Cashing out IRA

Closed Thread
  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Cashing out IRA

    I have both IRA and Roth IRA accounts in the U.S., which I am considering cashing out. I understand there are tax penalties for doing that before retirement age. However, I am not going to retire in the U.S. and the amounts in my accounts are not going to give me any meaningful retirement income anyway. So I wonder what kind of penalties I will be facing if I do indeed choose to cash them out while being a resident of a foreign country (i.e. Hong Kong). Is there anyone out there who has the experience or who is a U.S. tax accountant? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2

    Here is some info:

    Distribution of funds

    Although funds can be distributed from an IRA at any time, there are limited circumstances when money can be distributed, or withdrawn from the account, without penalties. Unless an exception applies, money can typically be withdrawn penalty free as taxable income from an IRA once the account owner reaches age 59 and a half. Also, non-Roth account owners must begin taking distributions of at least the calculated minimum amounts by April 1st of the year after reaching age 70 and a half. If the minimum distribution is not taken the penalty is 50% of the amount that should have been taken. The amount that must be taken is calculated based on a factor taken from the appropriate IRS table and is based on the life expectancy of the account owner and possibly their spouse as beneficiary if applicable. At the death of the account owner distributions must continue and if there is a designated beneficiary, distributions can be based on the life expectancy of the beneficiary.

    There are several exceptions to the rule that penalties apply to distributions before age 59½. Each exception has detailed rules that must be followed to be exempt from penalties. The exceptions include:[2]

    * The portion of unreimbursed medical expenses that are more than 7.5% of adjusted gross income.
    * Distributions that are not more than the cost of medical insurance while unemployed
    * Disability (defined as not being able to engage in any substantial gainful activity)
    * Amounts distributed to beneficiaries of a deceased IRA owner.
    * Distributions in the form of an annuity, see Substantially equal periodic payments
    * Distributions that are not more than the qualified higher education expenses of the owner or their children or grandchildren
    * Distributions to buy, build, or rebuild a first home. ($10,000 lifetime maximum)
    * Distribution due to an IRS levy of the plan.

    There are a number of other important details that govern different situations. For Roth IRA's with only contributed funds the basis can be withdrawn before age 59½ without penalty (or tax) on a first in first out basis, and a penalty would apply only on any growth (the taxable amount) that was taken out before 59½ where an exception didn't apply. Amounts converted from a traditional to a Roth IRA must stay in the account for a minimum of 5 years to avoid having a penalty on withdrawal of basis unless one of the above exceptions applies.

    I think the above rule will applied no matter where you live.


  3. #3

    I would od this


    I would cash out capital of ROTH IRA that has more that five years and live on that.

    Every year, I would convert max IRA to Roth IRA (say married file joint of $16,000) so that I don't pay tax.

    The plan is live on capital of Roth IRA meanwhile roll IRA to Roth IRA.

    If your IRA are more than five years, you will pay no tax to uncle SAM.

    Hope this help.

    You do want to talk to your accoutant. Feel free to PM. I am in US, planning to retire in Hong Kong alsl