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Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • James M. Poterba
  • Mark J. Warshawsky

Abstract

This paper explores the current tax treatment of non-qualified immediate annuities and distributions from tax-qualified retirement plans in the United States. First, we describe how immediate annuities held outside retirement accounts are taxed. We conclude that the current income tax treatment of annuities does not substantially alter the incentive to purchase an annuity rather than a taxable bond. We nevertheless find differences across different individuals in the effective tax burden on annuity contracts. Second, we examine an alternative method of taxing annuities that would avoid changing the fraction of the annuity payment that is included in taxable income as the annuitant ages, but would still raise the same expected present discounted value of revenues as the current income tax rule. We find that a shift to a constant inclusion ratio increases the utility of annuitants, and that this increase is greater for more risk averse individuals. Third, we examine how payouts from qualified accounts are taxed, focusing on both annuity payouts and minimum distribution requirements that constrain the feasible time path of nonannuitized payouts. We describe briefly the origins and workings of the minimum distribution rules and we also provide evidence on the fraction of retirement assets potentially affected by these rules.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania in its series Pension Research Council Working Papers with number 99-3.

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Publication status: Published in National Tax Journal. LII, 3, September 1999: 563-592.
Handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:99-3

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Postal: The Wharton School, 3641 Locust Walk, 304 CPC, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218
Phone: 215-898-7620
Fax: 215-898-0310
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Web page: http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/
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References

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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 2000. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Olivia S. Mitchell & Roderick Carr, . "State and Local Pension Plans," Pension Research Council Working Papers 95-13, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, 2001. "The Role of Real Annuities and Indexed Bonds in an Individual Accounts Retirement Program," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 321-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1995. "Lump-Sum Distributions from Retirement Saving Plans: Receipt and Utilization," NBER Working Papers 5298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1999. "Implications of Rising Personal Retirement Saving," NBER Working Papers 6295, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. James F. Moore & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Projected Retirement Wealth and Saving Adequacy," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-1, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
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Cited by:
  1. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2006. "Optimum Taxation of Life Annuities," CESifo Working Paper Series 1642, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Jingjing Chai & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell & Ralph Rogalla, 2011. "Lifecycle Impacts of the Financial and Economic Crisis on Household Optimal Consumption, Portfolio Choice, and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 17134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivia S. Mitchell & David McCarthy, 2002. "Annuities for an Ageing World," NBER Working Papers 9092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2003. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," NBER Working Papers 9999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Friedberg, Leora & webb, anthony, 2000. "The Impact of 401(k) Plans on Retirement," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt2jr5w8b9, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  6. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2003. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities versus Phased Withdrawal Plans," Working Papers wp063, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Ivica Dus & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Betting on Death and Capital Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities," NBER Working Papers 11271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba, 2000. "Mortality Risk, Inflation Risk, and Annuity Products," NBER Working Papers 7812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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