If you are retiring before the “normal” retirement age of 59½ or older, or if you find yourself in need of money, you may need to make an early withdrawal from your retirement plan. An early withdrawal from your retirement plan is not without consequences – there will be taxes for sure, and quite possibly (likely?) penalties (referred to as “additional tax on early withdrawals” below). For exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty for IRAs, see this article. Otherwise, for exceptions to the early withdrawal penalty for a 401k, see this article.
Recently the IRS published Tax Tip 2018-40, which details some items that you need to remember as you consider an early withdrawal from a retirement plan. The actual text of their Tip is below.
Things to Remember when Considering Early Withdrawal from Retirement Plans
Many taxpayers may need to take out money early from their Individual Retirement Account or retirement plan. Doing so, however, can trigger an additional tax on early withdrawals. They would owe this tax on top of other income tax they may have to pay. Here are a few key points to know: