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IRS Tax Tip 2013-35: Tax Rules on Early Withdrawals from Retirement Plans

Taking money out early from your retirement plan can cost you an extra 10 percent in taxes. Here are five things you should know about early withdrawals from retirement plans.

1. An early withdrawal normally means taking money from your plan, such as a 401(k), before you reach age 59½.

2. You must report the amount you withdrew from your retirement plan to the IRS. You may have to pay an additional 10 percent tax on your withdrawal.

3. The additional 10 percent tax normally does not apply to nontaxable withdrawals. Nontaxable withdrawals include withdrawals of your cost in participating in the plan. Your cost includes contributions that you paid tax on before you put them into the plan.

4. If you transfer a withdrawal from one qualified retirement plan to another within 60 days, the transfer is a rollover. Rollovers are not subject to income tax. The added 10 percent tax also does not apply to a rollover.

5. There are several other exceptions to the additional 10 percent tax. These include withdrawals if you have certain medical expenses or if you are disabled. Some of the exceptions for retirement plans are different from the rules for IRAs.

For more information on early distributions from retirement plans, see IRS Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income. Also, see IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). Both publications are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).
Additional IRS Resources:

  • Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income
  • Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
  • Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts

IRS Patrol: IRS Announces Pension Plan Limitations for 2011

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Sorry readers, I’m a day late posting this cost of living adjustment for 2011 pension plans and retirement related stuff.  As noted below, things haven’t changed much.  No surprise there.

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2011. In general, these limits will either remain unchanged, or the inflation adjustments for 2011 will be small. Highlights include:

  • The elective deferral (contribution) limit for employees who participate in section 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $16,500.
  • The catch-up contribution limit under those plans for those aged 50 and over remains unchanged at $5,500.
  • The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are active participants in  an employer-sponsored retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $56,000 and $66,000, unchanged from 2010. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $90,000 to $110,000, up from $89,000 to $109,000. For an IRA contributor who is not an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and is married to someone who is an active participant, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $169,000 and $179,000, up from $167,000 and $177,000.
  • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $169,000 to 179,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $167,000 to $177,000 in 2010. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $107,000 to $122,000, up from $105,000 to $120,000. For a married individual filing a separate return who is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the phase-out range remains $0 to $10,000.
  • The AGI limit for the saver’s credit (also known as the retirement savings contributions credit) for low-and moderate-income workers is $56,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $55,500 in 2010; $42,375 for heads of household, up from $41,625; and $28,250 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $27,750.

Below are details on both the unchanged and adjusted limitations.

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. Section 415(d) requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost of living increases. Other limitations applicable to deferred compensation plans are also affected by these adjustments under Section 415. Under Section 415(d), the adjustments are to be made pursuant to adjustment procedures which are similar to those used to adjust benefit amounts under Section 215(i)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act.

The limitations that are adjusted by reference to Section 415(d) generally will remain unchanged for 2011. This is because the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, while greater than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009, is less than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2008, and, following the procedures under the Social Security Act for adjusting benefit amounts, any decline in the applicable index cannot result in a reduced limitation. For example, the limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) will be $16,500 for 2011, which is the same amount as for 2009 and 2010. This limitation affects elective deferrals to Section 401(k) plans, Section 403(b) plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan.

Effective Jan. 1, 2011, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(A) remains unchanged at $195,000. Pursuant to section 1.415(d)-1(a)(2)(ii) of the Income Tax Regulations, the adjustment to the limitation under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(B) is determined using a special rule that  takes into account that the cost-of-living indexes for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009, and for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, were both less than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2008, and that the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010, is greater than the cost-of-living index for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009. For a participant who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2010, the participant’s limitation under a defined benefit plan under section 415(b)(1)(B) is unchanged (i.e., the adjustment factor is 1.0000). For a participant who separated from service during 2010, the limitation under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(B) for 2011 is computed by multiplying the participant’s 2010 compensation limitation by 1.0118 in order to reflect changes in the cost-of-living index from the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009, to the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2010.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) remains unchanged for 2011 at $49,000.

The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). After taking into account the applicable rounding rules, the amounts for 2011 are as follows:
The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) remains unchanged at $16,500.

The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) remains unchanged at $245,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan remains unchanged at $160,000.

The dollar amount under Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5 year distribution period remains unchanged at $985,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5 year distribution period remains unchanged at $195,000.

The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) remains unchanged at $110,000.

The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $5,500. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $2,500.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, remains unchanged at $360,000.

The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) remains unchanged at $550.

The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts remains unchanged at $11,500.

The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations remains unchanged at $16,500.

The compensation amounts under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation purposes remains unchanged at $95,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) remains unchanged at $195,000.

The Code also provides that several pension-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). After taking the applicable rounding rules into account, the amounts for 2011 are as follows:

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $33,500 to $34,000; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $36,000 to $36,500; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $55,500 to $56,500.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $25,125 to $25,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $27,000 to $27,375; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $41,625 to $42,375.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $16,750 to $17,000; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $18,000 to $18,250; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), is increased from $27,750 to $28,250.

The deductible amount under § 219(b)(5)(A) for an individual making qualified retirement contributions remains unchanged at $5,000.

The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $89,000 to $90,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) remains unchanged at $56,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $167,000 to $169,000.

The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $167,000 to $169,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $105,000 to $107,000.

The dollar amount under Section 430(c)(7)(D)(i)(II) used to determine excess employee compensation with respect to a single-employer defined benefit pension plan for which the special election under section 430(c)(2)(D) has been made is increased from $1,000,000 to $1,014,000.

Related Item: Revenue Procedure 2010-40 contains certain inflation adjusted tax items for tax year 2011.

Avoid a Compliance Examination of Your Retirement Plan by Completing Your 401(K) Compliance Check Questionnaire

By Stacie Clifford Kitts, CPA

Are you one of the lucky employers who will receive a letter from the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) ? Well, if you have a retirement plan and you are among the 1200 employers selected to complete  the  401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire you will receive your notice this week explaining  how to complete it.  The notice will direct you to a website asking you to respond to the following topics:

  • Demographics
  • Participation
  • Employer and employee contributions
  • Top-heavy and nondiscrimination testing
  • Distributions and plan loans
  • Other plan operations
  • Automatic contribution arrangements
  • Designated Roth features
  • IRS voluntary compliance and correction programs
  • Plan administration

And what if you don’t respond – Well look forward to further action including a possible audit of your plan by the EPCU.

For more information, you can check out the “Retirement News For Employers” spring 2010 newsletter.  I have included a copy of it at my Client Resource Center just look under the file named Pension Audit Resources.

If you have questions about completing the form, you should consult with your plan administrator for assistance.

IRS Presents: Can You Get An Additional Tax Credit for Contributions To Your Retirement Plan?

If you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement, you may be eligible for a tax credit.  Here are six things you need to know about the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit:

1. Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:

  • Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with  income up to $27,750
  • Head of Household, with income up to $41,625
  • Married Filing Jointly, with income up to $55,500

2. Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.

3. Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.

4. Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

5. Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.

6. Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.

For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880. Publications and forms can be downloaded at IRS.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:

  • Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions (PDF 46K)
  • Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF 176K)
  • Form 1040A, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (PDF 136K)
  • Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) (PDF 449K)
  • Tax Topic 610

IRS Presents: Top Ten Facts about Taking Early Distributions from Retirement Plans

Some taxpayers may have needed to take an early distribution from their retirement plan last year. The IRS wants individuals who took an early distribution to know that there can be a tax impact to tapping your retirement fund.  Here are ten facts about early distributions.

  1. Payments you receive from your Individual Retirement Arrangement before you reach age 59 ½ are generally considered early or premature distributions.
  2. Early distributions are usually subject to an additional 10 percent tax.
  3. Early distributions must also be reported to the IRS.
  4. Distributions you rollover to another IRA or qualified retirement plan are not subject to the additional 10 percent tax. You must complete the rollover within 60 days after the day you received the distribution.
  5. The amount you roll over is generally taxed when the new plan makes a distribution to you or your beneficiary.
  6. If you made nondeductible contributions to an IRA and later take early distributions from your IRA, the portion of the distribution attributable to those nondeductible contributions is not taxed.
  7. If you received an early distribution from a Roth IRA, the distribution attributable to your prior contributions is not taxed.
  8. If you received a distribution from any other qualified retirement plan, generally the entire distribution is taxable unless you made after-tax employee contributions to the plan.
  9. There are several exceptions to the additional 10 percent early distribution tax, such as when the distributions are used for the purchase of a first home, for certain medical or educational expenses, or if you are disabled.
  10. For more information about early distributions from retirement plans, the additional 10 percent tax and all the exceptions see IRS Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income and Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). Both publications are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Links:

  • Publication 575, Pensions and Annuities (PDF 227K)
  • Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) (PDF 449K)  
  • Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (including IRAs) and Other Tax Favored Accounts   (PDF 72K)
  • Form 5329 Instructions (PDF 40K)

IRS Presents: Five New Things to Know About 2009 Taxes

As you get ready to prepare your 2009 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service wants to make sure you have all the details about tax law changes that may impact your tax return.

Here are the top five changes that may show up on your 2009 return.

1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

ARRA provides several tax provisions that affect tax year 2009 individual tax returns due April 15, 2010. The recovery law provides tax incentives for first-time homebuyers, people who purchased new cars, those that made their homes more energy efficient, parents and students paying for college, and people who received unemployment compensation.

2. IRA Deduction Expanded

You may be able to take an IRA deduction if you were covered by a retirement plan and your 2009 modified adjusted gross income is less than $65,000 or $109,000 if you are married filing a joint return.

3. Standard Deduction Increased for Most Taxpayers

The 2009 basic standard deductions all increased. They are:

  • $11,400 for married couples filing a joint return and qualifying widows and widowers
  • $5,700 for singles and married individuals filing separate returns
  • $8,350 for heads of household

Taxpayers can now claim an additional standard deduction based on the state or local sales or excise taxes paid on the purchase of most new motor vehicles purchased after February 16, 2009. You can also increase your standard deduction by the state or local real estate taxes paid during the year or net disaster losses suffered from a federally declared disaster.

4. 2009 Standard Mileage Rates

The standard mileage rates changed for 2009. The standard mileage rates for business use of a vehicle:

  • 55 cents per mile

The standard mileage rates for the cost of operating a vehicle for medical reasons or a deductible move:

  • 24 cents per mile

The standard mileage rate for using a car to provide services to charitable organizations remains at 14 cents per mile.

5. Kiddie Tax Change

The amount of taxable investment income a child can have without it being subject to tax at the parent’s rate has increased to $1,900 for 2009.

For more information about these and other changes for tax year 2009, visit IRS.gov.
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