How Much Tax on 401k After 59 1/2

Once you reach 59 1/2, you can start withdrawing money from your 401(k) without penalty. However, you will still have to pay taxes on the withdrawals. The amount of tax you owe will depend on your tax bracket. If you withdraw money before you reach 59 1/2, you will have to pay a 10% penalty in addition to the income tax. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you are disabled or if you need the money to pay for medical expenses.

Taxable Portion of 401k Withdrawals

Understanding how taxes work on 401k withdrawals after age 59 1/2 is crucial for proper financial planning. Here’s a breakdown of the taxable portion:

  • Pre-tax contributions: Withdrawals from pre-tax 401k contributions are taxed as ordinary income upon withdrawal.
  • Post-tax contributions: Withdrawals from post-tax 401k contributions are not taxed again, but any earnings on these contributions are taxable.
  • Roth 401k contributions: Withdrawals from Roth 401k contributions are tax-free, as they are made with after-tax dollars.

To determine the taxable portion of your 401k withdrawal, consider the following:

Contribution TypeTaxable Portion of Withdrawal
Post-taxEarnings only

It’s important to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional for personalized guidance on your specific situation.

Mandatory vs. Optional Withdrawals

Once you reach age 59½, you’re no longer subject to the 10% early withdrawal penalty on 401(k) withdrawals. However, you are required to start taking minimum withdrawals, known as required minimum distributions (RMDs), once you reach age 72. These withdrawals are subject to income tax. The amount of tax you’ll pay on your RMDs depends on your other income and the amount of your withdrawal.

In addition to RMDs, you may also make optional withdrawals from your 401(k) at any time. These withdrawals are also subject to income tax, but there is no 10% early withdrawal penalty if you’re age 59½ or older.

Type of WithdrawalAge RequirementTax Treatment
RMDs72Subject to income tax
Optional Withdrawals59½Subject to income tax, no 10% early withdrawal penalty

Tax on 401k Withdrawals After Age 59 1/2

Upon reaching age 59 1/2, you can withdraw funds from your 401k without incurring an early withdrawal penalty. However, you will still be subject to income taxes on the withdrawals.

The amount of tax you owe depends on several factors, including your income tax bracket and whether you have made any after-tax contributions to your 401k.

Tax-Free Withdrawals

There are a few ways to withdraw funds from your 401k tax-free:

  • Roth 401k withdrawals
  • 401k loans (must be repaid within 5 years)
  • 401k hardship withdrawals (for certain financial emergencies)


There are a few exceptions to the general rule that 401k withdrawals are taxable after age 59 1/2:

  • Death or disability: If you die or become disabled, your beneficiaries can withdraw funds from your 401k tax-free.
  • Qualified disaster distributions: If you withdraw funds from your 401k to cover expenses related to a federally declared disaster, you can do so tax-free.
  • Health insurance premiums: You can withdraw funds from your 401k to pay for health insurance premiums while you are unemployed.

Tax Table

The following table shows the federal income tax rates for 2023:

Tax BracketTax Rate

Tax Implications after Age 72

Starting from age 72, you’re required to take annual minimum distributions from your traditional 401(k) accounts. These withdrawals are subject to income tax.

  • The minimum distribution amount is calculated using a life expectancy table provided by the IRS.
  • If you don’t withdraw the required amount, you’ll face a 50% penalty tax on the shortfall.

The following table shows the required minimum distribution percentages for different ages:


And there you have it, folks! Everything you need to know about taxes on 401(k) withdrawals after age 59 1/2. Remember, it’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional for personalized advice. I hope this article has helped you navigate the ins and outs of 401(k) withdrawals. Thanks for joining me today. Feel free to drop by again for more financial insights and guidance. Until next time, happy saving and investing!