September 16, 2008
Michael Sheehan

Physician's Money Digest, February28 2003, Volume 10, Issue 4

If you tap into your IRA beforeyou reach age 59 1/2, you're usually hitwith a 10% penalty. But regulationson IRA distributions allow you tosidestep the penalty by taking outsubstantially equal periodic payments(SEPPs), based on your lifeexpectancy. The IRS offers 3 methodsof calculating the SEPP and,until now, once you chose one, youwere stuck—if you changed the distributionmethod before you reachedage 59 1/2 (or 5 years after withdrawalsstarted, whichever waslater), you got socked with the 10%penalty. Now, with stock marketlosses cutting into IRA assets, theIRS is letting you make a 1-timeswitch in the way you calculate yourdistributions so you can take out lesseach year. Talk to your accountant orvisit the IRS Web site ( more information.