Rule 72(t)

DEFINITION of 'Rule 72(t)'

An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that allows for penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA account. The rule requires that, in order for the IRA owner to take penalty-free early withdrawals, he or she must take at least five "substantially equal periodic payments" (SEPPs). The amount depends on the IRA owner's life expectancy calculated with various IRS-approved methods.

BREAKING DOWN 'Rule 72(t)'

Rule 72(t) allows you to take advantage of your retirement savings before the age of 59.5, when there is otherwise a 10% penalty on early withdrawal. The withdrawals, however, are still taxed at your income rate. The drawback to taking advantage of Rule 72(t) is that you may deplete your retirement accounts well before the end of your life expectancy. By taking out your funds early you are putting yourself in jeopardy in the future.

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