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Help! I'm having trouble understanding exactly when I must make a required IRA withdrawal. Publication 590 (2009) states "You must receive at least a minimum amount for each year starting with the year you reach age 70 1/2. If you do not receive that minimum amount in your 70 1/2 year, then you must receive distributions for your 70 1/2 year by April 1 of the next year".

Must I take the withdrawal in the year I turn 70 1/2 or do I have a choice of starting the withdrawal in the year I turn 70 1/2 or waiting until April of the following year?

If there is a choice of which year to take the rmd, what are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach?
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