Insights + Resources

72(t) Distributions

Sep 23, 2019

Schedule and Calculator
Sometimes you can take penalty-free early withdrawals from retirement accounts.

Do you need to access your retirement money early? Maybe you just want to retire before you turn 60 and plan a lifelong income stream from the money you have saved and invested. You may be surprised to know that the Internal Revenue Service allows you a way to do this, provided you do it carefully.

Usually, anyone who takes money out of an IRA or a retirement plan prior to age 59½ faces a 10% early withdrawal penalty on the distribution. That isn’t always the case, however. You may be able to avoid the requisite penalty by taking distributions compliant with Internal Revenue Code Section 72(t), section 2.

While any money you take out of the plan will amount to taxable income, you can position yourself to avoid that extra 10% tax hit by breaking that early IRA or retirement plan distribution down into a series of substantially equal periodic payments (SEPPs). These periodic withdrawals must occur at least once a year, and they must continue for at least 5 full years or until you turn 59½, whichever period is longer. (Optionally, you can make SEPP withdrawals on a monthly basis.)

How do you figure out the SEPPs?

They must be calculated before you can take them, using one of three I.R.S. methods. Some people assume they can just divide the balance of their IRA or 401(k) by five and withdraw that amount per year, but that is not the way to determine them.

It is wise to calculate your potential SEPPs by each of these three methods. When the math is complete, you can schedule your SEPPs in the way that makes the most sense for you.

The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) method calculates the SEPP amount by dividing your IRA or retirement plan balance at the end of the previous year by the life expectancy factor from the I.R.S. single life expectancy table, joint life and last survivor expectancy table, or uniform life table.

The Fixed Amortization method amortizes your retirement account balance into SEPPs based on your life expectancy. A variation on this, the Fixed Annuitization method, calculates SEPPs using your current age and the mortality table in Appendix B of Rev. Ruling 2002-62.

If you use the Fixed Amortization or Fixed Annuitization method, you are also required to use a reasonable interest rate in calculating the withdrawals. That interest rate can’t exceed more than 120% of the federal midterm rate announced periodically by the I.R.S.

A lot to absorb? It certainly is. The financial professional you know can help you figure all this out, and online calculators also come in handy.

There are some common blunders that can wreck a 72(t) distribution.

You should be aware of them if you want to schedule SEPPs.

If you are taking SEPPs from a qualified workplace retirement plan instead of an IRA, you must generally separate from service (that is, quit working for that employer) before you take them. If you are 51 when you quit and start taking SEPPs from your retirement plan, and you change your mind at 53 and decide you want to keep working, you still have this retirement account that you are obligated to draw down through age 56 – not a good scenario.

Once you start taking SEPPs, you are locked into them for five consecutive years or until you reach age 59½. If you break that commitment or deviate from the SEPP schedule or calculation method you have set, then the I.R.S. applies a 10% early withdrawal penalty to all the SEPPs you have already made, plus interest.

The I.R.S. does permit you to make a one-time change to your distribution method without penalty: if you start with the Fixed AmortizationorFixed Annuitization method, you can opt to switch to the RMD method. You can’t switch out of the RMD method to either the Fixed AmortizationorFixed Annuitization methods, however.

If you want or need to take 72(t) distributions, ask for help. A Charlotte NC based financial advisor can help you plan to do it right.

Tags: ,

More Insights

Oct 14, 2019

Talking about “the end” is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate plans with help from financial and legal professionals sometimes leave their heirs out of the conversation.

Oct 11, 2019

Do you regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations? Then you may want to open a donor-advised fund. Donor-advised funds are becoming popular. It is easy to see why. They offer potential tax perks, and in some instances, a chance to grow money set aside for charitable gifting.

Oct 9, 2019

Are you about to buy life insurance? Shop carefully. Make your choice with insight from an insurance professional, as it may help you avoid some of these all-too-common missteps. Buying the first policy you see. Anyone interested in life insurance should take the time to compare a few plans – not only their rates, but also … Continue reading “Avoid These Life Insurance Missteps”

Oct 4, 2019

Do you have to make a multimillion-dollar gift to a charity to receive immediate or future financial benefits? No. If you’re not yet a millionaire or simply a “millionaire next door,” yet want to give, consider the following options, which may bring you immediate or future tax deductions.

Oct 2, 2019

How healthy a retirement do you think you will have?If you can stay active as a senior and curb or avoid certain habits, you could potentially reduce one type of retirement expense. Each year, Fidelity Investments presents an analysis of retiree health care costs. In 2019, Fidelity projected that the average 65-year-old couple would spend … Continue reading “Retirement Wellness”

Insights + Resources >
Epic Impact Video Series >
-->
Top of Page

Services

Epic Capital provides the following comprehensive financial planning and investment management services: Learn More >

We are preparing the questionnaire, please let us know through the contact page if you want to be notified when it's available.
Thank you.

Epic IMPACT Quarterly Newsletter

To Receive Our Quarterly Impact Newsletter:

 
Your privacy is important to us. We will not rent or sell your information.

Epic Market Commentaries

To Receive Our Market and Economic Commentaries

Your privacy is important to us. We will not rent or sell your information.

7 Steps for Investing with Impact

 
Your privacy is important to us. We will not rent or sell your information.