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  • Thomas Schorn

Retirement Investors Get Another Boost from Washington

Amid the 1,650-page, $1.7 trillion omnibus spending legislation passed by Congress in late December and signed by President Biden were several provisions affecting work-sponsored retirement plans and, to a lesser degree, IRAs. Dubbed the SECURE 2.0 Act of 2022 after the similarly sweeping Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act passed in 2019, the legislation is designed to improve the current and future state of retiree income in the United States.


What You Need to Know

The following is a summary of some of the most notable initiatives. All provisions take effect in 2024 unless otherwise noted.

  • Later age for required minimum distributions (RMDs). The 2019 SECURE Act raised the age at which retirement savers must begin taking distributions from their traditional IRAs and most work-based retirement savings plans to 72. SECURE 2.0 raises that age again to 73 beginning in 2023 and 75 in 2033.

  • Reduction in the RMD excise tax. Current law requires those who fail to take their full RMD by the deadline to pay a tax of 50% of the amount not taken. The new law reduces that tax amount to 25% in 2023; the tax is further reduced to 10% if account holders take the full required amount and report the tax by the end of the second year after it was due and before the IRS demands payment.

  • No RMDs from Roth 401(k) accounts. Bringing Roth 401(k)s and similar employer plans in line with Roth IRAs, the legislation eliminates the requirement for savers to take minimum distributions from their work-based plan Roth accounts.

  • Higher limits and looser restrictions on qualified charitable distributions from IRAs. The amount currently eligible for a qualified charitable distribution from an IRA ($100,000) will be indexed for inflation. In addition, beginning in 2023, investors will be able to make a one-time charitable distribution of up to $50,000 from an IRA to a charitable remainder annuity trust, charitable remainder unitrust, or charitable gift annuity.1

  • Higher catch-up contributions. The IRA catch-up contribution limit will be indexed annually for inflation, similar to work-sponsored catch-up contributions. Also, starting in 2025, people age 60 to 63 will be able to contribute an additional minimum of $10,000 for 401(k) and similar plans (and at least $5,000 extra for SIMPLE plans) each year to their work-based retirement plans. Moreover, beginning in 2024, all catch-up contributions for those making more than $145,000 will be after-tax (Roth contributions).

  • Roth matching contributions. The new law permits employer matches to be made to Roth accounts. Currently, employer matches must go into an employee's pre-tax account. This provision takes effect immediately; however, employers may need to amend their plans to include this feature.

  • 529 rollovers to Roth IRAs. People can directly roll over to a total of $35,000 from 529 plan accounts to Roth IRAs for the same beneficiary, provided the 529 accounts have been held for at least 15 years. Annually, the rollover amounts would be subject to Roth IRA contribution limits.2

  • New exceptions to the 10% early-withdrawal penalty. Distributions from retirement savings accounts are generally subject to ordinary income tax. Moreover, distributions before age 59½ also are subject to an early-withdrawal penalty of 10% unless an exception applies. The law provides several new exceptions to the early-withdrawal penalty, including an emergency personal expense, terminal illness, domestic abuse, to pay long-term care insurance premiums, and recovery from a federally declared disaster. Amounts, rules, and effective dates differ for each circumstance.

These provisions represent just a sampling of the many changes that will be brought about by SECURE 2.0.


(1) Remember that not all charitable organizations can use all possible gifts. It is prudent to check first. The type of organization you select can also affect the tax benefits you receive.

(2) As with other investments, there are generally fees and expenses associated with participation in a 529 savings plan. There is also the risk that the investments may lose money or not perform well enough to cover college costs as anticipated. Investment earnings accumulate on a tax-deferred basis, and withdrawals are tax-free as long as they are used for qualified education expenses. For withdrawals not used for qualified education expenses, earnings may be subject to taxation as ordinary income and possibly a 10% tax penalty. The tax implications of a 529 savings plan should be discussed with us because they can vary significantly from state to state. Also, most states offer 529 plans, which may provide advantages and benefits exclusively for their residents and taxpayers. These other state benefits may include financial aid, scholarship funds, and protection from creditors. Before investing in a 529 savings plan, please carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. The official disclosure statements and applicable prospectuses contain this and other information about the investment options, underlying investments, and investment company - which can be obtained by contacting your financial professional or us. You should read these materials carefully before investing.

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