If you miss the deadline — by a few days or a few months — don't panic. The IRS has been lenient about retirees who forget to take their RMD, said Maura Cassidy, vice president of retirement at Fidelity.
Do take yours for 2016 as soon as possible. Then file a Form 5329 with your tax return this year, Cassidy said.
"Attach a letter explaining why you missed taking it last year," she said. "Usually the IRS has waived the penalty."
Procrastinators should also start strategizing about ways to cut next year's tax bill, said certified public accountant Benjamin Tobias, president of Tobias Financial Advisors in Plantation, Florida. Even if the grace period has you taking your first RMD this spring, you'll still need to take your RMD for 2017 by Dec. 31 — and two in one year could make a big impact, he said.