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Key 2016 dates for retired Americans

Jan. 1

CLAIM SPOUSAL BENEFITS

Clients who are 62 or older by Jan. 1, 2016 retain the right to claim only spousal benefits when they file for Social Security at age 66 or later, allowing their own retirement benefit to grow up to age 70, assuming the other spouse has already filed for benefits. Under a new law, younger clients lose this valuable claiming option.

Jan. 15

PAY QUARTERLY FEDERAL TAXES

Many retirees pay their federal taxes quarterly. For those who file estimated taxes, the final payment for 2015 is due on Jan. 15. They can skip the final estimated payment if they file their 2015 federal tax return and pay the entire balance due by Feb. 1, 2016. Clients can reduce or eliminate their quarterly tax obligations by having income taxes withheld from their Social Security benefits, pensions and retirement plan distributions.

April 1

TAKE REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTION

Clients who turned 70 ½ in 2015 must take their first required minimum distribution from their IRA, 401(k) or other traditional retirement accounts by April 1, 2016. But if they wait until then, they will have to take a second distribution by Dec. 31, 2016, and by each Dec. 31 thereafter. The penalty for missing an RMD is 50% of the amount that was not withdrawn.

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