Ideally, your Individual Retirement Arrangement should remain untouched until you reach retirement. The money you contribute through the years should grow according to the success of your investment choices. You are free to remove Roth IRA contributions at any time for any reason. However, if you want to take a temporary withdrawal -- or short-term loan -- from a traditional IRA without triggering taxes or penalties, keep a close eye on the calendar.
Download and print out, pick up in person, or fill out online a distribution form specifying the amount you want to withdraw. You can also ask the institution to mail or fax one. Point out if you want the money by electronic deposit or check and submit the form to the custodian.
Write down the date you get the money. You have 60 days from that day to return it to the account without tax or penalty. If you miss the deadline, the Internal Revenue Service will tax it as income and apply a 10 percent penalty since you're not yet 59 1/2.
Return the money to the IRA well before the deadline to avoid any unexpected delays in processing. To redeposit online, fill out an online deposit form. Type or write in your name and contact information with the bank routing and account numbers. To redeposit by check, mail or hand-deliver it and any required deposit form to the institution.
- If you take earnings money from a Roth IRA and miss the 60-day deadline, you'll owe taxes and penalties if the account isn't at least five years old. If it is that old, you'll only owe the 10 percent penalty.
- The IRS sees the 60-day return of funds as a rollover, which you can only do once in 12 months. What's more, you have to wait 12 months before taking any more money from that IRA.
D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.