Like any government or financial organization, the Thrift Savings Plan has a myriad of forms and publications. You can find links to them in the “forms and resources” section of the TSP website. You are able to browse by topic or by type. When you browse, both forms and resources will appear (resources consist of booklets, fact sheets, leaflets and tax notices).
The categories of topic that are available are: 1) beneficiary participants; 2) contributions; 3) death benefits; 4) general information; 5) investments; 6) legal documents; 7) tax information; 8) transfers and rollovers; 9) withdrawals; and 10) show all. If you choose “show all” the forms are listed in ascending numbers and the resources are listed alphabetically.
The TSP’s resources cover every possible topic and generally do a good job of explaining the rules that apply to the TSP, but there are several publications that bear special mention. These publications are revised periodically, and I have included the most recent revision date (at the time I prepared this article). They are all up-to-date as to the TSP Modernization Act, though I found a few cases where they haven’t been revised after more recent changes to the law.
Summary of the Thrift Savings Plan. This booklet is found in the “general information” section and should be considered required reading for any TSP participant. It is 28 pages long and covers every aspect of the TSP in enough depth that the average participant need look no further for more information. The most recent revision is from January 2021.
Withdrawing Your TSP Account for Separated and Beneficiary Participants. You will find this booklet in the section on “withdrawals” and its 13 pages thoroughly cover the topic. All of the options are covered in enough depth, including taxes and TSP annuities. The last revision was done in September of 2020. This booklet does not cover the tax implications of withdrawals, so you would want to refer to the tax notice that is described in the next paragraph.
Tax Information: Payments From Your TSP Account. This tax notice is updated annually and has detailed and up-to-date information on the taxation of TSP withdrawals. It is 8 pages long and is found in the “withdrawals” section. Of course, we know that all withdrawals from your Traditional TSP are taxable as ordinary income and that qualified withdrawals from your Roth TSP are not taxable, but we probably don’t know some of the tax arcana that is contained in this publication. The full-page withholding table can help you avoid owing a lot at the end of the year (the TSP does not withhold nearly enough if you select installment payments). April 2021 is the date of the most recent tax notice.
Death Benefits. We’re all going to die sometime, and this booklet will be very helpful to those we leave behind. Needless to say, it is found in the “death benefits” section. The 15 pages contain all the information our heirs and/or executor will need. You should, in your letter of instructions, tell your executor of this booklet and where to find it. The most recent revision is from January of 2019.