Closing an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) and giving the money to your children can have significant tax implications for you. It’s crucial to understand these implications to make an informed decision. Let’s break down the process and the potential tax consequences.
Understanding IRA Withdrawals
- Withdrawal Rules: Contributions to Traditional IRAs are made with pre-tax money, lowering your taxable income for the year and offering immediate tax savings. However, taxes are owed on withdrawals in retirement at your then-current rate.
- Early Withdrawal Penalties: In the event that you withdraw funds from your IRA prior to attaining the age of 59½, a 10% early withdrawal penalty will typically be levied, in addition to the standard income tax liability.
Tax Implications for You
When you close your IRA and withdraw the funds, you are subject to the following:
- Income Tax: Depending on your total income and the amount you withdraw, the withdrawal could increase your taxable income for the year and potentially push you into a higher tax bracket, which would mean a larger tax bill.
- Penalty: If under 59½, the additional 10% penalty may apply.
Gifting Money to Your Children
After withdrawing the funds, if you decide to gift them to your children, consider the following:
- Annual Gift Tax Exclusion: For 2023, you can gift up to $16,000 per recipient without incurring any gift tax or needing to report the gift. This amount is periodically adjusted for inflation.
- Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption: If you exceed the annual exclusion, you may use your lifetime gift tax exemption (about $12.06 million as of 2023). Gifts above the annual exclusion must be reported, but tax may only be due once you surpass the lifetime limit.
Tax Implications for Your Children
- No Income Tax for Receiving Gifts: Generally, your children will not have to pay income tax on the money they receive as a gift.
- Potential Future Implications: However, if they invest the money and earn income from it (like interest or dividends), that income will be subject to tax. Also any gain on the asset may be exposed to tax liability.
- Financial Goals and Retirement Planning: Consider how this decision fits into your retirement plan. Withdrawing funds from your IRA reduces your retirement savings.
- Consult a Financial Advisor: Facing a tangled mess of tax laws and personal finance challenges? Consider taking advantage of the expertise of a financial advisor or tax professional. They can equip you with personalized strategies based on your individual situation.
- Alternative Strategies: Explore other ways to support your children financially that might be more tax-efficient, such as paying for education expenses directly.
In summary, if you close your IRA and gift the money to your children, you will face income tax (and potentially a penalty if under 59½), but your children won’t have to pay income tax on the received gift. Be mindful of the annual gift tax exclusion and the impact on your retirement savings.
Unsure how this applies to your unique situation? Don’t go it alone! Contact a trusted financial advisor to tailor a tax-efficient plan that supports your child and secures your future.
Disclaimer: When dealing with legal and tax matters, make sure you obtain advice from a licensed and authorized professional. The information in this article is meant as information only and should not be used as advice on any specific situation.
Many people have learned about the power of using the Safe Money approach to reduce volatility. Our Safe Money Guide is in its 20th edition and is available for free.
It is an Instant Download. Here is a link to download our guide: