Tax Tip of the Day: Should I Borrow from My 401(k)?

The flagging state of the economy has left many individuals and families to cope with rising gas prices and food costs, struggle with their mortgage and rent payments, and manage credit card debt and other common monthly bills. Whether individuals are contemplating how to pay off their credit card or obtain a mortgage amid the “credit crunch” and “economic downturn,” many people may be considering alternative sources of financing to reach their goals, including the tapping of a retirement account.

You can generally withdraw funds from your 401(k) three ways: through regular distributions, hardship withdrawals or plan loans. Many employers have adopted 401(k) plan provisions that allow employees to borrow money from their retirement account. Although borrowing from your 401(k) may be an option, there are several important considerations you should take into account before tapping your retirement fund.

If certain requirements are not met, a loan from your 401(k) plan will be treated as a premature distribution for tax purposes, subjecting you to current income tax at ordinary rates plus a 10 percent early withdrawal penalty on the amount distributed, certain requirements must be met. You must repay a loan from your 401(k) within five years, subject to only one exception for a loan used to make a first-time home purchase (a principal residence, not a vacation or secondary home). This “residence exception” allows for a loan term as long as 30 years. Loan repayments must be made at least every quarter, and are generally automatically deducted from your paycheck. If you are unable to repay the loan and default, the IRS treats the outstanding loan balance as a premature distribution from your 401(k), subject to income tax and the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty. Additionally, most plan terms require that you repay the loan within 60 days if you leave or lose your job.

Because of the significant tax and financial consequences from taking a loan from your 401(k) or other retirement account, you should consult with a tax professional before doing so. We’d be pleased to discuss the implications of, and alternatives to, borrowing from your 401(k) or another retirement account.

Please contact our office for more information on this subject and how it pertains to your specific tax or financial situation.

Get tax tips right here every day through April 15—exclusively from Berrios & Associates, Inc. on Danshamptons.com! 

Berrios & Associates, Inc.
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About Berrios & Associates, Inc.

Since 1999, Berrios & Associates, Inc. has been providing a distinctive mixture of leadership-knowledge, and customer service satisfying client needs in advisory, tax, and outsourcing. Serving a diverse client base from individuals and sole proprietors to private corporations with nationwide and international locations. In the domain of accounting firms, Berrios & Associates has engraved a distinctive business based on diverse solutions through the interpersonal relationship of corporate and personal tax, corporate back office support, and business growth advisory. The firm directs clients through their everyday operations to ensure they have the right business model in place to meet their business goals.

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