/IRS Causes Confusion and Pushback with Changes to Guidelines for Inherited IRAs

IRS Causes Confusion and Pushback with Changes to Guidelines for Inherited IRAs

Figuring out the most efficient way to navigate the tax impact of inheriting individual retirement accounts has become more complicated since the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed new rules in February.

The rules on inherited IRAs were most recently changed in the 2019 Secure Act, which introduced a new 10-year payout rule for inherited accounts. The previous rule said those who inherited an IRA, Roth IRA or 401(k) could spread out withdrawals over their lifetime.

Many tax professionals interpreted the new 10-year rule to mean that these heirs could wait until the 10th year before taking any payouts, and that is what the IRS said in a May 2021 revision to Publication 590-B, a 69-page guide to IRA distributions. But then, in February, the IRS issued new guidance that would require heirs to take annual withdrawals in cases where the original owner died on or after his required beginning date for taking distributions.

The annual distributions are based on a formula that takes into account the IRA balance and the age of the recipient. The new guidance also applies to 401(k)s, but with those plans, employers often already set even more restrictive payout rules.

Payouts from a traditional inherited IRA are taxed like wage income. The new guidance means that many Americans inheriting an account will inherit it during their working life, and will therefore pay a much larger tax bill, say accountants.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.