Most taxpayers know that they will pay a 10% penalty if they withdraw funds from their IRA before they turn 59.5 years old. There is an exception for first-time home buyers that allows a penalty-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 per person if they haven’t owned a home in the previous two years.
This would allow a married couple who each have an IRA to withdraw a lifetime maximum of $10,000 each, penalty-free for a home purchase.
In many cases, the money would be used for a down payment or closing costs. However, some buyers might consider this source to increase their down payment so they could qualify for a loan without mortgage insurance.
If the taxpayer qualifies for the penalty-free withdrawal, there may still be taxes due. Contributions to traditional IRAs are made with before-tax dollars and the tax is paid when the funds are withdrawn. Since Roth IRAs are made with after-tax dollars, there is no tax due when the funds are withdrawn.
Another interesting fact about this provision is that the taxpayer making the withdrawal can help a qualified relative which includes children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.
Homebuyers who are considering using IRA funds for a home purchase should get expert advice from their tax professional concerning their individual situation.