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ScudS
Level 2

401k education withdrawal

I am trying to understand the implications of an early 401k withdrawal for mostly education expenses.  Say I withdrew $60,000 for education expenses but I had grossed it up $12,000 (20%) to cover income taxes due on the withdrawal for a total of $72,000 withdrawn.  Am I allowed to report the $72,000 as education expenses to avoid paying the 10% penalty on both amounts?  Otherwise I am paying a 10% penalty or $1,200 which seems wrong.  Any advice?

4 Replies
MinhT1
Expert Alumni

401k education withdrawal

The exception to the 10% tax penalty on early distributions for qualified higher education expenses only applies to IRA, SEP and Simple IRA plans. It does not apply to withdrawals for 401(k) plans.

 

Please see this IRS document for more information.

 

In any case, you have to apply the gross distribution to the education expenses. The tax withheld is for you to take care of.

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ScudS
Level 2

401k education withdrawal

To clarify, I meant to say IRA not 401k.  Sorry about that.

 

ScudS
Level 2

401k education withdrawal

Too clarify, when you say gross distribution you are saying the $72,000 in the example I had provided correct?

AnnetteB6
Expert Alumni

401k education withdrawal

You are allowed to apply the exception to the early distribution penalty on the amount that was spent on education expenses.  If you spent only $60,000, then you will owe the penalty on the other $12,000.  You would need to have spent $72,000 on the education expenses in order to apply the exception to the total distribution.

 

 

@ScudS

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