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What Penalties Hurt Retirement Accounts?

Estate Planning for Changing Economic Times
The following are penalties to avoid at all costs when contributing to or withdrawing from retirement accounts.

Money Talks News’ recent article entitled “3 Tax Penalties That Can Ding Your Retirement Accounts” says make one wrong move, and Uncle Sam may ask for some explanations. In terms of retirement, Beck & Lenox Estate Planning and Elder Law wants to make sure everyone is aware what penalties hurt retirement accounts. Let’s review the three biggest mistakes people make.

Excess IRA contribution penalty. Contributing too much to an individual retirement account (IRA) can mean a penalty from the IRS. You can do this if you contribute more than the applicable annual contribution limit for your IRA or improperly rolling over money into an IRA. The IRS states, “Excess contributions are taxed at 6% per year as long as the excess amounts remain in the IRA. The tax can’t be more than 6% of the combined value of all your IRAs as of the end of the tax year.”

The IRS lets you remedy your mistake before any penalties will be applied. You must withdraw the excess contributions — and any income earned on those contributions — by the due date of your federal income tax return for that year.

Taking money out too soon from a retirement account. If you withdraw funds from your IRA before the age of 59½, you might be subject to paying income taxes on the money, plus an additional 10% penalty. However, there are several exceptions when you’re permitted to take early IRA withdrawals without penalties: if you lose your employment, you’re allowed to tap your IRA early to pay for health insurance premiums.

The same penalties apply to early withdrawals from retirement plans like 401(k)s, but again, there are exceptions to the rule that allow you to make early withdrawals without penalty. The exceptions that let you make early retirement plan withdrawals without penalty may differ from the exceptions that allow you to make early IRA withdrawals without penalty.

Missed RMD penalty. Taxpayers were previously obligated to take required minimum distributions — also known as RMDs — from most types of retirement accounts beginning the year they turn 70½. However, the Secure Act of 2019 bumped up that age to 72.

The consequences of not making these mandatory withdrawals still apply. If you fail to take your RMDs starting the year you turn 72, you face harsh penalties. The IRS says that if you don’t take any distributions, or if the distributions aren’t large enough, you may have to pay a 50% excise tax on the amount not distributed as required. Keep an eye on those important withdrawal time periods, advises Beck & Lenox. Stay aware of what penalties hurt retirement accounts so that you don’t have to pay them!

Reference: Money Talks News (March 1, 2022) “3 Tax Penalties That Can Ding Your Retirement Accounts”

 

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