Ask Terry Questions Roth IRA 5yr rule for Withdrawals

Roth IRA 5yr rule for Withdrawals

By Terry Savage on June 10, 2013 | Financial Planning / Retirement

My daughter , who is disabled, would like to take money out of her Roth IRA to buy a house.
Are there any exceptions to the 5 year aging rule for Roth IRA’s ?
Thank you

SAVAGE SAYS: I always hate to tell people this, because it means they will take money out of their retirement plan, usually for bad reasons — BUT, you can withdraw your CONTRIBUTIONS from a Roth IRA at any time without penalty!? EARNINGS, however, are taxed as income, if withdrawn within 5 years. For purposes of determing which withdrawals are from earnings, they total ALL Roth IRA contributions (to all of your Roth IRAs) and until your withdrawal exceeds that amount, you are not taxed on earnings.

If it is a “converted” Roth IRA, then You can take the converted amounts tax-free and penalty-free if five calendar? years have passed since you made the conversion. If you withdraw sooner than 5 years, you are not subject to taxes (since you paid them on conversion) but there is a 10 percent withdrawal penalty.

BUT, there are several exceptions that can get you out of the 10 percent penalty and any taxes. Those include being disabled, and for certain expenses related to the purchase of a first home. It would appear that your daughter might qualify on both counts. But consult your own tax planner — and think twice about losing all the future tax-free growth of that account by using the money now.

And if you want to read ALL the rules yourself, here’s a link to the IRS publication regarding taxes and Roth IRAs. Scroll all the way to the end to learn about exceptions to penalties and taxes on withdrawals from Roth conversions, and taxes on earnings withdrawn on Roth IRAs before the 5-year period:

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