Q. I am 47 and hope to retire at my minimum retirement age in nine years. I contribute to both my traditional Thrift Savings Plan and Roth TSP. A publication I read, “Important Tax Information about Payments from Your TSP Account,” says you will not have to pay taxes for Roth contributions if you follow a two-step rule: Hold for five years + age 59½. But I think it also says that if I transfer my Roth TSP out of the TSP when I retire, the monies will not be subject to taxes. Is this correct?
Can I only roll over my Roth TSP and keep my traditional TSP with the TSP or must I roll over both the Roth and traditional? I ask because I would like to keep my traditional TSP where it is and only roll over the Roth to avoid taxes on distributions that occur before age 59½.
A. The five-year + 59½ rule applies only to earnings, but it applies to both your Roth TSP and a Roth IRA account. You may always withdraw your contributions from either account without tax or penalty. You may transfer all or part of your Roth TSP balance to a Roth IRA, if you are eligible for a partial withdrawal, and leave the remainder in your TSP account, using Form TSP-77.