Dear Harry: In the process of working on my tax return, I came across what might be a big problem. At the beginning of 2008, I received a notice from the custodian of my IRA that I had to withdraw $39,000 as a required minimum distribution. I just filed the letter away and never looked at it again until now. I withdrew $34,500, which I calculated with my neighbor who is a bank employee. As soon as I saw the discrepancy, I called my friend again, and he recalculated the RMD with the same result. To make sure, I had my son calculate it independently. Again, the same $34,500. I called the mutual-fund company and got nowhere. Will this cause an IRA investigation of my return? I am now certain that the company somehow goofed. My wife keeps insisting that I check with you.

What Harry says: The notice you received at the beginning of the year is not sent to the IRS. As a result, the discrepancy will not trigger an IRS question. As long as you feel certain you're right, you're on safe ground. *

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