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How to Calculate Lifetime Minimum Required Distributions From Your Individual Retirement Account(s)

Robert J. Schwab

October 15, 2015

If you are the owner of one or more Individual Retirement Accounts, you must begin receiving Minimum Required Distributions from the aggregate of your Accounts after you attain age 70½. You must receive your first Minimum Required Distribution on or before April 1 of the calendar year following the year in which you attained age 70½. Subsequent Minimum Required Distributions must be received from the aggregated Accounts on or before December 31 of each calendar year following the year you attained age 70½.

The year in which you attain age 70½ is your first distribution year. To calculate your first Minimum Required Distribution divide the balance of each of your Individual Retirement Accounts as of the end of the calendar year immediately preceding your first distribution year by the factor for your age in the applicable IRS Table described below. Your age for the first distribution will be 70 if your birthday is before July 1 and 71 if your birthday is after June 30 in your first distribution year.

The Minimum Required Distribution for your second distribution year and all subsequent years is determined by dividing the balance of each of your Individual Retirement Accounts as of December 31 of the year immediately preceding the distribution year by the factor from the applicable IRS Table for your age as of the end of the distribution year.

Generally, you should plan to receive your first Minimum Required Distribution in your first distribution year in order to avoid having to receive two Minimum Required Distributions in the year following the year you attained age 70½.

Although a Minimum Required Distribution amount must be calculated separately for each of your Individual Retirement Accounts, you can receive the total of the separately calculated Minimum Required Distribution amounts from any combination of your Individual Retirement Accounts.

The Uniform Lifetime Table, which can be found at Treasury Regulation §1.401(a)(9)-9, A‑2 and Table III of IRS Publication 590‑B, will normally be used to calculate your lifetime Minimum Required Distributions. However, if the sole beneficiary of your Individual Retirement Accounts is your more-than-ten-years younger spouse, you must use the Joint and Last Survivor Table found at Treasury Regulation §1.401(a)(9)‑9, A‑3 and Table II of IRS Publication 590‑B to calculate your lifetime Minimum Required Distributions.

The Uniform Lifetime Table and a helpful IRS worksheet for the calculation of your lifetime Minimum Required Distributions can also be found at here.


If you have any questions about how the information in this article may affect you or your business, please contact Bob Schwab at rschwab@stroudlaw.com or (608) 257‑2281 or your Stroud attorney.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is provided for general informational purposes only, is not necessarily updated to account for changes in the law, and should not be considered tax or legal advice. This article is not intended to create, nor does the receipt of it constitute, an attorney‑client relationship. You should consult with your own legal and/or financial advisors for legal and tax advice tailored to your specific circumstances.