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

Yes, you have the choice.

One advantage of waiting 'till next April is that the money continues to grow (hopefully) tax deferred for a few more months. One disadvantage of waiting is that you will need to take a second RMD that year because the one in April was for the preceding year. The second withdrawal may push you into a higher tax bracket.
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