Tax Implications: Moving Annuities to an IRA

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

The world of financial planning can be a labyrinth, filled with myriad decisions that leave even the most discerning among us scratching our heads. One such conundrum is when you’re contemplating moving annuities to an IRA. Here’s a common query – why must I pay taxes on the entire annuity, even when I’m merely shifting it to another IRA? In this guide, we’ll attempt to highlight this intricate aspect, ensuring you can confidently navigate these financial waters.

Understanding the Basics of Annuities and IRAs

Annuities are insurance products that offer income, typically during retirement, while IRAs are investment tools for retirement savings. However, both come with their unique tax considerations. Let’s dissect these concepts in detail.


Annuities are taxed depending on the type of annuity (qualified or non-qualified) and how the money was deposited (pre-tax or after-tax dollars). So, for example, if a non-qualified annuity is funded with after-tax dollars, you’ll only pay taxes on the earnings, not the principal.


In contrast, with IRAs, the tax situation can vary based on the type of IRA (Traditional or Roth) and your income level, among other factors.

Moving Annuities To An Ira

The Complexities of Moving Annuities to IRAs

Moving an annuity to an IRA may seem straightforward, but this process often results in a “taxable event.

Taxation Rules

Any money moved from an annuity to an IRA is considered a distribution and is, therefore, taxable. This rule applies irrespective of whether you plan to invest it in another retirement account, such as an IRA.

Rationale Behind the Rule

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) treats annuity distributions as ordinary income. So, when you move an annuity to an IRA, it is treated as if you are withdrawing the money, which is a taxable event.

Example: If you’ve $100,000 in an annuity and decide to move it into an IRA, the entire amount is considered annual income, even if it immediately goes into the IRA. This move can potentially push you into a higher tax bracket.

Moving An Annuity To An Ira

Exceptions and Strategies

There are strategies to mitigate the tax impact, like rolling over the annuity into a qualified plan like an IRA.

1035 Exchange

This provision allows you to exchange an existing annuity for a new one without incurring immediate tax liabilities.

Example: If you hold a high-cost annuity, you could use a 1035 exchange to transition into a lower-cost annuity, sidestepping immediate taxation.

Partial Annuitization

Another strategy involves converting a portion of the annuity into an income stream while leaving the rest to continue growing.

Moving Annuities Into An Ira

Next Steps

Given the potential tax implications, moving an annuity to an IRA should not be taken lightly. Understanding these factors and potentially exploring alternatives, like the 1035 exchange or partial annuitization, is crucial to sidestep hefty tax bills. As with all financial matters, it’s advisable to consult a financial advisor or tax professional before making such decisions. Your financial future may hinge on these intricate details, so it’s always worth investing time and thought into them.

Moving Annuities Into Iras

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to avoid taxes when transferring an annuity to an IRA?

Yes. Using a 1035 exchange, you can transfer your annuity without incurring tax liability or early withdrawal fees. Additionally, partial annuitization can help you spread out taxes over multiple years. It’s important to consult a financial advisor or tax professional on your best strategy.

What is a 1035 exchange?

A 1035 exchange allows you to transfer an existing annuity into a new one without triggering tax liabilities or early withdrawal fees. This provision is useful for those wishing to upgrade or replace annuities and those wishing to move their annuity into an IRA.

What should I consider before moving an annuity to an IRA?

It’s important to understand the tax implications of this move and plan your strategy accordingly. Additionally, it’s wise to consult a financial advisor or tax professional, as any small detail could result in hefty taxes. Also, ensure you are not breaching any terms in the annuity’s contract before transferring it.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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