 pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tions:

  • IRA own­er who is sin­gle or has a spouse not more than 10 years younger
  • IRA own­er who  has a spouse 10 or more years younger
  • A non-spouse ben­e­fi­cia­ry of the deceased IRA own­er

Minimum IRA Distribution Calculation for Spouses

Why is there no table for spous­es?  Because the min­i­mum IRA dis­tri­b­u­tion cal­cu­la­tion for the spouse depends on some con­di­tions and choic­es made by the spouse. Depend­ing on the mix of con­di­tions and choic­es, the spouse will use the same table as the deceased. We explain this in detail in our post on IRA Dis­tri­b­u­tion Cal­cu­la­tion for Spous­es.

Minimum IRA Distribution Calculation for Non-Spouse Beneficiaries

If you are a non-spouse ben­e­fi­cia­ry of an IRA whose own­er is deceased, you must take dis­tri­b­u­tions from the IRA every year — even if you are just a year old! The min­i­mum IRA dis­tri­b­u­tion cal­cu­la­tion is quite sim­ple:

  1. get the IRA bal­ance from Decem­ber 31 of the pri­or year
  2. Use the table labeled “Sin­gle Life Expectan­cy.” Look up your age and find your life expectan­cy
  3. divide the IRA bal­ance from step 1 by the life expectan­cy from step 2
  4. repeat this each year by sub­tract­ing “1” from the life expectan­cy in step 3