Help! My Tax Stimulus Rebate Was Direct Deposited Into My IRA! Noooo!

Silly tax payer! You’re not supposed to deposit your tax rebate into your IRA. You’re supposed to spend it on blu-ray players and expensive diet pills and GPS systems! No more maps for you! Sadly, if you asked the IRS to deposit your tax refund into your IRA, they’re going to deposit your rebate there too.

So what do you do? The Tax Cat has taken a break from his vacation to let us know that those of you who were unaware that sending your tax refund to your IRA would send your stimulus check to the same account can withdraw the rebate without incurring any penalties:

To qualify for this relief, funds must be taken out by April 15, 2009, in most cases. Without this relief, taxes, penalties and other special rules would apply to amounts removed from these accounts. Regular refunds are not eligible for this relief.

Eligible tax-favored accounts include traditional and Roth IRAs, health savings accounts (HSAs), Archer MSAs, Coverdell education savings accounts (ESAs) and qualified tuition programs, also known as QTPs or 529 plans. Thus, for example, a taxpayer whose $1,200 stimulus payment is directly deposited into his or her IRA can take out anywhere up to $1,200 from the IRA, tax-free and penalty-free.

In general, the deadline for these withdrawals is the due date or extended due date for filing a 2008 return. This means April 15, 2009, for most taxpayers, or Oct. 15, 2009, for those who obtain tax-filing extensions.

Information on how to claim this relief will be included in your 2008 tax instructions.

Relief for Stimulus Payments Withdrawn from IRAs and Tax-Favored Accounts
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