February 07, 2022 – Hispanic Solutions Group
Taking a distribution from a tax-qualified retirement plan, such as a 401(k), before age 59 ½ is generally subject to a 10 percent early withdrawal tax penalty. However, the IRS rule of 55 may allow you to receive a distribution after age 55 (and before age 59 ½) without activating the advance penalty if your plan provides for such distributions. However, the distribution would still be subject to a 20 percent income tax withholding rate. (If it turns out that 20 percent is more than you owe based on your total taxable income, you’ll get a refund after you file your annual tax return.)
THE DATA.- It’s important to note that the rule of 55 does not apply to traditional or Roth IRAs.
Should I take advantage of the rule of 55 to take advantage of an early distribution?
Also, many companies have retirement plans that allow employees take advantage of the rule of 55, but your company may not offer the option. 401(k) and 403(b) plans are not required to contemplate rule 55 withdrawals, as well Don’t be surprised if your plan doesn’t allow it, says Paul Porretta, attorney for Troutman Pepper compensation and benefits. a law firm based in New York, NY.
It says: “Many companies see the rule as an incentive for employees to quit in order to get a penalty-free distribution, with the unintended consequence of exhausting your retirement savings prematurely.
If the following statements apply to your situation and retirement plan, then the rule of 55 may be a good option for you.
1. Your company plan offers a 401(k) or 403(a) or (b) that allows the 55-withdrawal rule. Some plans prohibit withdrawals before age 59½ or even age 62.
2. You leave a position (voluntarily or involuntarily) on or after the year you turn 55.
3. You are a qualified public safety worker (police, firefighter, EMT, correctional officer, or air traffic controller) with a qualified plan that allows withdrawals on or after the year you turn 50.
4. You understand that making early withdrawals means forfeiting any gains you might otherwise have made on your investments.
5. You fully understand that your funds must be kept in the employer’s plan before you withdraw them. If you roll them over to an IRA, you lose tax shelter rule 55.
6. You can wait until the beginning of the next calendar year to start the 55 withdrawal rule when your taxable income should be lower if you are not working. However, as with any financial decision, be sure to consult with a trusted advisor or tax professional first to avoid unforeseen consequences.
If the following statements apply to your situation, then the rule of 55 is probably NOT right for you:
1. The amount of your earnings for the year in which the withdrawal begins plus the early withdrawal will put you in a higher marginal tax bracket.
2. Your plan requires a lump-sum withdrawal, which may force you to take more money than you want and subject you to regular income tax liability. These funds will no longer be available as a source of tax-advantaged retirement income.
3. You want to leave your current employer before the year you turn 55 and start taking withdrawals at age 55. Please note that this is NOT allowed and you will be charged a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Other Important Considerations If you’re considering dropping a 55 withdrawal rule, you’ll also want to consider a few other things: If you have funds in multiple plans from previous employers, the rule applies only to your current or most recent employer’s plan. If you have funds in multiple plans that you want to access using rule 55, be sure to transfer those funds to your current employer’s plan (if it accepts transfers) BEFORE you leave the employer.
Funds from IRA plans that you may want to access early can also be rolled over to your current plan (while you’re still employed) and accessed that way.
If you choose, you can continue to make withdrawals from your former employer’s plan even if you get another job before you turn 59 1/2. Be sure to carefully time your withdrawals to create a strategy that makes sense for your financial situation. Withdrawing funds from a taxable retirement account during a low-income year could save you taxes, especially if you think your tax rate may be higher in the future.
“Keep in mind that the only real advantage of the rule of 55 is avoiding the 10 percent penalty,” says Porretta. “
In the meantime, tax deferral is sacrificed, which may prove more valuable if other non-tax-qualified financial resources can cover future years’ expenses, allowing you to save on 401(k)/403(b) distribution. until later years. Other 401(k) Early Withdrawal Exceptions You may be able to access your retirement plan without a tax penalty in a few other ways, depending on your circumstances. There is an exception called option 72(t) that allows withdrawals from your 401(k) or IRA at any age without penalty. This option is called SEPP (Substantially Equal Periodic Payments) and these payments are not subject to the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Once these distributions begin, they must continue for a period of five years or until you turn age 59½, whichever is later.
Other circumstances that exempt you from the early withdrawal penalty include:
- Total and permanent disability.
- Distributions made due to qualified disasters.
- Certain distributions to qualified reservists on active duty.
- Medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of adjusted gross income.
- Withdrawals made to satisfy IRS obligations.
- But the IRS offers other exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty.
If you can wait until you’re 59½, withdrawals after that age aren’t usually subject to the IRS’s 10 percent tax penalty. However, if you are in a financially secure position to retire early, the Rule of 55 may be an appropriate course of action for you.
Finally, if you have no choice but to start withdrawing money at age 55 until you can secure another position, start a business, or otherwise generate income, the Rule of 55 may just be the short-term lifeline you’re looking for.
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