How are annuities taxed?

Annuities can be funded with either pre-tax (qualified) or post-tax (non-qualified) dollars, each offering different tax benefits and considerations. Whether you're rolling an old 401(k) or simply using a checking account, you'll learn all about taxation.

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Nicholas Crown
Updated on
July 11, 2024

Your Funding Source Matters

One of the most popular questions when it comes to annuities is, "How are they taxed?"

While all annuities grow tax-deferred, it matters on how you've funded your annuity.

Qualified vs. Non-Qualified Funding

Annuities can be funded with pre-tax (qualified) or post-tax (non-qualified) dollars, each with its own set of advantages and considerations.

Again, all annuities offer tax deferral, which means you don't pay taxes on the earnings until you withdraw them.

Qualified Annuities (Pre-Tax)

A qualified annuity is funded with pre-tax dollars, often through a direct rollover from a 401(k), 403(b), IRA, Roth IRA, or TSP. An old employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k), is transferred into a new IRA setup by the insurance carrier when rolled into an annuity. A direct rollover is a non-taxable, penalty-free event.

This generally involves a phone call and submitting signed 1035 transfer paperwork to your 401(k) custodian. At Revise, we handle this entirely for you.

You'll be subject to the same contribution thresholds as an IRA, which are:

 - Under Age 50: $7,000 annually.

 - Age 50 and Older: $8,000 annually (includes a $1,000 catch-up contribution).

 - Withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income.

 - Early withdrawals (before age 59½) incur a 10% penalty plus income taxes, with exceptions like first-time home purchase, qualified education expenses, or substantial medical costs.

 - Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) start at age 72 (after age 73 starting in 2023 if you turn 72 on or after January 1, 2023).

Here's why this is a popular option:

Tax-Free Rollover: You can move funds directly from your 401(k) or IRA to an annuity without paying taxes immediately.

Lower Fees: Often, you can save on administrative costs compared to maintaining funds within a 401(k).

Hands-Free Management: Many annuities offer professional management, potentially yielding better returns than mutual funds within a 401(k).

However, one limitation is that you cannot actively manage the index tied to your annuity. Instead, you typically have the option to elect a new index only once per year.

Non-Qualified Annuities (Post-Tax)

Post-tax, or non-qualified annuities, are funded with after-tax dollars. There are fewer limitations or regulations here to consider.

Here's how they work:

Funding: You can easily fund a non-qualified annuity by sending cash via ACH transfer or liquidating a taxable account and transferring the proceeds to one of our A+ rated carriers.

Tax-Deferred Growth: The primary benefit is that your investment gains accrue on a tax-deferred basis. This can be a significant advantage over similarly yielding fixed-income accounts and high-yield savings accounts, where gains are taxed annually.

Only gains taxed: Because you've already paid tax on your premium, you only pay income tax on the gains from your annuity in the year of a distribution.

Streamlined Process with Trusted Carriers

In either case, whether you're opting for a qualified or non-qualified annuity, your funds are sent directly to the carrier of your choice. We never act as an intermediary, ensuring a smooth and secure transfer. Our team is available for live phone support to assist you through the process, making it as hassle-free as possible.

By focusing on the unique advantages of both pre-tax and post-tax annuities, you can tailor a retirement strategy that aligns with your financial goals and minimizes your tax burden.

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