After the owner of an IRA or qualifi ed retirement plan reaches age 70½, annual distributions from the account are required. This “minimum required distribution” (MRD) is a fraction of the account balance based on the owner’s remaining life expectancy. A penalty applies to the extent the owner does not withdraw the MRD. Legislation in 2008 suspended most MRDs for 2009, with the exception that fi rst-time MRDs for owners who turned 70½ in 2008 but deferred their fi rst MRD until 2009 will still be required. This should help accounts regain value after recent stock market declines.