SECURE Act of 2019 Important Tax Law Changes

In the last few weeks of December, last minute shoppers were not the only ones busy. On December 20, 2019 the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act was signed into law. 

This last minute tax act had some significant changes regarding retirement funding.  There were also changes that will affect distributions requirements from our own retirement accounts as well as retirement accounts you may inherit from others.  Finally, there were some other small tax changes. 

The most notable changes are as follows:

  • Delayed the age at which taxpayers are forced to begin withdrawing funds from their IRA and other deferred tax accounts. Previously, taxpayers were required to begin taking distributions at age 70 ½; the SECURE Act has increased the age to 72 for those obtaining age 70 ½ after 12/31/19. 


  • Removed the age limit regarding IRA contributions. Previously, taxpayers over age 70 ½ were prohibited from making contributions to their Traditional IRAs.  Taxpayers of any age can now continue to make contributions to their IRA accounts if they have earned income.


  • Decreased the period in which inherited retirement plan assets must be withdrawn for non-spouse beneficiaries. If a non-spouse inherits a retirement account after 01/01/2020, they can no longer elect to stretch the withdrawals out over their remaining lifespan. Instead, the accounts must be fully distributed to the beneficiary within 10 years.


  • Changed the tax rate on certain unearned income of children (“kiddie tax”).  The TCJA provisions applied the estates and trusts tax rate on such income; however, the SECURE Act has reverted to prior use of the parents’ tax rate.


  • Resurrected almost all of the previously expired “tax extenders,” making them retroactively effective for 2018 and extending them through the end of 2020. Such extenders include:
    • Reduction of the limitation for deductible qualified medical expenses to 7.5% of adjusted gross income (AGI).
    • Reinstatement of the above-the-line deduction for qualifying post high school tuition and fees.
    • Restoration of the treatment of mortgage insurance premiums as qualified residence interest (other limits still apply).


As with all tax legislation, the SECURE Act brings both positives and negatives. The one thing that is certain is that all of these changes require proactive planning.  Please contact us today to discuss your personal situation.