A 15% excise tax on "excess" distributions from tax-deferred retirement plans that was repealed by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. In essence, the tax had penalized "successful" investors who accumulated large retirement accounts and took distributions that exceeded an annual limit deemed excessive by the tax code.
A tax formerly imposed on distributions from a retirement account in excess of a certain amount. If a retirement account's investments were particularly successful, the account holder has the ability to receive larger payments, depending on the nature of the account. The success tax discouraged this by levying a 15% surtax on payments deemed to be too large. It was repealed by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.