Investopedia’s recent article entitled “How Much Are Taxes on an IRA Withdrawal?” explains that the withdrawal rules for other types of IRAs are similar to the traditional IRA, with some small unique differences. Other types of IRAs include the SEP IRA, Simple IRA and SARSEP IRA. However, each of these has different rules about who can open one.
Tax-Free Withdrawals Only with Roth IRAs
When you invest with a Roth IRA, you deposit the money post-tax. Therefore, when you withdraw the money in retirement, you pay no tax on the money you withdraw, or on any gains your investments earned. That’s a big benefit. To do this, the money must have been deposited in the IRA and held for at least five years and you must be at least 59½ years old. If you need cash before that, you can withdraw your contributions with no tax penalty, provided you don’t touch any of the investment gains. You should document any withdrawals before 59½ and tell the trustee to use only contributions, if you’re withdrawing funds early. If you do not do this, you could be charged the same early withdrawal penalties charged for taking money out of a traditional IRA.
The Taxing of IRA Withdrawals
Money that’s placed in a traditional IRA is treated differently from money in a Roth, because it’s pretax income. Each dollar you deposit lessens your taxable income by that amount. When you withdraw the money, both the initial investment and the gains it earned are taxed at your income tax rate when withdrawn. However, if you withdraw money before you’re 59½, you’ll be hit with a 10% penalty, in addition to regular income tax based on your tax bracket. If you accidentally withdraw investment earnings rather than only contributions from a Roth IRA before you’re 59½, you can also incur a 10% penalty. You can, therefore, see how important it is to keep careful records.
Avoiding the Early Withdrawal Tax Penalty
There are a few hardship exceptions to the 10% penalty for withdrawing money from a traditional IRA or the investment-earnings portion of a Roth IRA before you reach age 59½.
Don’t mix Roth IRA funds with the other types of IRAs. If you do, the Roth IRA funds will become taxable. Some states also levy early withdrawal penalties. Once you hit age 59½, you can withdraw money without a 10% penalty from any type of IRA. If it is a Roth IRA and you’ve had a Roth for five years or more, you won’t owe any income tax. If it’s not, you will have taxes due.
The funds put in a traditional IRA are treated differently from money in a Roth. If the money is deposited in a traditional IRA, SEP IRA, Simple IRA or SARSEP IRA, you’ll owe taxes at your current tax rate on the amount you withdraw. However, you won’t owe any income tax, provided that you keep your money in a non-Roth IRA until you reach another key age milestone. Once you reach age 72 (with new SECURE Act), you’ll have to take a distribution from a traditional IRA. The IRS has specific rules about how much you must withdraw each year, which is called the required minimum distribution (RMD). If you don’t withdraw your RMD, you could be hit with a 50% tax on the amount not distributed as required.
There are no RMD requirements for a Roth IRA, but if money is still there after your death, your beneficiaries may have to pay taxes. There are several different ways they can withdraw the funds, so they should get the advice of an attorney.