As with a Traditional IRA, withdrawals from a SEP IRA will be added to your income and taxed accordingly. SEP IRA distributions are meant to occur at retirement age when you're ideally in a lower tax bracket. For instance, you could earn $10,000 and pay 32% in taxes, or you could defer those taxes by contributing that money to a SEP IRA. Perhaps you'll be in a 25% tax bracket when you start taking distributions. Earnings yielded through your alternative IRA investments will bear these same tax advantages.
You may distribute cash or assets from your SEP IRA at any time, though a 10% early distribution penalty will apply. This penalty will be assessed on top of any applicable taxes.
Upon reaching age 59½, you will no longer have to worry about the 10% early distribution penalty. Withdrawals will be taxed as regular income and need only occur at your election.
You must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) every year. RMDs are calculated in accordance with your age and your account value.
How do you calculate an RMD?
The base RMD calculation is your end-of-year account value from the previous calendar year (i.e. the value of your account as of December 31st) divided by a factor associated with your age. Other factors may affect the calculation as well, so please consult with your accountant or tax professional.
When is your first RMD due?
Your first RMD will come due April 1st, the calendar year after you turn 70½. For example, if you turn 70½ on January 1, 2019, you have until April 1, 2020 to take your first RMD. You would make the calculation based on your account value as of December 31, 2018. The SECURE Act made significant changes to RMD requirements for anyone turning 70½ after 12/31/2019. If you turn 70½ in 2020 or later, you won't need to start taking RMDs until after attaining age 72.
After the first one, when are RMDs due in future years?
All subsequent RMDs must be taken by December 31st every year. In our prior example, if you take your first (2018) RMD on April 1, 2020, you have until December 31, 2020 to take another distribution for 2020 (based on your account value as of December 31, 2019).
Do you have to take RMDs from every pre-tax account you hold?
You may owe RMDs from multiple accounts, but you're under no obligation to make actual withdrawals from each one. Let's say you have a SEP IRA and a Traditional IRA; you calculate an RMD of $500 for the Traditional IRA and $1,000 for the SEP. You could take those distributions separately, or you could take a $1,500 lump distribution from either account. As long as the cumulative required minimum is satisfied, the IRS doesn't care about which accounts produce the taxable events.
You may distribute from a SEP IRA prior to age 59½ and avoid the 10% penalty under the following circumstances:
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