IMPORTANT NOTE: The MTRS is not qualified to provide specific advice relative to the federal tax code. You should consult your personal accountant and/or obtain a copy of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, to ensure that you are in compliance with all of the appropriate federal requirements.
Taxes and your retirement allowance
The superannuation retirement allowance that you receive from the MTRS is exempt from taxation under the Massachusetts income tax laws. The federal government ( Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ), however, will tax a large portion of your retirement allowance immediately upon retirement. Approximately 95-98% will be taxable at the federal level, depending on how much after-tax money you have in your MTRS annuity account at the time of your retirement, as explained below.
Upon your retirement, you will be required to complete a W–4P Form to begin a monthly federal tax withholding. It is very important that you complete a tax withholding form in conjunction with your retirement. If no form is filed with your retirement board, the retirement board is required by federal law to withhold taxes, starting with your second retirement check, as if you were a married person with three exemptions. It is also possible to request that no taxes be withheld. However, if no taxes are withheld, you should submit estimated quarterly payments to the IRS. You may change your federal tax withholding amount at any time during your retirement simply by notifying us.
Your tax liability will be determined by using the Internal Revenue Service’s Simplified Method . The tax-free portion depends on the amount of your after-tax contributions to the retirement system, when your contributions were made, and your life expectancy at the time of your retirement.
Since January of 1988, all contributions to the retirement system are being made on a pre-tax basis. Consequently, only your contributions made prior to January of 1988 and any purchases of creditable service made with after-tax dollars will be eligible for exclusion from your federal taxes. Pre-tax contributions and all of the interest which your account has earned cannot be used when you figure the yearly tax-exempt portion of your retirement allowance.