Watson v. Comr., T.C. Sum. Op. 2011-113

(case involved whether petitioner liable for 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from qualified retirement plan under I.R.C. Sec. 72(t)(1); petitioner participated in employer's qualified retirement plan and retired at age 53; after attaining age 55 (but before attaining age 59.5), petition received over $30,000 in two distributions from retirement plan and reported the amount in income for the year, but did not pay additional 10 percent penalty due to exception contained in I.R.C. Sec. 72(t)(2)(A)(v) which specifies that the additional penalty does not apply to "distributions which are...made to an employee after separation from service after attainment of age 55"; court upheld IRS interpretation of statutory provision that employee must retire on or after age 55 to be eligible for the exception; court expressed empathy for petitioner's situation and specifically noted that the IRS deficiency notice language that "Payment made from the Plan after you separate from service if you will be at least 55 during the year of the payment" is confusing; but, based on prior caselaw, court upholds IRS position and notes that only the Congress can change the statute).

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