You recently wrote about having your IRA custodian send a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to a charity from your IRA. I tried to do this through the New York State TIAA Supplemental 403(b) for New York State workers. I was told it's not possible through TIAA.

QCDs can only be made from individual retirement accounts, and the TIAA 403(b) isn't an IRA. It's an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

As I explained last week, a QCD counts toward your required minimum distribution from a retirement account, but isn’t taxable.

Tax law doesn’t allow QCDs from employer-sponsored plans like 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, or from a SEP and SIMPLE IRA plan if its sponsoring employer contributes to the plan in the year the QCD is made.

But when you leave a job, you can move your savings from your former employer's plan to an IRA.

I turn 72 this year and have begun taking RMDs from my IRA. I'm still working and my new employer has a 401(k) plan. Can I postpone taking RMDs from this plan until I stop working for the company?

Yes. Provided you don't own 5% or more of the company, you can postpone RMDs from the tax-deferred portion of this plan until you stop working there.

But if the 401(k) plan includes a designated Roth account, you must take RMDs from the Roth. (They aren't taxable if you've owned the Roth portion of your workplace plan for five years. But there's a penalty for not taking them.) If you've owned it less than five years, its earnings are taxable on a pro rata basis: If 10% of your Roth balance in the plan represents earnings, 10% of the Roth RMD is taxable.

The bottom line

The tax rules governing a retirement account depend on the type of account it is.

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