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Why do I have to pay an additional tax on my own money?

Under certain circumstances, you might incur additional taxes related to your retirement accounts, education savings accounts or health savings accounts. This can happen if you make premature or non-qualified distributions, or exceed contribution limits on certain accounts.

If you withdraw money (sometimes called “taking a distribution”) from a retirement account before reaching age 59½, you may be subject to an additional tax equal to 10% of the amount withdrawn. This amount is in addition to any regular income taxes that may apply to the amount. Certain cases allow for an exception to the 10% additional tax.

If you took a distribution from an education savings account and did not use the money to pay qualified education expenses, you may be subject to the 10% additional tax.

You may also have to pay additional taxes if your contributions exceed the contributions limit for retirement accounts, education savings accounts and health savings accounts. This additional tax is equal to 6% per year as long as the excess amounts remain in the account.

Finally, retirees who fail to take the required minimum distribution from their retirement account may also face an additional tax. This additional tax is equal to 50% of the difference between the required distribution and the amount actually withdrawn.

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