The IRS announced that final regulations related to required minimum distributions (RMDs) under Code Sec. 401(a)(9) will apply no earlier than the 2025 distribution calendar year. In addition, the IRS has provided transition relief for 2024 for certain distributions made to designated beneficiaries under the 10-year rule. The transition relief extends similar relief granted in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

SECURE Act Changes

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) (P.L. 116-94) changed the RMD rules for employees and IRA owners who died after December 31, 2019. Under Code Sec. 401(a)(9)(H)(i), if an employee in a defined contribution plan or IRA owner has a designated beneficiary, the 5-year distribution period has been lengthened to 10 years, and the 10-year rule applies regardless of whether the employee dies before the required beginning date. Proposed regulations would interpret the 10-year rule to require the beneficiary of an employee who died after his required beginning date to continue to take an annual RMD beginning in the first calendar year after the employee’s death. This aspect of the 10-year rule differs from the 5-year rule, which required no RMD until the end of the 5-year period. Thus, the IRS provided transition relief for 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Guidance for Specified RMDs for 2024

Under the transition guidance, a defined contribution plan will not be treated as having failed to satisfyCode Sec. 401(a)(9) for failing to make an RMD in 2024 that would have been required under the proposed regulations. The relief also applies to an individual who would have been liable for an excise tax under Code Sec. 4974. The guidance applies to any distribution that, under the interpretation included in the proposed regulations, would be required to be made under Code Sec. 401(a)(9) in 2024 under a defined contribution plan or IRA that is subject to the rules of Code Sec. 401(a)(9)(H) for the year in which the employee (or designated beneficiary) died if that payment would be required to be made to:

  • a designated beneficiary of an employee or IRA owner under the plan if the employee or IRA owner died in 2020, 2021, 2022 or 2023, and on or after the employee’s (or IRA owner’s) required beginning date and the designated beneficiary is not using the lifetime or life expectancy payments exception under Code Sec. 401(a)(9)(B)(iii); or
  • a beneficiary of an eligible designated beneficiary if the eligible designated beneficiary died in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023, and that eligible designated beneficiary was using the lifetime or life expectancy payments exception under Code Sec. 401(a)(9)(B)(iii).

Applicability Date of Final Regulations

The IRS has announced that final regulations regarding RMDs under Code Sec. 401(a)(9) and related provisions are anticipated to apply for determining RMDs for calendar years beginning on or after January 1, 2025.

Notice 2024-35