Homebuyers, education, disability, etc. exceptions aside, if you are less than 59.5 years old but make a withdrawal of earnings from a Roth IRA account that's been open for more than 5 years, do you also pay the 10% penalty on top of the taxes?

In other words, does the amount of time that the account has been open matter at all if withdrawals are made before age 59.5?

treatment of earnings in roth ira

  • 1
    You don't withdraw earnings from a Roth IRA until you have first withdrawn all contributions and conversions from other tax-deferred plans. Indeed, you cannot specify that you want the withdrawal to count as: the IRS specifies that contributions come out first (always nontaxable and without penalty), then conversions in the order they went in (penalties might apply), and then earnings. Oct 6, 2017 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Yes, there are taxes and penalty on that withdrawal of earnings.

For a withdrawal to be a "qualified distribution", both of the conditions must be true: 1) Roth IRA must be open for at least 5 years, and 2) the person must be age 59.5 or meet one of the other exceptions. Failing to meet both conditions, it is a "non-qualified distribution". And a non-qualified distribution of the earnings part of the money (which would only happen if all the contribution has already been withdrawn) is subject to both tax and penalty. See Figure 2-1 in Publication 590-B for a flow-chart that describes whether a withdrawal from Roth IRA is a qualified distribution or not.


Take a look at this section of the IRS tax code 590: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p590b#en_US_2016_publink1000231061

There is an "and" between the 59½ part and the > 5 years part. Both requirements must be met for the distribution to be qualified. There are other exceptions and the chart below may be helpful.

Roth IRA qualified distribution flowchart

  • That flowchart doesn't answer the question, because the final box reads "it may be subject to the 10% additional tax" which doesn't tell you whether the penalty applies or not.
    – Ben Voigt
    Dec 14, 2023 at 16:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .