When Must I Withdraw IRA Assets? (Required Distributions)
You cannot keep funds in your traditional IRA indefinitely. Eventually they must be distributed. If there are no distributions, or if
the distributions are not large enough, you may have to pay a 50% excise tax on the amount not distributed as required. See Excess Accumulations
(Insufficient Distributions), later. The requirements for distributing IRA funds differ depending on whether you are the IRA owner or the
beneficiary of a decedent's IRA.
Required distributions not eligible for rollover.
Amounts that must be distributed (required distributions) during a particular year are not eligible for rollover treatment.
If you are the owner of a traditional IRA, you must start receiving distributions from your IRA by April 1 of the year following the year in which
you reach age 70½. April 1 of the year following the year in which you reach age 701/2 is referred to as the required
Distributions by the required beginning date.
You must receive at least a minimum amount for each year starting with the year you reach age 70½ (your 701/2 year). If
you do not (or did not) receive that minimum amount in your 70½ year, then you must receive distributions for your 701/2
year by April 1 of the next year. If an IRA owner dies after reaching age 70½, but before April 1 of the next year, no minimum
distribution is required because death occurred before the required beginning date.
Even if you begin receiving distributions before you attain age 70½, you must begin calculating and receiving required minimum
distributions by your required beginning date.
Distributions after the required beginning date.
The required minimum distribution for any year after your 70½ year must be made by December 31 of that later year.
If you are the beneficiary of a decedent's traditional IRA, the requirements for distributions from that IRA depend on whether distributions that
satisfy the minimum distributions requirement have begun.
For more information, including how to figure your minimum required distribution each year and how to figure your required distribution if you are
a beneficiary of a decedent's IRA, see Publication 590.
Are Distributions Taxable?
In general, distributions from a traditional IRA are taxable in the year you receive them.
Exceptions to this general rule are rollovers and tax-free withdrawals of contributions, discussed earlier, and the return of nondeductible
contributions, discussed later under Distributions Fully or Partly Taxable.
Although a conversion of a traditional IRA is considered a rollover for Roth IRA purposes, it is not an exception to the general rule for
distributions from a traditional IRA. Conversion distributions are includible in your gross income subject to these rules and the special rules for
conversions explained in chapter 2 of Publication 590.
As this publication was being prepared for print, Congress was considering legislation that would allow tax-free distributions from IRAs for
charitable purposes. For more information about this and other important tax changes, see Publication 553, Highlights of 2002 Tax Changes.
Distributions from traditional IRAs that you include in income are taxed as ordinary income.
No special treatment.
In figuring your tax, you cannot use the 10-year tax option or capital gain treatment that applies to lump-sum distributions from qualified
Distributions Fully or Partly Taxable
Distributions from your traditional IRA may be fully or partly taxable, depending on whether your IRA includes any nondeductible contributions.
If only deductible contributions were made to your traditional IRA (or IRAs, if you have more than one), you have no basis in your IRA.
Because you have no basis in your IRA, any distributions are fully taxable when received. See Reporting taxable distributions on your return,
If you made nondeductible contributions to any of your traditional IRAs, you have a cost basis (investment in the contract) equal to the
amount of those contributions. These nondeductible contributions are not taxed when they are distributed to you. They are a return of your investment
in your IRA.
Only the part of the distribution that represents nondeductible contributions (your cost basis) is tax free. If nondeductible contributions have
been made, distributions consist partly of nondeductible contributions (basis) and partly of deductible contributions, earnings, and gains (if there
are any). Until all of your basis has been distributed, each distribution is partly nontaxable and partly taxable.
You must complete Form 8606 and attach it to your return if you receive a distribution from a traditional IRA and have ever made nondeductible
contributions to any of your traditional IRAs. Using the form, you will figure the nontaxable distributions for 2002 and your total IRA basis for 2002
and earlier years.
If you are required to file Form 8606, but you are not required to file an income tax return, you still must file Form 8606. Send it to
the IRS at the time and place you would otherwise file an income tax return.
Distributions reported on Form 1099-R.
If you receive a distribution from your traditional IRA, you will receive Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities,
Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc., or a similar statement. IRA distributions are shown in boxes 1 and 2 of
Form 1099-R. A number or letter code in box 7 tells you what type of distribution you received from your IRA.
Federal income tax is withheld from distributions from traditional IRAs unless you choose not to have tax withheld. See chapter 5.
IRA distributions delivered outside the United States.
In general, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien and your home address is outside the United States or its possessions, you cannot choose
exemption from withholding on distributions from your traditional IRA.
Reporting taxable distributions on your return.
Report fully taxable distributions, including early distributions, on line 15b, Form 1040 (no entry is required on line 15a), or line 11b, Form
1040A. If only part of the distribution is taxable, enter the total amount on line 15a, Form 1040, or line 11a, Form 1040A, and the taxable part on
line 15b, Form 1040, or line 11b, Form 1040A. You cannot report distributions on Form 1040EZ.
What Acts Result in Penalties or Additional Taxes?
The tax advantages of using traditional IRAs for retirement savings can be offset by additional taxes and penalties if you do not follow the rules.
For example, there are additions to the regular tax for using your IRA funds in prohibited transactions. There are also additional taxes for the
- Investing in collectibles.
- Making excess contributions.
- Taking early distributions.
- Allowing excess amounts to accumulate (failing to take required distributions).
There are penalties for overstating the amount of nondeductible contributions and for failure to file a Form 8606, if required.
Generally, a prohibited transaction is any improper use of your traditional IRA by you, your beneficiary, or any disqualified person.
Disqualified persons include your fiduciary and members of your family (spouse, ancestor, lineal descendent, and any spouse of a lineal
The following are examples of prohibited transactions with a traditional IRA.
- Borrowing money from it.
- Selling property to it.
- Receiving unreasonable compensation for managing it.
- Using it as security for a loan.
- Buying property for personal use (present or future) with IRA funds.
Effect on an IRA account.
Generally, if you or your beneficiary engages in a prohibited transaction in connection with your traditional IRA account at any time during the
year, the account stops being an IRA as of the first day of that year.
Effect on you or your beneficiary.
If your account stops being an IRA because you or your beneficiary engaged in a prohibited transaction, the account is treated as distributing all
its assets to you at their fair market values on the first day of the year. If the total of those values is more than your basis in the IRA, you will
have a taxable gain that is includible in your income. For information on figuring your gain and reporting it in income, see Are Distributions
Taxable, earlier. The distribution may be subject to additional taxes or penalties.
Taxes on prohibited transactions.
If someone other than the owner or beneficiary of a traditional IRA engages in a prohibited transaction, that person may be liable for certain
taxes. In general, there is a 15% tax on the amount of the prohibited transaction and a 100% additional tax if the transaction is not corrected.
For more information on prohibited transactions, get Publication 590.
Investment in Collectibles
If your traditional IRA invests in collectibles, the amount invested is considered distributed to you in the year invested. You may have to pay the
10% additional tax on early distributions, discussed later.
- Art works,
- Alcoholic beverages, and
- Certain other tangible personal property.
Your IRA can invest in one, one-half, one-quarter, or one-tenth ounce U.S. gold coins, or one-ounce silver coins minted by the Treasury Department.
It can also invest in certain platinum coins and certain gold, silver, palladium, and platinum bullion.
Generally, an excess contribution is the amount contributed to your traditional IRA(s) for the year that is more than the smaller of:
- Your taxable compensation for the year, or
- $3,000 ($3,500 if 50 or older).
Tax on excess contributions.
In general, if the excess contributions for a year are not withdrawn by the date your return for the year is due (including extensions), you are
subject to a 6% tax. You must pay the 6% tax each year on excess amounts that remain in your traditional IRA at the end of your tax year. The tax
cannot be more than 6% of the value of your IRA as of the end of your tax year.
Excess contributions withdrawn by due date of return.
You will not have to pay the 6% tax if you withdraw an excess contribution made during a tax year and you also withdraw interest or
other income earned on the excess contribution. You must complete your withdrawal by the date your tax return for that year is due, including
How to treat withdrawn contributions.
Do not include in your gross income an excess contribution that you withdraw from your traditional IRA before your tax return is due if
both the following conditions are met.
- No deduction was allowed for the excess contribution.
- You withdraw the interest or other income earned on the excess contribution.
You can take into account any loss on the contribution while it was in the IRA when calculating the amount that must be withdrawn. If there was
a loss, the net income earned on the contribution may be a negative amount.
How to treat withdrawn interest or other income.
You must include in your gross income the interest or other income that was earned on the excess contribution. Report it on your return for the
year in which the excess contribution was made. Your withdrawal of interest or other income may be subject to an additional 10% tax on early
distributions, discussed later.
Excess contributions withdrawn after due date of return.
In general, you must include all distributions (withdrawals) from your traditional IRA in your gross income. However, if the following conditions
are met, you can withdraw excess contributions from your IRA and not include the amount withdrawn in your gross income.
- Total contributions (other than rollover contributions) for 2002 to your IRA were not more than $3,000 ($3,500 if 50 or older).
- You did not take a deduction for the excess contribution being withdrawn.
The withdrawal can take place at any time, even after the due date, including extensions, for filing your tax return for the year.
Excess contribution deducted in an earlier year.
If you deducted an excess contribution in an earlier year for which the total contributions were $2,000 or less, you can still remove the excess
from your traditional IRA and not include it in your gross income. To do this, file Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,
for that year and do not deduct the excess contribution on the amended return. Generally, you can file an amended return within 3 years after
you filed your return, or 2 years from the time the tax was paid, whichever is later.
Excess due to incorrect rollover information.
If an excess contribution in your traditional IRA is the result of a rollover and the excess occurred because the information the plan was required
to give you was incorrect, you can withdraw the excess contribution. The limits mentioned above are increased by the amount of the excess that is due
to the incorrect information. You will have to amend your return for the year in which the excess occurred to correct the reporting of the rollover
amounts in that year. Do not include in your gross income the part of the excess contribution caused by the incorrect information.
You must include early distributions of taxable amounts from your traditional IRA in your gross income. Early distributions are also subject to an
additional 10% tax. See the discussion of Form 5329 under Reporting Additional Taxes, later, to figure and report the tax.
Early distributions defined.
Early distributions are amounts distributed from your traditional IRA account or annuity before you are age 59½.
In certain situations, you may not have to pay the 10% additional tax even if amounts are distributed from your IRA before you are age 591/2. These situations are listed below.
- You have unreimbursed medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.
- The distributions are not more than the cost of your medical insurance.
- You are disabled.
- You are the beneficiary of a deceased IRA owner.
- You are receiving distributions in the form of an annuity.
- The distributions are not more than your qualified higher education expenses.
- You use the distributions to buy, build, or rebuild a first home.
- The distribution is due to an IRS levy of the qualified plan.
Most of these exceptions are explained in Publication 590.
Distributions that are timely and properly rolled over, as discussed earlier, are not subject to either regular income tax or the 10% additional
tax. Certain withdrawals of excess contributions are also tax free and not subject to the 10% additional tax (as explained earlier under Excess
contributions withdrawn by due date of return and Excess contributions withdrawn after due date of return). This also applies to
transfers incident to divorce, as discussed under Can I Move Retirement Plan Assets, earlier.
Additional 10% tax.
The additional tax on early distributions is 10% of the amount of the early distribution that you must include in your gross income. This tax is in
addition to any regular income tax resulting from including the distribution in income.
The tax on early distributions does not apply to the part of a distribution that represents a return of your nondeductible contributions (basis).
For more information on early distributions, see Publication 590.
Excess Accumulations (Insufficient Distributions)
You cannot keep amounts in your traditional IRA indefinitely. Generally, you must begin receiving distributions by April 1 of the year following
the year in which you reach age 70½ (your 701/2 year). The required minimum distribution for any year after your 701/ year must be made by December 31 of that later year.
Tax on excess.
If distributions are less than the required minimum distribution for the year, you may have to pay a 50% excise tax for that year on the amount not
distributed as required.
Request to excuse the tax.
If the excess accumulation is due to reasonable error, and you have taken, or are taking, steps to remedy the insufficient distribution, you can
request that the tax be excused.
If you believe you qualify for this relief, do the following.
- File Form 5329 with your Form 1040.
- Pay any tax you owe on excess accumulations.
- Attach a letter of explanation.
If the IRS approves your request, it will refund the excess accumulations tax you paid.
Exemption from tax.
If you are unable to make required distributions because you have a traditional IRA invested in a contract issued by an insurance company that is
in state insurer delinquency proceedings, the 50% excise tax does not apply if the conditions and requirements of Revenue Procedure 92-10 are
For more information on excess accumulations, see Publication 590.
Reporting Additional Taxes
Generally, you must use Form 5329 to report the tax on excess contributions, early distributions, and excess accumulations.
Filing Form 1040.
If you file Form 1040, complete Form 5329 and attach it to your Form 1040. Enter the total amount of IRA tax due on line 58, Form 1040.
If you have to file an individual income tax return and Form 5329, you must use Form 1040.
Not filing Form 1040.
If you do not have to file a Form 1040 but do have to pay one of the IRA taxes mentioned earlier, file the completed Form 5329 with the IRS at the
time and place you would have filed your Form 1040. Be sure to include your address on page 1 and your signature and date on page 2. Enclose, but do
not attach, a check or money order payable to the United States Treasury for the tax you owe, as shown on Form 5329. Write your social security number
and 2002 Form 5329 on your check or money order.
Form 5329 not required.
You do not have to use Form 5329 if either of the following situations exist.
- Distribution code 1 (early distribution) is correctly shown in box 7 of Form 1099-R. If you do not owe any other additional tax on a
distribution, multiply the taxable part of the early distribution by 10% and enter the result on line 58 of Form 1040. Write No to the left of
line 58 to indicate that you do not have to file Form 5329. However, if you owe this tax and also owe any other additional tax on a distribution, do
not enter this 10% additional tax directly on your Form 1040. You must file Form 5329 to report your additional taxes.
- If you rolled over part of all of a distribution from a qualified retirement plan, the part rolled over is not subject to the tax on early
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