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Taxes & Penalties on Pensions

Apr 19, 2022, 10:41 AM by MOSERS
If I take early retirement next year (2023), at age 57, with 15 years of service, will I be penalized with taxes for taking my pension?
Taxes and penalties on early retirement benefits

Your MOSERS benefit is subject to normal federal taxes. It is also subject to normal Missouri state income taxes if you are a resident of Missouri. However, if you are a Missouri resident, you may qualify for the Public Pension Exemption.

Visit the Missouri Department of Revenue's Public Pension Exemption page or read our Missouri Public Pension Exemption flyer for more information.

IRS Tax Penalties: Taking your MOSERS defined benefit (DB) pension at age 57 does not subject it to IRS tax penalties. However, taxes and/or penalties related to other distributions include:

  • There may be a 10% IRS tax penalty if you are younger than age 59 ½ at the time of payment, elect BackDROP*, and take a lump-sum cash payment. If you terminate employment in or after the year you reach age 55, this penalty will not apply. Additionally, MOSERS is required to withhold 20% of a BackDROP cash payment for federal taxes. More details are available in the Special Tax Notice brochure on our website. In such a situation, you can avoid the IRS tax penalty by rolling over the BackDROP payment to a qualified retirement account such as with MO Deferred Comp and not withdrawing it until you meet all IRS regulations (generally speaking, that is after you attain age 59 1/2 but there are exceptions, see page 4 of the Special Tax Notice brochure (BackDROP and Refunds), including one for public safety employees).
  • If you have made pre-tax contributions to the MO Deferred Comp plan (an internal revenue code section 457(b) plan), distributions from that plan following retirement or termination of service at any age are subject to ordinary income tax only.
  • Employer “match” contributions made on behalf of an employee to a 401(a) plan are subject to an additional 10% penalty if withdrawn prior to age 59 1/2.

Be sure to check with your financial institution or a tax advisor for information about your tax liability when you begin withdrawing your funds.

*BackDROP is available only to general state employees who are members of MSEP & MSEP 2000 and who work at least two years beyond normal retirement eligibility.

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