You've written that some people who inherited an IRA in 2020 or later from a person to whom they weren't married must take annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) from the account in addition to emptying it within 10 years.

What if you didn't take those RMDs because you didn't know the rules?

The usual penalty for failure to take an RMD is 50% of the amount you didn’t withdraw. But good news: The Internal Revenue Service says it won't penalize beneficiaries for failing to take 2021 or 2022 RMDs from individual retirement accounts inherited from a nonspouse in 2020 or later.

If you've already paid a penalty for missing a 2021 RMD from an inherited account, you can request a refund.

When you inherit an IRA, the rules depend on your age and your relationship with its original owner.

Adults who inherit from a nonspouse must empty the account within 10 years of the original owner’s death. That’s simple enough. But there’s fine print: If the original owner was required to take RMDs from the account, you must also take annual RMDs in years 1 through 9. If the decedent wasn't yet subject to annual RMDs, neither are you. In either case, you must empty the account by the end of year 10. (Was the original IRA owner subject to RMDs? Yes, if he or she died on or after April 1 of the year after the year in which he or she turned 72.)

Please note: None of the above applies to beneficiaries who are surviving spouses; disabled individuals; chronically ill individuals; the account owner’s minor children; beneficiaries not more than 10 years younger than the account owner (for example, siblings); or to anyone who inherited an IRA before 2020.

The bottom line

Don't assume you know the rules for your inherited IRA. Double-check!

More information

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