Penalties for TSP partial withdrawal


Q: I have recently left federal service on a deferred retirement. I have about 27 years of service and am 50 years old (49 when I left service). If I withdrawal part of my Thrift Savings Plan account, is there a penalty, or do I simply have to pay income tax on the withdrawn amount? I have some very unexpected bills with the death of my son and do not want to pay monthly payments for a loan. I plan to withdraw about $50,000. 

A: It sounds like you’ll be subject to the penalty unless you can meet one of the allowed exceptions, which include taking a series of “substantially equal periodic payments” as described in IRS code section 72(t). You can find more information in the tax notice here or by consulting a qualified tax adviser.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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