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Learn more about taxes and federal retirement

FAQs and answers about taxes and federal retirement.

Questions and answers

OPM mails out 1099-R tax forms to all annuitants by January 31. You may not receive your mailed 1099-R tax form until mid-February, depending on where you live. Generally, starting the third week of January, you can sign in to your online account to view, download, or print your 1099-R.

Go to OPM Retirement Service Online

Retirement Services can provide a corrected 1099R if:

  • adjustments were made to your annuity and were not posted correctly
  • if your personally identifiable information is incorrect, or
  • if your distribution code is incorrect.

Retirement Services can provide an amended 1099R if an adjustment was made to your 1099R (for example, amending the originally posted comments on your 1099R).

OPM does not forward corrections or amendments to the Internal Revenue Service. The corrected or amended 1099R will be mailed to you at the mailing address we have on file. It is your responsibility to forward the corrected or amended 1099R to the Internal Revenue Service with your amended tax return even if you file electronically. You will not be able to view the corrected 1099R on Services Online.

Your retirement contributions are shown on the 1099-R tax form we send you each January for tax filing purposes.

Use the IRS tax withholding estimator to figure out the tax-free portion of your annuity payment and your monthly federal income tax withholding.

If you want to make updates to your federal tax withholding, you should sign in to your online account or contact us.

Go to OPM Retirement Services Online

If your non-disability annuity started on or after July 2, 1986, then a portion of each annuity payment is taxable and a portion is considered a tax-free recovery of your contributions to the retirement fund.

If you retired under a disability provision, then the disability annuity you receive from CSRS or FERS is taxable as wages until you reach minimum retirement age.

OPM can refund federal and/or state income tax withholdings only for the current year. To request a refund, call us at 1-888-767-6738 or write to us at OPM Retirement Services, PO Box 45, Boyers PA 16017.

Remember to provide your CSA/CSF claim number. If you want a partial reimbursement, let us know the exact amount (no percentage) and provide the exact period of the reimbursement you are requesting (for example, 1/01/2023 to 01/31/2023). Normally, the refund is issued as a separate payment. The refund will be issued by electronic direct deposit to the account on file; if there is no account on file, it will be mailed.

If you are not currently having state tax withheld, call your State Revenue Office for a refund.

You can open an individual retirement account to receive a direct rollover. You must contact the individual retirement account sponsor to find out how to have your payment made to your account. If you are unsure of how to invest your money, you may want to temporarily establish an account to receive the payment. However, you may want to consider whether or not you may move any or all of the monies to another account at a later date without penalties or limitations.

If you choose to have the payment made to you and it is over $200, it is subject to the 20 percent federal income tax withholding. The payment is taxed in the year in which it is received unless within 60 days after receiving it you roll it over to an individual retirement account or retirement plan that accepts rollovers.

You can roll over up to 100 percent of the eligible distribution, including the 20 percent withholding. To do so, you must replace the 20 percent withholding within the 60 day period. You will be taxed on any amount that you do not roll over. For example, if you roll over only the 80 percent of the distribution, you will be taxed on the remaining 20 percent.

You can find more information about the taxation of payments from qualified retirement plans from the following IRS publications:

  • IRS Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income
  • IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements
  • IRS Publication 721, Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement System Payments
  • Form 4972, Tax on Lump Sum Distributions

We won't withhold any amount for federal income tax if your total taxable lump sum is less than $200. We will request a rollover election when you are eligible for a payment of $200 or more.

Your retirement contributions are not taxable, but interest included in the payment is taxable. You should contact the IRS for more information.

If Box 2a Taxable Amount on your 1099R is marked “Unknown,” OPM did not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity.

Common reasons OPM would not calculate the tax-free portion of your annuity include:

  • Your case is a disability retirement;
  • You retired prior to November 19, 1996;
  • You have voluntary contributions;
  • An apportionment was paid to your former spouse(s);
  • Your case has not been finalized and you are in interim pay status;
  • You have survivor benefits payable and/or your case is an Office of Workers Compensation case;
  • You have alternative annuity elections.

For further information, please contact the Internal Revenue Service toll free at 1-800-829-1040 to speak with an agent. OPM cannot provide tax guidance.

OPM can refund federal and/or state income tax withholding only for the current year. Contact us to request a refund.

If you want a partial reimbursement, let us know the exact amount (no percentage) and provide the exact period (for example, 5/10/2011 to 12/31/2011). Normally, the refund is issued as a separate payment.

We cannot refund tax withholding for previous tax years. To request a refund of your withholdings for previous tax years, please contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 for a federal tax withholding refund and your state revenue office for a state tax withholding refund.

It depends on when you worked and whether you are covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).

Figure out which of the following conditions applies to you, and then contact your agency's HR office for guidance:

  • Deposit service ending before October 1, 1982 and covered by the CSRS
  • Deposit service ending on or after October 1, 1982 and covered by the CSRS
  • Deposit service ending before January 1, 1989 and covered by FERS
  • Deposit service ending on or after January 1, 1989 and covered by FERS

The IRS is responsible for the changes to the federal income tax withholding tables. OPM has no control over the federal income tax withholding tables. OPM uses the tables provided by the IRS, which are set in law by the U.S. Congress.

Visit the IRS website at or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

Tax tables are set into law by the United States Congress and administered by the IRS. Each year, new tables are posted on the IRS website in IRS Publication 15.1 (Tip: If you are looking at the specific tax tables, search for the Single, Married, or Head of Household “Monthly Payroll Period” tables.)

We are required by law to update your federal income tax withholding based on the IRS tax tables and formulas. OPM withholds the required federal taxes according to your elected withholdings.

It’s your responsibility to monitor the taxation of your annuity, and it’s a good idea to check your federal and state tax withholdings every year. You can change your tax withholding amounts at any time.

You are taxed on your gross annuity (which is reduced by the amount of the apportionment paid to your former spouse) according to your most current W4-P tax marital status election on file.

You can change your election at any time. Go to Services Online or call us at 1-888-767-6738.

Your 1099R will reflect a reduction in your gross annuity after your retirement application is finalized, based on the amount of apportionment that you pay your former spouse. A footnote on the 1099R will state the amount of the apportionment paid to your former spouse for the year. You are not responsible for paying the federal tax on the apportionment amount paid to your former spouse (even if the divorce decree/court order dictates).

Because your annuity is subject to a court-ordered apportionment, OPM does not calculate the taxable portion of your annuity. The 1099R will show “Unknown” in the 2.b “Taxable Amount” box.

You may wish to speak with a representative at the Internal Revenue Service or a tax advisor to help you calculate the tax-free portion of the annuity. Current tax tables for this year are available on the IRS web site at You may also call the IRS for tax advice at 1-800-829-1040 (agent). 

Your former spouse must report the amount of apportionment they receive as taxable income and is required to pay taxes on these funds. Apportionment monies cannot be used as alimony deductions on a tax return. Your former spouse will also receive a 1099R for the apportionment they received.

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