Retired account holders age 59 1/2 and over can make withdrawals from IRA accounts without penalty, although the funds are subject to income tax, reports About.com. Working IRA account holders must consult account administrators before taking withdrawals. When IRA account holders reach 70 1/2, they must begin required minimum distributions.
IRA account holders between the ages of 59 1/2 and 70 1/2 who are retired can withdraw, and use any amount of funds at any time or hold the assets in the account without withdrawing them, according to the IRS. Some companies allow distributions from IRA accounts for workers over 59 1/2 if employees have been with the company for a minimum amount of time, states AARP. Others allow only partial withdrawals of amounts the employee has contributed but not the employer's contributions, while others allow no distributions at all until retirement.
Required minimum distributions must begin by April 1 of the year after the IRA account holder reaches 70 1/2, unless the account holder is still working, and does not have a 5 percent or more ownership in the company, as reported by the IRS. Required minimum distributions are calculated by dividing the IRA account balance by the account holder's expected lifetime in years, according to an IRS uniform lifetime table. Account holders can withdraw more than the minimum amount, but the excess does not count toward the next year's withdrawal.