The IRS has modified two safe harbor explanations in Notice 2018-74, 2018-40 I.R.B. 529, that can be used to satisfy the requirement under Code Sec. 402(f) that certain information be provided to recipients of eligible rollover distributions. The modifications were necessary due to recent changes in law made by the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act). One safe harbor explanation is for payments not from a designated Roth account, and the other is for payments from a designated Roth account. The Code Sec. 402(f) notice may be provided as many as 180 days before the date on which the distribution is made (or the annuity starting date).
Qualified Birth and Adoption Distributions
Code Sec. 72(t)(1) generally provides for a 10-percent additional tax on a distribution from a qualified retirement plan, unless the distribution qualifies for an exception. The SECURE Act permits an individual to receive up to $5,000 for a qualified birth or adoption distribution from an applicable eligible retirement plan without being subject to the 10 percent additional tax. A qualified birth or adoption distribution is any distribution from an applicable eligible retirement plan to an individual if made during the 1-year period beginning on the date on which the child of the individual is born or on which the legal adoption by the individual of an eligible adoptee is finalized.
Additionally, an individual may recontribute a qualified birth or adoption distribution (not to exceed the amount of the distribution) to an eligible retirement plan in which the taxpayer is a beneficiary and to which a rollover can be made. Although the distributions may be recontributed, a plan administrator is not required to provide a Code Sec. 402(f) notice to a recipient of a qualified birth or adoption distribution.
Required Minimum Distributions
The SECURE Act also amended Code Sec. 401(a)(9) to change the required beginning date for minimum distributions from retirement plans. The new required beginning date for an employee or an IRA owner is April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the individual attains age 72, rather than April 1 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the individual attains age 70-1/2. This is effective for distributions required to be made after December 31, 2019, with respect to individuals who will attain age 70-1/2 after that date. As a result of this change, employees and IRA owners who will attain age 70-1/2 in 2020 will not have a required beginning date of April 1, 2021.
To assist with the implementation of the modified safe harbor explanations, the IRS has released two model safe harbor explanations: one for distributions that are not from a designated Roth account, and the other for distributions from a designated Roth account. Both explanations should be provided to a participant if the participant is eligible to receive eligible rollover distributions from both a designated Roth account and an account other than a designated Roth account. A plan administrator or payor may customize a safe harbor explanation by omitting any information that does not apply to the plan. Alternatively, a plan administrator or payor may provide an explanation that is different from a safe harbor explanation. Any explanation must include the information required by Code Sec. 402(f) and must be written in a manner designed to be easily understood.