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Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts

Author

Listed:
  • 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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Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey R. Brown & Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, "undated". "Taxing Retirement Income: Nonqualified Annuities and Distributions from Qualified Accounts," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:99-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Olivia S. Mitchell & Roderick Carr, "undated". "State and Local Pension Plans," Pension Research Council Working Papers 95-13, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1999. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1299-1318, December.
    3. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1998. "Lump-Sum Distributions from Retirement Saving Plans: Receipt and Utilization," NBER Chapters,in: Inquiries in the Economics of Aging, pages 85-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. James F. Moore & Olivia S. Mitchell, "undated". "Projected Retirement Wealth and Saving Adequacy," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-1, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti, 1998. "Implications of Rising Personal Retirement Saving," NBER Chapters,in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 125-172 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivia S. Mitchell & David McCarthy, 2002. "Annuities for an Ageing World," CeRP Working Papers 21, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    2. Johann Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum taxation of life annuities," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 30(2), pages 285-303, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Jingjing Chai & Wolfram Horneff & Raimond Maurer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2009. "Extending Life Cycle Models of Optimal Portfolio Choice: Integrating Flexible Work, Endogenous Retirement, and Investment Decisions with Lifetime Payouts," Working Papers wp204, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    5. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2005. "Retirement and the Evolution of Pension Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    6. Chai, Jingjing & Maurer, Raimond H. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Rogalla, Ralph, 2011. "Lifecycle impacts of the financial and economic crisis on household optimal consumption, portfolio choice, and labor supply," CFS Working Paper Series 2011/23, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    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. 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.
    9. Milevsky, Moshe Arye & Panyagometh, Kamphol, 2001. "Variable annuities versus mutual funds: a Monte-Carlo analysis of the options," Financial Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 10(1-4), pages 145-161.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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