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Subject:  Penalty for early distribution from Simple IRA? Date:  9/13/2011  11:16 AM
Author:  stevenjklein Number:  113951 of 131760

First, our tax situation: Married, filing jointly, with 4 kids. (Last year, under similar circumstances, we qualified for various credits allowing us a significant 'refund' even though we paid no taxes. Our AGI was under $25K, and I expect it to be no more than $30K this year.)

I have about $5100 in a Simple IRA (at Vanguard) from my last job. My first contribution was made more than 2 years ago. (I include this because my research tells me that the date of first contribution affects the penalty).

I had been planning to roll it over into an existing Roth IRA at TIAA-CREF. They told me the conversion will require me to pay taxes on the amount as regular income, but there is no penalty.

But I also have about $5200 of debt on one of my credit cards. It occurred to me to instead take an early withdrawal and use the proceeds to pay off the credit card.

I now that if I do that, I have to pay taxes AND a penalty, but how much is the penalty?

If the penalty is small, it might be less than the interest I'll end up paying on the credit card.

I'm no tax expert, so I very much welcome any suggestions (and/or criticisms) you folks have.
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