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Returning Member

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

I am considering whether to take a distribution of company stock in my 401K and transfer to a brokerage account then report net unrealized appreciation.  I was trying to model this in Turbotax assuming I will receive a 1099R.  For example purposes, I entered the Gross Distribution ($100,000) in Box 1.  Entered taxable amount (basis) in Box 2 for $40,000.  Entered $60,000 in Box 6 for NUA.

TurboTax should only be taxing me for the taxable amount of $40,000.  Instead it is taxing me for the Gross Distribution of $100,000.  


I would appreciate if someone could advise me as to the proper way to fill out the form.  As I do not have an actual 1099-R form in hand, it's guesswork for me at this point.  Thank you.


5 Replies

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

When you take an in-kind distribution of employer securities from your retirement plan as part of a lump-sum distribution, you generally pay tax on the cost basis (the trust’s cost basis for the security) of the securities at ordinary income rates in the year of the distribution. A 10% penalty may apply before age 59½.

The employer securities are then held in a nonqualified brokerage account and any gains, either while the securities were in plan or after the securities were distributed from the plan, are not taxed until you sell them.

When you sell the securities, you will pay taxes at the long-term capital gains rate on any NUA and the applicable short or long-term capital gains rate on any additional appreciation since distribution. The applicable capital gains rate on any additional appreciation depends on the holding period after the distribution from the retirement plan.


A lump-sum distribution is the distribution or payment within a single tax year of a plan participant's entire balance from all of the employer's qualified plans of one kind (for example, pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plans). Additionally, a lump-sum distribution is a distribution that's paid:

  • Because of the plan participant's death,
  • After the participant reaches age 59½,
  • Because the participant, if an employee, separates from service, or
  • After the participant, if a self-employed individual, becomes totally and permanently disabled.


your scenario does not appear to be a lump sum distribution.


There are additional requirements that must be met as part of the NUA rules. Within one year, you must distribute the entirety of the vested balance held in the plan, including all assets from all of the accounts sponsored by the same employer. Certain qualifying events must also be met. You must have either separated from the company, reached the minimum retirement age for distribution, suffered an injury resulting in total disability, or you must have died.


therefore, as you describe the situation the whole $100K is taxed as ordinary income because it does not meet the NUA rules



on the other hand, if you meet the NUA rules the $40K is taxed as ordinary income and if you sell immediately in the brokerage a/c you get a 1099-B showing proceeds of $60K. With tax basis of zero you now have your $60K LTCG


Assuming when i enter $100 for gross distribution, $40 as taxable, and $60 as NUA only $40 shows up as taxable but I'm using a different version of  Turbotax so why you get $100K as taxable is unknown if that's what you filled in. 


Returning Member

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

Thank you for taking the time to reply- it is much appreciated.  It appears I should find a tax accountant to determine if I qualify to take the NUA treatment.  I am retired from my former company and have a significant amount of company stock in my 401K.  My thought was to have the stock distributed to me then placed into a nonqualified brokerage account for favorable capital gains treatment down the road.  The rest of my 401K would be rolled over from the 401K to an IRA.  This would deplete my 401K balance. However, if I don't meet the qualifications for NUA treatment, I certainly don't want to proceed.  Thanks again for your answer.

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

you have given me more info. orginally, I thought you were taking a partial distribution and thus did not satisfy the NUA rules 


however, if you are retired meet the NUA criteria and have employer stock in your 401(k), under the NUA rules, you can consider rolling only the stock into a brokerage account. The rest can go into an IRA tax deferred.


additionally, the NUA rule cannot be used if they roll the stock over to an IRA and then liquidate it.
and you are taxed as on the cost basis of the stock distributed in kind in the year in which it is taken.


here's more info i copied from another website


As a result, the best practice for NUA distributions is to really scrutinize the cost basis of the employer stock inside the qualified plan, and if necessary cherry pick only the lowest-basis shares for the NUA distribution to ensure the most favorable tax consequences. Fortunately, the NUA rules do allow such flexibility – to take some shares in-kind, and roll over the rest – but that still means it’s necessary to actually do the analysis to determine whether or how many of the NUA-eligible shares should actually be distributed to take advantage of the strategy (or not)!


thus, consulting a tax pro is advisable. 

Level 15

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

It's generally up to the plan administrator to determine if the distribution qualifies for NUA treatment.  If so, the Form 1099-R will be prepared as you indicated (along with code 1, 2 or 7 in box 7 and the IRA/SEP/SIMPLE box unmarked).  Entering such a Form 1099-R (making sure to indicate that you did not move the money to another retirement account but instead "did something else with it") does cause TurboTax to include in taxable income only the amount from box 2a, not the entire gross amount.

Returning Member

Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA)

Thank you!!  You just solved the issue I was having - my error - I was checking the IRA/SEP/SIMPLE box which was causing the entire distribution to be taxed.  Unchecking the box made the calculation work perfectly.   I have asked the plan administrator for the basis of the stock and will proceed from there to determine if this is the best alternative for me.  Many thanks for your assistance - it  is  greatly appreciated. 

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