Thrift Savings Plan: COVID-19 Updates and RMD Changes

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    Ven Suresh

    COVID-19 Updates: RMD Changes


    The COVID-19 pandemic caused a steep and sudden decline in the stock markets and put a severe strain on many household budgets. As authorized by the recently enacted CARES Act, we’re making temporary changes related to required minimum distributions (RMDs) to give your account balance time to recover.

    The actions we’re announcing here have the following effects:

    You do not need to make any withdrawals from your TSP account in 2020 to satisfy an RMD, regardless of your age or employment status.
    We will not send any automatic RMD payments for 2020.
    If you make a withdrawal, we will withhold for federal taxes at the rate appropriate for the type of withdrawal you make, without regard to RMD rules that would otherwise apply. You can transfer or roll over to an IRA or eligible employer plan any otherwise eligible withdrawals you make. (See the TSP tax notice Important Tax Information About Payments From Your TSP AccountPDF file for more information about eligible rollover distributions.)

    Questions and Answers About RMD Changes

    Q: Will my installment payments get stopped automatically? If they don’t and I want to stop them, how do I do that?
    Answer: The temporary waiver of RMDs does not stop installment payments you have elected to take, even if you only chose to take them to meet your RMD. If you want to stop receiving payments, you must log in to My Account on and select Withdrawals and Changes to Installment Payments.

    Q: If I took a withdrawal less than 60 days ago, will I be able to use the TSP-60 form to roll over that distribution back into TSP using a personal check, even if it was a required minimum distribution?
    Answer: Yes, you can use the TSP-60 form to roll over that distribution back into the TSP using a personal check.

    Q: What if I’ve already received a required minimum distribution in 2020 and it was more than 60 days ago? Can the TSP extend the 60-day deadline for rollovers?
    Answer: The authority to extend the 60-day deadline belongs to the IRS. When a law similar to the CARES Act went into effect in 2009, the IRS created an extended period in which people could roll over that money into an IRA or eligible employer plan. If the IRS does the same for the CARES Act, we will provide updates about it here.

    Q: What does the TSP intend to do with the automatic RMD payments that were scheduled to occur either before the end of December 2020 (for separated participants who reached the age of 70½ before the end of 2019) or before the end of March 2021 (for participants whose first RMD year is 2020)?
    Answer: We will not be making those payments, which are normally sent automatically before the deadline.

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