dsimpson Posted January 27, 2017 Report Share Posted January 27, 2017 I turned 70 ½ this year and began making mandatory IRA withdrawals. I received a big surprise when I began to file my tax returns. I am retired military and, for 16 years after retirement, I worked for a civilian company and made contributions to a 401k plan. During my peak earning years, my marginal tax rate was 25%. The money that I was putting into my 401k would have been taxed at that rate. I retired from that company and when eligible, I made a couple of withdrawals from my 401k to supplement my military pension. The year before I began drawing Social Security, I made a 401k withdrawal which raised my federal income tax an amount that translated to a 14% tax on the 401k withdrawal. And that illustrates the advantage of the 401k tax deferred income – income that would have been taxed at 25% was actually taxed at 14%. As the above example illustrates and I was led to expect, when I began making 401k withdrawals, my marginal tax rate would be lower than when I made my contributions into my 401k plan. And that remains true today for me. My marginal tax rate this year is 15%. But when I start making mandatory withdrawals from my 401k this year, I will be paying 27% of that in increased taxes. How can that be? The amount of Social Security that is taxable depends on income. Since I receive a military pension, a portion of my Social Security is taxable. So, even though I remain at a marginal tax rate of 15%, my taxes increase much more than 15% of my 401k withdrawal because the taxable portion of my social security income will increase by a large amount. This year, my taxes will increase by 27% of my 401k withdrawal, higher than my marginal tax rate when I made the contribution to my 401k plan. Now, I’m not expecting any sympathy for a triple-dipper. I just wanted those in my situation to be aware. If I had it to do all over, I would have made much larger 401k withdrawals each year prior to starting Social Security and delayed drawing Social Security until a later age. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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