defer to other answer ... I was 1/2 asleep this am ... however you will need to file a return to use the medical exclusion ...
5. Unreimbursed Medical Expenses
You can avoid the early withdrawal penalty if you took money from a qualified retirement plan up to the amount you paid for unreimbursed medical expenses, minus 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the year.
Q. Can I withdraw from my IRA to pay a $3,000 dental bill penalty (and tax) free? My adjusted gross income is 0.
A. Simple answer: yes.
Medical expenses is an exception to the 10% penalty, but not the tax. The distribution, itself, would normally be taxable. But the fact that your AGI is 0 means that the income ($3000) is not enough to result in taxable income, after applying the standard dedution. Note: if you are somebody else's dependent, you don't get the full $12,400 standard deduction. If you are a dependent, that small amount could be subject to tax.
@Critter-3 's comment that "you can take out the contributions at any time tax free" only applies to Roth IRAs, not traditional IRAs.
Thank you. Yes, traditional IRA.
I have about 7 bills related to implants and crown, do you know if I need to submit these with my TurboTax online return and, if so, how do I submit them? Thanks again. I’m guessing TT will insert the numbers for me somewhere, somehow.
You will get a 1099-R in January from the IRA custodian to enter into the program and simply follow the interview screens ... if you get stuck at some point ask for help at that time.
Q. I have about 7 bills related to implants and crown, do I need to submit these with my TurboTax online return?
A. No. "Proof" only comes later, if you are "audited" and that's highly unlikely.
Q. I’m guessing TT will insert the numbers for me somewhere, somehow.
A. Yes. TT will prepare form 5329 to claim the penalty exception and put the taxable amount of the 1099-R on line 4b of form 1040.
If you aren't required to file a 2021 income tax return, because your income is too low, you can complete and file Form 5329 by itself, to document the penalty exception. The form has to be mailed, when filed alone, it cannot be e-filed. You only need to do Part I, so you should be able to do it by hand. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5329.pdf
You have to take the IRA hardship withdrawal during the same calendar year that you paid your medical bills. In addition, there is a 7.5% of AGI threshold (your AGI most likely is $3000). This essentially means you needed +/- $3225 of medical expenses for a $3000 IRA distribution to be totally penalty free.
I would file a regular tax return, because it can be e-filed. A 5329 by itself can only be filed by mail and the IRS is very backlogged on paper returns.
Because of how the 7.5% threshold works, you either need to cover some of the expenses yourself or pay a little tax. If your medical expenses were $3000 exactly and you withdrew $3000, then your AGI is $3000 and 7.5% of your AGI is $225. That means that only $2775 of the withdrawal is qualified for the exception and you would owe $23 as a 10% penalty.
If Turbotax tries to charge you to file your return because it includes a "situation not included in free Turbotax" (i.e. the form 5329), I would look for another software provider that has free filing for low income taxpayers.
You CAN efile the return because your AGI will NOT be zero because of the IRA distribution to report. Your TAXABLE income will be zero. The 5329 for the penalty exception will be part of the return you efile.
You will NOT be eligible to use the FREE Turbo Tax option so don't even try.
To efile the return for FREE you will need to use one of the IRS FREE FILE options that becomes available mid to late January ONLY thru the IRS website here : https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free