What Can I Withdraw From My IRA Without Penalty?
Unless an exception applies, withdrawing money before age 59 1/2 from a retirement account could incur taxes and a 10 percent penalty; however, there are exceptions available and some even come with caveats.
Here are a few situations when taking an IRA distribution penalty-free would make sense: 1. For a first-time home purchase.
1. For a first-time home purchase
One exception allows IRA holders to withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty in order to assist in purchasing their first home. According to IRS definition, “first-time home purchaser” refers to any individual who has not owned a principal residence for at least two years prior to making this purchase; this exemption also applies when both spouses use money from both accounts towards purchasing a house together.
Other exceptions for withdrawing include qualified medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of adjusted gross income for those under 65, military reservists called to active duty for at least 180 days or indefinite periods, and required minimum distributions (RMDs), which typically begin at age 72 and depend on your life expectancy or the joint life expectancies between you and your beneficiary.
As withdrawals from an IRA for any non-tax purposes are treated as taxable income, a 10% penalty will apply. Before making any decisions about withdrawing money from an IRA account, always consult your financial or tax advisor first.
2. For education expenses
Usually when someone withdraws money from their retirement account before reaching age 59 1/2, they’re subject to income tax and an early withdrawal penalty of 10% – though there may be exceptions.
One such program allows individuals to withdraw funds from their IRAs (and SEP or SIMPLE IRAs) to cover qualified education expenses for themselves, their spouses and children. Qualified higher education expenses include tuition and fees, room and board and any equipment such as books, supplies or computers required at accredited public, nonprofit and proprietary postsecondary institutions eligible to take part in student aid programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
Individuals may use their IRA funds for expenses that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income and to finance first-time home purchases, as well as payments of health insurance premiums incurred while unemployed without incurring the 10% penalty tax.
3. For qualified medical expenses
In some instances, you may be eligible to withdraw without penalty from your IRA if the medical expenses you’re paying for exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Before withdrawing money from this account, make sure they fall under this exception and check all documentation that would verify they do so.
Note that in order to take full advantage of this exception, it is crucial that you keep track of your medical bills throughout the year in case a minimum required distribution (RMD) from your IRA later is required based on life expectancy – withdraw a predetermined amount annually as RMD withdrawals.
Your IRA allows for penalty-free withdrawals if you become completely and permanently disabled or use it to purchase, build or rebuild a first home. Furthermore, these funds can also be used to cover certain higher education expenses or cover health insurance premiums after periods of unemployment.
4. For qualified long-term care expenses
IRS rules permit IRA holders to withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty from an IRA in order to pay for long-term care insurance, provided it meets certain requirements. However, any policy purchased must meet certain conditions in order to be considered eligible.
Unemployed IRA owners who use the money for medical insurance premiums do not incur a penalty when withdrawing funds. A similar exception exists if inheriting an IRA account from an deceased family member.
Traditional IRA and employer-sponsored retirement plan withdrawals typically incur ordinary income rates before age 59 1/2, with an early withdrawal penalty of 10% applied. There are however exceptions to this rule which include: