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defined benefit plan

A Possible Solution to the “Mega IRA” Restrictions

By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst
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The Build Back Better Act of 2021, recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, includes a number of retirement plan provisions.  They were summarized in the September 22, 2021 Slott Report.

How Do RMDs Work in DB Plans?

Rules governing defined benefit (DB) plans are typically more complicated than defined contribution (DC) plan rules. But required minimum distributions (RMDs) are one area where the DB plan requirements are easier to understand. If you’re in a DB plan, your benefit payments must begin no later than your “required beginning date” (RBD) – just like with IRA distributions or DC plan benefits. Your RBD is generally the April 1 following the year you reach age 72. However, if your DB plan allows the “still-working exception,” you can delay your RBD until you retire.

How Are DB Plan Benefits Taxed?

Most of us have a pretty good understanding of how IRA and 401(k) plan benefits are taxed. But the taxation rules for defined benefit (DB) plans are less familiar, probably because there are fewer DB plans out there these days. DB plans usually offer several types of annuity distribution options, but most do not offer a lump sum distribution option. Under the tax code, only “eligible rollover distributions” can be rolled over to an IRA or another company plan. Annuity payments do not qualify (unless payments are scheduled over a period of fewer than ten years). So, benefits payable from DB plans are typically fully taxable in the year received and cannot be rolled over.


Fewer and fewer workers are participating in defined benefit pension (DB) plans these days. The high cost of maintaining those plans has led many employers to terminate existing plans and dissuaded many others from setting up new plans in the first place. But there are still many DB plans out there, and it’s important to know that they operate very differently from defined contribution (DC) plans, like 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans. Here are eight important differences:


As a result of the current economic downturn, we can expect more and more companies to offer lump sum buyouts to employees with defined benefit (DB) plan benefits. A lump sum buyout is a limited opportunity for DB plan participants to elect one lump sum distribution in exchange for giving up future periodic payments. The decision of whether to accept a lump sum buyout is a difficult and important one. Because the stakes are so high, it is crucial that you consult with a financial advisor before making a final decision. Here are several factors that you and your advisor should consider:

A Retirement Planning Provision Hidden in a Trade Bill

What does a trade bill have to do with retirement accounts? Well, buried deep inside one of the bills was a provision expanding the “Age 50 Exception” to the 10% early distribution penalty, beginning in 2016. Here's what you need to know.

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