Tax Preparation Help  
Publication 721 2008 Tax Year

Publication 721 - Introductory Material

Catch-up contributions to Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Participants in the TSP who are age 50 or older at the end of the year generally can make catch-up contributions to the plan. For 2007 and for 2008, the maximum catch-up contribution is $5,000.

Rollovers by nonspouse beneficiary. Beginning in 2007, a nonspouse designated beneficiary may have a distribution from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS), or TSP of a deceased employee or retiree directly transferred (trustee-to-trustee) to his or her own IRA set up to receive the distribution. The transfer will be treated as an eligible rollover distribution and the receiving plan will be treated as an inherited IRA. See Rollovers by nonspouse beneficiary in Part II under Rollover Rules, for more information.

Retired public safety officer. Beginning in 2007, an eligible retired public safety officer can elect to exclude from income distributions of up to $3,000 made directly from the CSRS or FERS to the provider of accident, health, or long-term care insurance. See Distributions Used To Pay Insurance Premiums for Public Safety Officers in Part II for more information.

Rollovers to Roth IRAs. After 2007, you can roll over distributions directly from the CSRS, FERS, and TSP to a Roth IRA if, for the tax year of the distribution, your modified adjusted gross income for Roth IRA purposes is not more than $100,000, and your filing status is not married filing separately. See Rollovers to Roth IRAs in Part II for more information.

Hurricane tax relief.  Special rules apply to the use of retirement funds by qualified individuals who suffered an economic loss as a result of Hurricane Katrina, Rita, or Wilma. See Hurricane-Related Relief in Publication 575, Pension and Annuity Income, for information on these special rules.

Rollovers. You can roll over certain amounts from the CSRS, FERS, or TSP, to a tax-sheltered annuity plan (403(b) plan) or a state or local government section 457 deferred compensation plan. See Rollover Rules in Part II.

Rollovers by surviving spouse. You may be able to roll over a distribution you receive as the surviving spouse of a deceased employee or retiree into a qualified retirement plan or a traditional IRA. See Rollover Rules in Part II.

Benefits for public safety officer's survivors. A survivor annuity received by the spouse, former spouse, or child of a public safety officer killed in the line of duty generally will be excluded from the recipient's income. For more information, see Dependents of public safety officers in Part IV.

Uniformed services Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) accounts. If you have a uniformed services TSP account, it may include contributions from combat zone pay. This pay is tax-exempt and contributions attributable to that pay are tax-exempt when they are distributed from the uniformed services TSP account. However, any earnings on those contributions are subject to tax when they are distributed. The statement you receive from the TSP will separately state the total amount of your distribution and the amount of your taxable distribution for the year. If you have both a civilian and a uniformed services TSP account, you should apply the rules discussed in this publication separately to each account. You can get more information from the TSP website,, or the TSP Service Office.

Photographs of missing children. The Internal Revenue Service is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

This publication explains how the federal income tax rules apply to civil service retirement benefits received by retired federal employees (including those disabled) or their survivors. These benefits are paid primarily under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS).

Tax rules for annuity benefits.   Part of the annuity benefits you receive is a tax-free recovery of your contributions to the CSRS or FERS. The rest of your benefits is taxable. If your annuity starting date is after November 18, 1996, you must use the Simplified Method to figure the taxable and tax-free parts. If your annuity starting date is before November 19, 1996, you generally could have chosen to use the Simplified Method or the General Rule. See Part II, Rules for Retirees.

Thrift Savings Plan.   The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) provides federal employees with the same savings and tax benefits that many private employers offer their employees. This plan is similar to private sector 401(k) plans. You can defer tax on part of your pay by having it contributed to your account in the plan. The contributions and earnings on them are not taxed until they are distributed to you. See Thrift Savings Plan in Part II.

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service
Individual Forms and Publications Branch
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can email us at *[email protected]. (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put “Publications Comment” on the subject line. Although we cannot respond individually to each email, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 days after your request is received.

National Distribution Center
P.O. Box 8903
Bloomington, IL 61702-8903

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.


  • 524 Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled

  • 575 Pension and Annuity Income

  • 590 Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

  • 939 General Rule for Pensions and Annuities

Form (and Instructions)

  • CSA 1099R
    Statement of Annuity Paid

  • CSF 1099R
    Statement of Survivor Annuity Paid

  • W-4P
    Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments

  • 1099-R
    Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.

  • 5329
    Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts

See How To Get Tax Help near the end of this publication for information about getting publications and forms.

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