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Getting Money Out Of An IRA


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You can take money out of an IRA at any time you want, but if your withdrawal ("distribution") is made before age 59 1/2, you may have to pay penalties in addition to whatever income taxes might be due. There are, however, times where a premature distribution will not incur a penalty (even though it still incurs income tax):

  • Withdrawals made after age 59 1/2 are not subject to a penalty.
  • You are "disabled" as defined by the Internal Revenue Service.
  • The amount you withdraw is no more than the cost of your medical insurance for the tax year in question
  • You have deductible medical expenses not reimbursed by insurance and in excess of the threshold. The threshold for the itemized deduction for unreimbursed medical expenses is 10% of the taxpayer’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). However, in the years 2013–2016, if either the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse has turned 65 before the close of the tax year, the threshold is 7.5% of AGI. In 2017 the 10% threshold will apply to all taxpayers.
  • You elect to take equal periodic payments over your life (or your life expectancy), or over the lives (or the joint life expectancies) of you and your beneficiary.
  • You have qualified higher education expenses at an eligible educational institution.
  • You use the distributions to buy, build, or rebuild a first home, including a cooperative or condominium.
  • You, as a nonparticipant in the plan, receive a distribution under a qualified domestic relations order.
  • A taxable IRA distribution is transferred directly to your Health Savings Account (HSA).

You can also borrow from an IRA.

If you have a traditional IRA, you MUST withdraw money by April 1 of the year following the year in which you become age 70. NOTE: IF YOU MISS A DEADLINE for taking money out of an IRA, ask for a penalty waiver. You must show you had reasonable cause for the goof - such as serious illness, and that you have taken steps to withdraw the amount. See IRS Form 5329 and attach a letter of explanation. 

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