Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Withholding from TSP distributions

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Q. I am a 62-year-old FERS employee with 29 years of service. I took an age-based withdrawal from my TSP account at 59 from which TSP withheld 20 percent off the top and then the remainder was taxed; however, I got the taxed portion back in the next tax year. My question is: If I retire at age 66 with 33 years of service and withdraw my TSP funds at that time, will 20 percent be taken off the top by TSP again? Will I be able to leave funds in TSP and have monthly or annual withdrawals, or would…

Stick with C Fund or move to L2020?

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Q. I am a Foreign Service employee under the FSPS system. I am 50 and will hit 20 years of service this July with 9.5 years military buy-in. Although I am eligible to retire under the FSPS in July, I plan to stay about eight more years. I have been “all-in” with the C Fund since the beginning and have a very healthy nest egg in my TSP. Would you recommend I stick with the C fund until the very end of my career then flip it over to something much safer like the L Income or G fund, or…

Partial withdrawal from TSP

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Q. I retired under the CSRS at age 55 with 35 years of federal government service. I want to purchase a second home by making a one-time partial withdrawal from my Thrift Savings Plan. Is this partial withdrawal subject to the 10% IRS tax under the one-time withdrawal provision? Also, what other penalties are there? A. Since you retired at 55, your TSP withdrawals will not be subject to the early withdrawal or any other penalty.

TSP withdrawals from traditional, Roth accounts

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Q. I have already accumulated a decent amount of money in the TSP Traditional plan. I was planning to take a break from contributing to the traditional plan and to start heavily funding the TSP Roth plan instead, with the goal of eventually withdrawing those same contributions in several years when I am looking to buy a house. I understand people can withdraw contributions from a Roth IRA as long as the Roth account has been open for five years. If I withdrew all of the Roth TSP contributions at some time (after five years), would I be required to also…

Penalty-free TSP withdrawals?

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Q. I am turning 50 years old next year and want to retire as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer with 24 years of service. Can I, under the 72t rule, withdraw an equal substantial sum for 10 years and not pay an early-withdrawal penalty? For example, if I have $10,000 in TSP, can I take $1,000 each year for 10 years with no penalty to supplement my income? A. You may avoid the early withdrawal penalty by taking as series of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments that continue until you reach age 59 1/2, but you must take exactly and only…

Consider options before rolling over TSP

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Q. I am a CSRS employee (34 years) anticipating retirement within the next few months. I will be receiving a healthy CSRS annuity and also have substantial funds in a TSP account. My debts are paid off, my needs are simple, and frankly I can easily meet my monthly expenses with the CSRS annuity alone. I don’t need the additional annuity from the TSP when I turn 70 and a half, but I suppose I will have to take it anyway. I would like to have the flexibility to use the my money in the TSP as an emergency fund if…

Calculating RMDs

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Q. I think that RMDs are calculated using the account balances as of the “end of last year.” What I am not clear on is whether the person’s age used is as of the end of last year or the end of this year, and whether the rules are different for a traditional IRA at a brokerage firm versus the TSP. IRS Pub 590 page 36 says: “To figure the required minimum distribution for 2014, divide your account balance at the end of 2013 by the distribution period from the table. This is the distribution period listed next to your…

Taxed twice on TSP distribution?

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Q. I am a FERS retiree. I receive a small annuity and Medicare; both are taxed. This year, however, I made a partial distribution from my TSP account (federal taxes of $17,000 were withheld). As I prepared my taxes I found that the TSP withdrawal combined with my annuity and Medicare puts me in a higher tax bracket, and now I owe $10,000 more in taxes. How do I offset this obligation if the TSP taxes were already paid? Can I file the TSP distribution separately or transfer it to a Roth account? A. The $17,000 was not tax; it was…

TSP consolidation

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Q. I came to federal service late in my career. I am approaching my five-year anniversary and am a term employee subject to a July 1, 2015, departure. I have several small investments in IRA Variable annuities and a college annuity with TIAA-CREF. None of these other funds have much in them, but between the TSP and these other funds, there is approximately $150,000 in assets. My reading in your columns and others leads me to the conclusion that I should consolidate into my TSP to the extent possible, even though my time is short. My costs with my IRAs…

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