Signing form 5329
ComplianceTax & AccountingFebruary 19, 2021

IRA distributions prior to age 59½: When must an individual file IRS Form 5329?


Generally, when an individual/taxpayer makes an excess contribution to an individual retirement account (IRA), takes an early distribution from an IRA, or fails to take a required minimum distribution from an IRA, that individual may be subject to a penalty tax of 6, 10, or 50 percent, respectively. Furthermore, if a penalty is owed, the individual may be required to file with his/her tax return Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 5329, Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (Including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, to describe, calculate and report the penalty amount. Alternatively, IRS Form 5329 is in some cases filed to claim exemption from the 10 percent penalty.

However, in a case where a taxable early distribution (i.e., distribution prior to age 59½) was taken from an IRA, an individual may not be required to file IRS Form 5329 with his/her tax return to claim and pay the 10 percent penalty tax.

Following is a general knowledge article addressing the 2020 tax year that reviews the appropriate sources of information, followed by an explanation of when IRS Form 5329 is and is not necessary to be filed by an individual with his/her tax return.

IRS Form 5329, and instructions to IRS Forms 5329 and 1040

Immediately above Part I “Additional Tax on Early Distributions” of IRS Form 5329, it states, “If you only owe the additional 10% tax on early distributions, you may be able to report this tax directly on Schedule 2 (Form 1040), line 6, without filing Form 5329. See the instructions for Schedule 2 (Form 1040), line 6.”

When referring to the 2020 Instructions for Form 5329, the second item under "Who Must File," it states:

if distribution code 1 is correctly shown in box 7 of all your Forms 1099-R, and you owe the additional tax on each Form 1099-R, you don’t have to file Form 5329. Instead, see the instructions for Schedule 2 (Form 1040), line 6, in the instructions for Forms 1040 and 1040-SR, or Form 1040-NR, for how to report the 10% additional tax directly on that line.

When referring to the Instructions for Schedule 2, “Additional Taxes”, Line 6, “Additional Tax on IRAs, Other Qualified Retirement Plans, etc.” it states:

If any of the following apply, see Form 5329 and its instructions to find out if you owe this tax and if you must file Form 5329. Also, see Form 5329 and its instructions for definitions of the terms used here.

  1. You received an early distribution from (a) an IRA or other qualified retirement plan, (b) an annuity, or (c) a modified endowment contract entered into after June 20, 1988, and the total distribution wasn't rolled over.
  2. Excess contributions were made to your IRA, Coverdell education savings account (ESA), Archer MSA, health savings account (HSA), or ABLE account.
  3. You received a taxable distribution from a Coverdell ESA, qualified tuition program, or ABLE account.

TIP: The requirement to receive a minimum required distribution has been waived for calendar year 2020. This includes distributions for those who have a beginning year for required minimum distribution starting in 2020. More information on required minimum distributions can be found in Pub. 590-B.

Exception. If only item (1) applies and distribution code 1 is correctly shown in box 7 of all your Forms 1099-R, you don’t have to file Form 5329. Instead, multiply the taxable amount of the distribution by 10% (0.10) and enter the result on line 6. The taxable amount of the distribution is the part of the distribution you reported on Form 1040, 1040-SR, or 1040-NR, line 4b or 5b, or on Form 4972. Also, enter “No” in the margin to the left of line 6 to indicate that you don’t have to file Form 5329. But you must file Form 5329 if distribution code 1 is incorrectly shown in box 7 of Form 1099-R or you qualify for an exception, such as the exceptions for qualified medical expenses, qualified higher education expenses, qualified first-time homebuyer distributions, or a qualified reservist distribution.


When an individual who is younger than age 59½ has received a taxable IRA distribution and puts together the pertinent information to determine whether he/she must include Form 5329 when filing his/her tax return, there are two possibilities. Form 5329 is not necessary when one or more Forms 1099-R are prepared for an individual, and each of the Forms correctly shows distribution code 1, and the individual owes the 10 percent penalty tax on the single (or multiple) distribution(s) reported. On the other hand, IRS Form 5329 is necessary if an individual takes multiple IRA distributions and multiple Forms 1099-R are issued with different distribution codes shown in Box 7.

For an opportunity to learn more about IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, including Health Savings Accounts and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, consider the Wolters Kluwer IRA Library or on-demand video training offered on a variety of topics. Go here to learn more about training opportunities available to you or call us at 1-800-552-9408.
Senior Specialized Consultant, Tax Advantaged Accounts
With more than 36 years of experience, Steve has worked closely with hundreds of financial organizations to help them create, implement, and maintain their tax-advantaged accounts program. Steve also has an extensive background in working with employer qualified plans.