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Coronavirus-Related Distributions and State Tax Withholding

“I know that CRDs are not subject to federal income tax withholding of 20 percent for qualified plan distributions, but what about state income tax withholding?  My client is a resident of Connecticut.”

ERISA consultants at the Retirement Learning Center (RLC) Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs, qualified retirement plans and other types of retirement savings and income plans, including nonqualified plans, stock options, and Social Security and Medicare.  We bring Case of the Week to you to highlight the most relevant topics affecting your business.

A recent call with a financial advisor from Connecticut is representative of a common inquiry related to Coronavirus-Related Distributions (CRDs).

Highlights of the Discussion

This is an important tax question. Your client should seek guidance from his or her tax advisor. What is presented here is for informational purposes only and cannot be relied upon as tax advice.

To be clear, a CRD is not subject to the federal mandatory 20 percent withholding requirement as required under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 3405(c)(1) if such an amount is paid from a qualified retirement plan. However, a CRD, whether paid from a qualified retirement plan or an IRA, remains subject to the federal voluntary 10 percent withholding rules of IRC 3405(b)—unless waived by the recipient (Notice 2020-50).

The application of state tax withholding on CRDs is dependent on each state’s tax laws. Here is a list of state government websites  that may be helpful for research.  For example, the state of Connecticut addresses the issue in Question 3 of a CRD Q&A posted on their state’s tax website.

“Are coronavirus-related distributions from a qualified retirement account, as allowed under the CARES Act, subject to Connecticut income tax withholding? Generally, yes. The payer is required to withhold 6.99% from the distribution unless the recipient submits a Form CT-W4P to the payer requesting that no or a lesser amount of Connecticut income tax be withheld.”

For state tax withholding rules it is important to consult a tax advisor who is well-versed in state tax issues.

Conclusion

For any tax issue, seek the guidance of a tax professional. The federal tax withholding rules for CRDs are explained in IRS Notice 2020-50. State tax withholding rules are state dependent, making the guidance of a state tax expert even more necessary.

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