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are there any exceptions?

if the funds are used to pay medical bills or education expenses?

(i seem to recall Steven had some recent big medical bills and is going to school)

The OP made no specific reference to conditions that might exempt him from the 10% penalty. But for completeness, other than attaining age 59.5, the IRS recognizes 9 potential exceptions to the 10% early withdrawal penalty on the untaxed portion of the withdrawal from a traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE (after 2 years) IRA:

1. Paying for qualified education expenses in the year they are incurred (or within 3 months of the following year)

2. Paying for qualifying medical expenses that are in excess of 7.5% of AGI

3. As part of a series of substantially equal payments that are withdrawn annually for the later of 5 years or to age 59.5 (aka a '72t')

4. Beneficiary withdrawals due to your death

5. Withdrawals after you've become disabled and unable to work.

6. Up to $10,000 of pretax withdrawals over one's lifetime to pruchase a home when one has not been a homeowner for at least the previous 2 years.

7. Withdrawals as a result of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order from a state divorce decree.

8. Withdrawals to pay for health insurance premiunms if withdrawal is within the year of unemloyment or the next year and you have collected unemployment insurance for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks

9. Withdrawls made at the point, or later, that a miliary reservist is called to duty for at least 180 days.

As previously noted, state income tax rules may not recognize some or many of these 10% exceptions.

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