2020 has been a big year for tax law changes. The SECURE Act is the most significant retirement reform law in at least a decade. The CARES Act provided tax breaks designed to help ease the economic burden of the Coronavirus and related shutdowns. These are just a few of the many changes affecting individuals this year:

  • The SECURE Act raised the required minimum distribution requirement (RMD) for traditional IRAs from 70½ to 72 for anyone turning 72 in 2020 or later. Then, the CARES Act suspended RMDs for 2020 without penalty.
  • Traditional IRA owners can now continue to make contributions past the age of 70½.
  • If you were impacted financially by COVID you can take higher than normal distributions from your retirement account this year — up to $100,000 — without penalties. You have three years during which you can pay the income taxes on the distribution or repay the money to the plan. Plan loan repayments are also delayed for one year.
  • Early withdrawal penalties on IRAs and 401(k) distributions of up to $5,000 are also waived for households with a new baby, including adoptions. Income tax is still due.
  • Effective in 2020, non-spousal heirs can no longer stretch IRA distributions over their lifetimes. Instead, funds must be distributed within ten years of the original owners’ death. (Some exceptions apply.)
  • The CARES Act suspended the limit on deductions for cash donations by people who itemize (gifts to donor-advised funds and private nonoperating foundations are excluded). A new “above-the-line” deduction for cash donations of up to $300 is available for nonitemizers.

As we head into the final quarter of 2020, now’s the time to schedule a year-end tax review. Some of these tax opportunities expire at year-end.

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