Typically, when you leave your job, the 401(k) loan becomes due immediately or within a short period, usually 60 to 90 days. The specific timeframe may vary depending on your plan’s rules and the terms of the loan. It’s crucial to check with your plan administrator to understand the repayment deadline.
If you can repay the loan balance by the deadline, you can do so to avoid any adverse tax consequences. You may need to contact your plan administrator or follow their instructions for repayment.
If you cannot repay the loan in full by the deadline, the outstanding loan balance may be treated as a distribution. This means it becomes taxable income, subject to federal and state income taxes. Additionally, if you are under the age of 59½, you may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Taxes and Penalties:
If the loan amount becomes taxable income, you’ll receive a Form 1099-R from your former employer or plan administrator, indicating the distribution. You’ll need to report this income on your tax return.
You may also be required to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty if you’re under 59½ unless you meet an exception, such as being disabled or using the funds for certain qualified medical expenses.
Impact on Retirement Savings:
Losing a job and having a 401(k) loan treated as a distribution can significantly impact your retirement savings, as the distributed funds are no longer invested in your retirement account.
Consider Future Contributions:
If you find new employment, you may have the option to roll over the distributed funds into a new employer’s retirement plan or into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) within 60 days to avoid immediate taxation and penalties. However, this depends on the rules of your new employer’s plan and IRS regulations.