Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Early retirement penalty

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Q. I am 50 and I retired as a firefighter (Special Category) on Dec. 31, 2013, with 25 years and 10 months of service. I want to withdraw my TSP but I’m being told by TSP that they withhold 20 percent for taxes and my accountant is telling me that I will have to pay 10 percent for a penalty because I retired early. I looked into the IRS publications 575 and 721 and they state I don’t get charged a penalty.
A. Sorry, but your accountant is right unless you qualify for one of the exceptions on Page 7 of the notice at https://www.tsp.gov/PDF/formspubs/tsp-536.pdf.

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