MOSERS is a governmental defined benefit (DB) pension plan

The benefit you receive through MOSERS is considered a public pension for tax reporting purposes.

This information is for educational purposes only. MOSERS staff does not provide tax advice. Contact a tax professional or financial advisor for advice specific to your situation.

State Taxes

Your MOSERS benefit is subject to Missouri state income taxes while you are a resident of Missouri.

If you are not a Missouri resident in retirement (or you move later), contact the appropriate state and local tax authorities to determine the taxability of your MOSERS benefit where you live.

Public Pension Exemption

If you are receiving a benefit from a public pension system (such as MOSERS), and file a Missouri state tax return, you
may qualify for the Missouri public pension exemption. If you qualify, you may be exempt from paying some or all Missouri state income tax on income you receive from MOSERS. Read our Missouri Public Pension Exemption flyer for more information.

Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue to see if you qualify or ask your tax professional.

Federal Taxes

Your retirement benefits are also subject to federal income tax. Complete the Tax Withholding Authorization and IRS W-4P forms to allow MOSERS to withhold taxes on your behalf, or to decline any withholding. If you do not choose a federal tax withholding option, we are required to withhold federal taxes as if you elected a “single” filing status.

MOSERS staff cannot advise you on how to fill out tax forms or your tax liability as it pertains to your MOSERS pension. We suggest you contact the IRS and/or a qualified tax advisor about your tax liability and to determine your withholding amounts.

Tax Forms

Tax Withholding
  • The federal and Missouri state tax withholding elections you made while actively employed do not apply to your MOSERS pension benefits. You must complete a new tax withholding form when applying for retirement benefits.
  • After you've retired, life events such as marriage, death of a spouse, divorce, or change in dependents may impact the amount you wish to have withheld.
  • You may change your withholding election at any time during the year by completing the Tax Withholding Authorization and IRS W-4P forms.
  • MOSERS will mail 1099-R forms to all retirees and beneficiaries by the end of January each year. This form lists your retirement benefit income from MOSERS.
  • See our Understanding Your 1099-R Form infographic for more information.
  • You will need your 1099-R to file your federal income tax return.
  • If you prefer an electronic copy of your 1099-R or if you find you need a replacement copy of it, simply log in to myMOSERS and you will find it listed under Personal Information. Your 1099-R form will be available for you to view or print after they have been mailed.

BackDROP & Taxes

If you are eligible for and elect the BackDROP at retirement, the BackDROP distribution is considered taxable income for the year in which you receive the payment.

  • You can defer taxes by rolling your BackDROP payment over to MO Deferred Comp or another eligible employer plan or IRA.
  • Required minimum distributions from a rollover are taxable and must begin by April 1 of the year after the year in which you turn age 73 or retire (whichever is later).
Cash Payments
  • If you don’t roll over your payment to a tax-deferred arrangement, MOSERS is required to withhold 20% of the taxable portion of any cash distribution for federal income tax. We can also withhold, upon your request, any Missouri state tax withholdings you choose.
  • If you receive a cash payment before you reach age 59½ and don’t roll it over, the IRS may impose an additional 10% early distribution income tax penalty. However, if you terminated employment during or after the year you turned age 55, you may avoid the 10% penalty. See our Special Tax Notice (BackDROP and Refunds) for details.