Earnings in Roth IRAs accumulate on a tax-deferred basis, but eventually become tax-free if distributions are qualified. The determination of whether a Roth IRA distribution is qualified is fairly simple. On the other hand, determining whether any portion of a non-qualified Roth distribution is taxable is a more involved process. The following guidelines can be used to help determine whether a Roth IRA distribution is qualified, and if it’s not qualified, the possible tax consequences that may apply.
Roth IRA Distributions
A qualified Roth IRA distribution is one that meets the following two requirements:
1.It occurs at least five years after the owner established and funded his/her first Roth IRA and
2.It occurs under one of the following circumstances:
oAfter the owner reaches 59 ½,
oThe distribution was used towards the purchase, building or rebuilding the first home for an eligible party. This is subject to a life-time limit of $10,000,
oThe distribution occurs after the owner is disabled or
oThe distribution was made by beneficiaries after the owner’s death.
A distribution that meets these two requirements is tax and penalty free.