The minimum distribution of an IRA is the amount that must be withdrawn yearly from the IRA account, according to the Internal Revenue Service website. Account owners must typically begin withdrawing from their accounts once they reach the age of 70 1/2, whether they are retired or not.
Once account owners reach age 70 1/2, they must typically begin withdrawing the required minimum distribution amount from their IRA account, which is calculated based on the previous year's account balance divided by a distribution period, as stated on the IRS website. The distribution period can be found on the "Uniform Lifetime Table" provided by the IRS. The site also offers worksheets that account holders can use to calculate their required minimum distribution amount.