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Publication 17

Chapter 10
Retirement Plans, Pensions, and Annuities(p76)


Net Investment Income Tax.(p76)
For purposes of the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT), net investment income does not include distributions from a qualified retirement plan (for example, 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, 408A, or 457(b) plans). However, these distributions are taken into account when determining the modified adjusted gross income threshold. Distributions from a nonqualified retirement plan are included in net investment income. See Form 8960, Net Investment Income Tax - Individuals, Estates, and Trusts, and its instructions for more information.
In-plan Roth rollovers.(p76)
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 expanded the rules for in-plan Roth rollovers to include more taxpayers. For more information, see Designated Roth accounts discussed later.
This chapter discusses the tax treatment of distributions you receive from:

What is not covered in this chapter.(p76)

The following topics are not discussed in this chapter.
The General Rule. (p76)
This is the method generally used to determine the tax treatment of pension and annuity income from nonqualified plans (including commercial annuities). For a qualified plan, you generally cannot use the General Rule unless your annuity starting date is before November 19, 1996. For more information about the General Rule, see Publication 939, General Rule for Pensions and Annuities.
Individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). (p76)
Information on the tax treatment of amounts you receive from an IRA is in chapter 17.
Civil service retirement benefits. (p76)
If you are retired from the federal government (regular, phased, or disability retirement), see Publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits. Publication 721 also covers the information that you need if you are the survivor or beneficiary of a federal employee or retiree who died.


Useful items

You may want to see:

 575 Pension and Annuity Income
 721 Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits
 939 General Rule for Pensions and Annuities
Form (and Instructions)
 W-4P: Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments
 1099-R: Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.
 4972: Tax on Lump-Sum Distributions
 5329: Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts

General Information(p76)


Designated Roth accounts.(p76)

A designated Roth account is a separate account created under a qualified Roth contribution program to which participants may elect to have part or all of their elective deferrals to a 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plan designated as Roth contributions. Elective deferrals that are designated as Roth contributions are included in your income. However, qualified distributions are not included in your income. See Publication 575 for more information.
In-plan rollovers to designated Roth accounts.(p76)
If you are a participant in a 401(k), 403(b), or 457(b) plan, your plan may permit you to roll over amounts in those plans to a designated Roth account within the same plan. The rollover of any untaxed amounts must be included in income in the year you receive the distribution. See Publication 575 for more information.

More than one program.(p76)

If you receive benefits from more than one program under a single trust or plan of your employer, such as a pension plan and a profit-sharing plan, you may have to figure the taxable part of each pension or annuity contract separately. Your former employer or the plan administrator should be able to tell you if you have more than one pension or annuity contract.

Section 457 deferred compensation plans.(p76)

If you work for a state or local government or for a tax-exempt organization, you may be able to participate in a section 457 deferred compensation plan. If your plan is an eligible plan, you are not taxed currently on pay that is deferred under the plan or on any earnings from the plan's investment of the deferred pay. You are generally taxed on amounts deferred in an eligible state or local government plan only when they are distributed from the plan. You are taxed on amounts deferred in an eligible tax-exempt organization plan when they are distributed or otherwise made available to you.
Your 457(b) plan may have a designated Roth account option. If so, you may be able to roll over amounts to the designated Roth account or make contributions. Elective deferrals to a designated Roth account are included in your income. Qualified distributions from a designated Roth account are not subject to tax.
This chapter covers the tax treatment of benefits under eligible section 457 plans, but it does not cover the treatment of deferrals. For information on deferrals under section 457 plans, see Retirement Plan Contributions under Employee Compensation in Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.
For general information on these deferred compensation plans, see Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plans in Publication 575.

Disability pensions.(p76)

If you retired on disability, you generally must include in income any disability pension you receive under a plan that is paid for by your employer. You must report your taxable disability payments as wages on line 7 of Form 1040 or Form 1040A until you reach minimum retirement age. Minimum retirement age generally is the age at which you can first receive a pension or annuity if you are not disabled.
You may be entitled to a tax credit if you were permanently and totally disabled when you retired. For information on the credit for the elderly or the disabled, see chapter 33.
Beginning on the day after you reach minimum retirement age, payments you receive are taxable as a pension or annuity. Report the payments on Form 1040, lines 16a and 16b, or on Form 1040A, lines 12a and 12b.
Disability payments for injuries incurred as a direct result of a terrorist attack directed against the United States (or its allies) are not included in income. For more information about payments to survivors of terrorist attacks, see Publication 3920, Tax Relief for Victims of Terrorist Attacks.
For more information on how to report disability pensions, including military and certain government disability pensions, see chapter 5.

Retired public safety officers.(p76)

An eligible retired public safety officer can elect to exclude from income distributions of up to $3,000 made directly from a government retirement plan to the provider of accident, health, or long-term disability insurance. See Insurance Premiums for Retired Public Safety Officers in Publication 575 for more information.

Railroad retirement benefits.(p76)

Part of any railroad retirement benefits you receive is treated for tax purposes as social security benefits, and part is treated as an employee pension. For information about railroad retirement benefits treated as social security benefits, see Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. For information about railroad retirement benefits treated as an employee pension, see Railroad Retirement Benefits in Publication 575.

Withholding and estimated tax.(p77)

The payer of your pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, annuity, or deferred compensation plan will withhold income tax on the taxable parts of amounts paid to you. You can tell the payer how much to withhold, or not to withhold, by filing Form W-4P. If you choose not to have tax withheld, or you do not have enough tax withheld, you may have to pay estimated tax.
If you receive an eligible rollover distribution, you cannot choose not to have tax withheld. Generally, 20% will be withheld, but no tax will be withheld on a direct rollover of an eligible rollover distribution. See Direct rollover option under Rollovers, later.
For more information, see Pensions and Annuities under Tax Withholding for 2015 in chapter 4.

Qualified plans for self-employed individuals.(p77)

Qualified plans set up by self-employed individuals are sometimes called Keogh or H.R. 10 plans. Qualified plans can be set up by sole proprietors, partnerships (but not a partner), and corporations. They can cover self-employed persons, such as the sole proprietor or partners, as well as regular (common-law) employees.
Distributions from a qualified plan are usually fully taxable because most recipients have no cost basis. If you have an investment (cost) in the plan, however, your pension or annuity payments from a qualified plan are taxed under the Simplified Method. For more information about qualified plans, see Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business.

Purchased annuities.(p77)

If you receive pension or annuity payments from a privately purchased annuity contract from a commercial organization, such as an insurance company, you generally must use the General Rule to figure the tax-free part of each annuity payment. For more information about the General Rule, get Publication 939. Also, see Variable Annuities in Publication 575 for the special provisions that apply to these annuity contracts.


If you borrow money from your retirement plan, you must treat the loan as a nonperiodic distribution from the plan unless certain exceptions apply. This treatment also applies to any loan under a contract purchased under your retirement plan, and to the value of any part of your interest in the plan or contract that you pledge or assign. This means that you must include in income all or part of the amount borrowed. Even if you do not have to treat the loan as a nonperiodic distribution, you may not be able to deduct the interest on the loan in some situations. For details, see Loans Treated as Distributions in Publication 575. For information on the deductibility of interest, see chapter 23.

Tax-free exchange.(p77)

No gain or loss is recognized on an exchange of an annuity contract for another annuity contract if the insured or annuitant remains the same. However, if an annuity contract is exchanged for a life insurance or endowment contract, any gain due to interest accumulated on the contract is ordinary income. See Transfers of Annuity Contracts in Publication 575 for more information about exchanges of annuity contracts.

How To Report(p77)

If you file Form 1040, report your total annuity on line 16a and the taxable part on line 16b. If your pension or annuity is fully taxable, enter it on line 16b; do not make an entry on line 16a.
If you file Form 1040A, report your total annuity on line 12a and the taxable part on line 12b. If your pension or annuity is fully taxable, enter it on line 12b; do not make an entry on line 12a.

More than one annuity.(p77)

If you receive more than one annuity and at least one of them is not fully taxable, enter the total amount received from all annuities on Form 1040, line 16a, or Form 1040A, line 12a, and enter the taxable part on Form 1040, line 16b, or Form 1040A, line 12b. If all the annuities you receive are fully taxable, enter the total of all of them on Form 1040, line 16b, or Form 1040A, line 12b.

Joint return.(p77)

If you file a joint return and you and your spouse each receive one or more pensions or annuities, report the total of the pensions and annuities on Form 1040, line 16a, or Form 1040A, line 12a, and report the taxable part on Form 1040, line 16b, or Form 1040A, line 12b.