The IRS Form 8915 series forms are used specifically for disaster-related retirement plan distributions. Distributions from a qualified retirement plan are exempted from early withdrawal penalties, and the taxpayer can elect to include the entire distribution in income in the year of the distribution or divide the distribution equally over three years.
A qualified disaster is an event which the President has declared a major disaster and for which FEMA has assigned a specific disaster relief number beginning with the letters "DR".
Qualified disaster distributions can be repaid up to 3 years and a day from the date of the distribution. Thus, depending on the amount of the repayment the taxpayer may need to include an 8915-series form for the repayment in the current year as well as amend prior year returns.
Each year's form is assigned a suffix beginning with the letter A in 2016, and each form's instructions indicate the disasters to which it applies. Each form was updated annually through 8915-E, then in tax year 2021 Form 8915-F was created to be a permanent form to be used for each year's qualified distributions as well as repayments.
Note: If you are preparing a return for a prior year that includes a qualified disaster distribution or repayment, be sure to read that year's form instructions. IRS search links are provided below.
The 8915-series forms are as follows:
- 8915-A - Form 8915-A was used by taxpayers adversely affected by any of 45 disasters spread among 29 states declared during 2016. See the form instructions for a complete list of the covered disasters. Qualified distributions could have been made in 2016 and 2017, with 2020 being the final year this form would have been used to report repayments, if any.
- 8915-B - Form 8915-B was used by taxpayers adversely affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, or the California wildfires. Qualified distributions could have been made in 2017 and 2018, with 2021 being the final year to repay distributions spread out over three years.
- 8915-C - Form 8915-C was used by taxpayers in 33 states plus American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and several tribal nations affected by 66 federally declared disasters in 2018. See the form instructions for a complete list of the covered disasters. Qualified distributions could have been made from 2018-2020, with 2023 being the final year to repay distributions spread out over three years.
- 8915-D - Form 8915-D was used by taxpayers in 30 states plus Guam, Puerto Rico, and 8 tribal nations affected by 56 federally declared disasters in 2019. See the form instructions for a complete list of the covered disasters. Qualified distributions could have been made from 2019-2020, plus in 2021 for the Puerto Rico earthquake disaster (DR-4473-PR). Repayments after 2020 are reported on Form 8915-F, with 2023 being the final year to repay most distributions spread out over three years.
- 8915-E - Form 8915-E was used only in 2020 by taxpayers affected by the COVID pandemic as well as taxpayers in 28 states plus Puerto Rico and one tribal nation affected by 51 federally declared disasters in 2020. See the form instructions for a complete list of the covered disasters. Repayments made after 2020 are reported on Form 8915-F.
- 8915-F - Form 8915-F is used in tax year 2021 and subsequent years by taxpayers affected by a federally declared disaster as well as by those making a repayment of a prior year distribution.
How much can be distributed?
The taxpayer may elect to withdraw any amount which they deem needed without paying the early withdrawal penalty. However, favorable tax treatment is limited to distributions of $100,000 or less per disaster allowing taxpayers an option to spread the income from the distribution over a 3-year reporting period thereby deferring income taxes.
Timing is Important
Refer to each form's IRS instructions regarding which form disasters are assigned and for timing of distributions and repayments. The timing of distributions and repayments may also dictate if taxpayer will need to file an amended prior year return or include the specific 8915-series form in the current year. The taxpayer's tax liability may vary depending on whether they choose to treat a repayment as a repayment of a current year distribution or prior year distribution.
- In the tax return, enter Form 1099-R as it is except you will reduce Box 2a by the amount of the distribution being treated as a qualifying disaster distribution. (The taxable portion of the qualified disaster distribution, if any, will flow to the 1040 from the 8915-series form and be added to any non-disaster distributions in the return.) If the total distribution is more than $100,000, Box 2a may be reduced by a maximum of $100,000 only.
- For a taxpayer under age 59-1/2, don't indicate that the distribution is subject to early withdrawal penalty if it's under $100,000, as the penalty is avoided if the distribution is being treated as a qualified disaster distribution. However, if the distribution was for more than $100,000, the excess in Box 2a is subject to early withdrawal penalty.
To complete the appropriate Form 8915, from the Main Menu of the tax return (Form 1040) select:
- IRA/Pension Distributions (1099R, RRB-1099-R)
- Other button - Select the appropriate Form 8915 needed.
Note: This article provides an overview of the IRS 8915 series forms in TaxSlayer Pro. It is not intended as tax advice.
IRS: Form 8915-A 2016-2020 forms and instructions
IRS: Form 8915-B 2017-2021 forms and instructions
IRS: Form 8915-C 2018-2022 forms and instructions
IRS: Form 8915-D 2019-2023 forms and instructions
IRS: Form 8915-E form and instructions