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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 01/01/2011


Tax on Early Distributions from Retirement Plans, Other Than IRAs

Tax Topic 558
rule
To discourage the use of retirement funds for purposes other than normal retirement, the law imposes a 10% additional tax on certain early distributions of these funds. Early distributions are those you receive from a qualified retirement plan or deferred annuity contract before reaching age 59 1/2. The term "qualified retirement plan" means:
While an eligible State or local government section 457 deferred compensation plan is not a qualified retirement plan, any distribution attributable to amounts the plan received in a direct transfer or rollover from one of the other plans listed here would be subject to the 10% additional tax.
Distributions that are not taxable, such as distributions that you roll over to another qualified retirement plan or a distribution of your designated Roth IRA contributions are not subject to this 10% additional tax. For more information on rollovers, refer to Tax Topic 413.
There are certain exceptions to this additional tax. The following six exceptions apply to distributions from any qualified retirement plan:
The following additional exceptions apply only to distributions from a qualified retirement plan other than an IRA:
  1. Distributions made to you after you separated from service with your employer if the separation occurred in or after the year you reached age 55, or distributions from qualified governmental defined benefit plans if you were a qualified public safety employee (State or local government) who separated from service on or after you reached age 50,
  2. Distributions made to an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order, and
  3. Distributions of dividends from employee stock ownership plans.
Refer to Tax Topic 557 for information on the tax on early distributions from IRAs. For more information, refer to Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, and Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).
The 10% additional tax is reported on the appropriate line of Form 1040. You must also file Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRA's) and other Tax-Favored Accounts, if:
  1. Your distribution is subject to the tax, and distribution code "1" is not shown in the appropriate box of Form 1099-R, or
  2. One of the exceptions applies but the box labeled "Distribution Code(s)" does not show a distribution code of "2", "3", or "4". On the other hand, you do not need to file Form 5329 if your distribution is subject to the tax and a distribution code of "1" shows in the appropriate box. In this case enter the 10% additional tax on the appropriate line of Form 1040 and write "no" on the dotted line next to the appropriate line.
Distributions from a qualified retirement plan are subject to federal income tax withholding; however, if your distribution is subject to the 10% additional tax, your withholding may not be enough. You may have to make estimated tax payments. For more information on estimated tax payments, refer to Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax.