What Is the Difference Between IRA Withdrawals and Distributions?


Quick Answer

Withdrawing money from an individual retirement account at any age is a distribution, according to Fidelity. There are penalties for early withdrawal for IRA holders under age 59 1/2 and minimum required distributions for those over age 70 1/2.

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What Is the Difference Between IRA Withdrawals and Distributions?
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Full Answer

The penalty for early withdrawal of funds from an IRA is generally 10 percent of the amount withdrawn, according to Fidelity as of 2015. However, if withdrawing the funds from the account for qualifying events, the account holder is able to avoid the penalty by filing the appropriate form with the IRS.

Upon reaching 59 1/2, IRA holders are able to withdraw funds from the account without any penalty, according to the IRS. The account holder is responsible to pay taxes on the funds at his current tax level. This allows the account holder to begin using the IRA savings for retirement funding.

With traditional IRA accounts, the IRS requires him to take distributions from the account once the account holder reaches 70 1/2. There are severe penalties for account holders that do not take the minimum required distributions, as stated by Fidelity. There are no exceptions for simple IRA holders, even those who continue working past age 70 1/2, as indicated by the IRS. Roth IRAs do not include the minimum required distributions.

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