Avoiding Tax on IRA Withdrawal

Is there a way to avoid tax on IRA withdrawal

Withdrawals made before age 59 1/2 from an IRA account are usually subject to income tax and a 10% penalty; however, there may be exceptions.

Consult a financial planner in order to plan IRA withdrawals in an tax-efficient way. They have an eye on long-term planning and may know about tax moves you haven’t considered yet.

Taxes on IRA withdrawals

The IRS typically taxes withdrawals from traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and employer-provided plans like your 401(k) as ordinary income, and applies a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on early withdrawals before age 59 1/2 that could quickly deplete investment earnings.

There are ways to avoid additional taxes on IRA withdrawals and penalties altogether, but first it’s essential that you understand how your IRA is taxed.

The IRS mandates that traditional IRA owners reach age 73 take required minimum distributions (RMD) from their accounts by April 1 of every year; otherwise they’ll issue a penalty notice with an estimate of your federal income tax liability. By default, your custodian withholds 10% from withdrawals made to cover federal income tax liabilities; you may choose whether this percentage should change; additionally state income taxes will likely also be withheld from these withdrawals.


Some individuals may find themselves needing to withdraw funds from their IRAs in certain instances – such as when changing jobs or retiring – yet there are ways you can still minimize tax liability when withdrawing the money from an IRA.

Direct rollover is the fastest and easiest way to transfer an IRA balance, as it eliminates the risk of mistakes inherent to indirect transfers. When opting for this route, your former employer’s plan administrator will send a check directly to your new IRA provider with specific instructions as to how the check should be made out, how it should include necessary information–like your new account number–and where to send it.

If your payments do not arrive within 60 days, including funds withheld for taxes, the IRS will treat them as taxable withdrawals and withhold accordingly. Reclaiming withheld amounts when filing taxes takes additional effort and time.

Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

QCDs allow individuals aged 70 1/2 or over to transfer money directly from their IRAs to eligible charities without incurring a tax liability while fulfilling their required minimum distribution (RMD). They’re an efficient way of fulfilling RMD requirements while simultaneously lowering overall tax liabilities.

By choosing this option, your IRA custodian will send a check made out directly to the charity of your choice and you report this amount as a charitable contribution on your tax return – however this donation won’t qualify for income tax deduction because it falls outside your taxable income.

Donors should make sure they keep proper documentation of all their charitable donations and QCDs, including acknowledgment letters from charities. This will come in handy should an IRS audit take place or tax filings need verification. Another advantage of giving through QCDs is that they lower adjusted gross income (AGI), potentially leading to lower Social Security taxes or affecting Medicare premiums.

Borrowing from your IRA

Although you generally face penalties if withdrawing pretax funds from an IRA before age 59 1/2, there may be exceptions. For instance, this money could be used to cover medical insurance premiums following job loss or disability.

Assuming you are a first-time homebuyer, an IRA distribution can be used to cover “qualified acquisition costs.” These costs include actual expenses associated with buying, building or rebuilding a home as well as reasonable settlement, financing and closing costs.

SmartAsset’s advisor matching tool provides access to unbiased financial professionals that can discuss how these strategies might apply in your unique situation and help reduce tax liabilities as you withdraw funds from an IRA. Finding an optimal retirement savings strategy will minimize tax liabilities while helping you achieve financial success – find out more about maximizing IRA contributions today.

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