Language and Boolean Logic

1. Apr 15, 2010

skeptic2

The following is from regulations regarding setting up a Roth IRA

"Withdrawal of earnings prior to five years and age 59½ are subject to penalty and income tax."

Withdrawal of earnings (prior to five years) AND (prior to age 59½) are subject to penalty and income tax.

If I withdraw the earnings either prior to five years OR prior to age 59½, but not both, are they exempt from income tax?

2. Apr 15, 2010

lisab

Staff Emeritus
Boolean AND/OR confusion aside, that sentence doesn't make sense to me. "Withdrawal of earnings prior to five years..." Five years of what? Retirement? It's not clear what they mean.

(As an aside: I'm fairly comfortable with math, but put a $in front of the numbers and my brain flatlines!) 3. Apr 15, 2010 skeptic2 Checking on the IRS's website I found the following clarifications. 1. The five years is from Jan 1 of the year that the first contribution is made. 2. I found no statement similar to the above. Instead they provide a flowchart of all the possibilities showing whether taxes or penalties must be paid. In either case, prior to 5 years OR prior to age 59½ taxes and penalties apply. It is amazing how easy it is for language to misrepresent the meaning. Could this be because OR in common usage usaually means either/or and AND often means and/or? 4. Apr 15, 2010 rootX But isn't putting$ in front of a number signify that it is HEX

\$A04E

5. Apr 15, 2010

jobyts

The Roth IRA account has to be open for at least 5 years.