• By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When a married IRA owner dies, the surviving spouse is oftentimes the beneficiary. Of course, there are instances where a trust might be named as IRA beneficiary, or the children or a charity or someone else is listed. Regardless, typically it is the spouse, and how that spouse treats the inherited IRA dollars is important. While at first glance this [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I am retired and turned 72 in September, 2021, so I must begin required beginning distributions (RMDs) by April, 2022. I have traditional and Roth IRAs as well as a defined contribution plan with a former employer. I understand I must withdraw my RMD before withdrawing an amount for anything else (e.g., Roth conversion) from both my traditional IRA [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education As you approach your golden years, you may be looking to simplify your life to wring the most out of retirement. It may be time to right size and move from a larger house with an abundance of maintenance to a smaller space that is easier to manage. It may also be time to declutter and organize years of belongings. Make a new start. [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Build Back Better Act of 2021, recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee, includes a number of retirement plan provisions.  They were summarized in the September 22, 2021 Slott Report. Two of those provisions are targeted at so-called “Mega IRAs.” One provision would prohibit additional contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA for a [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Dear Ed Slott and Company, I am a longtime subscriber, having met and talked with Ed at several industry conferences, going back well over 20 years. Which, with all of Ed’s great work and active networking, puts me in a pretty big club! In any event, a CPA has turned to me with a problem. A client of his passed away [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When it comes to taxes and the 10% early distribution penalty, do not allow the underlying investments within a Traditional IRA to confuse what is applicable. Earnings within an IRA are just earnings. It does not matter if those earnings come from appreciation, capital gains, dividends, rents, annuity income, interest, or really any other form of growth.[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It’s hard to keep up with the news out of Washington these days! We have been getting a ton of questions on how the new tax proposals recently passed by the House Ways and Means Committee would impact Roth conversions. Here is the rundown. After-Tax Conversions Congress is looking to slam the door on the so-called “back door Roth [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Good morning, I have an inherited IRA. I took a manual withdrawal from it in late August. I thought I had deleted my auto withdrawal on the custodian’s website. I just noticed today that another distribution was taken on 9/17. I have done nothing with the money in the core account that it was transferred to. Is there any way for me [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Congress designed 401(k) plans as retirement savings vehicles – not as checking accounts. So, there are restrictions on when employees can make “in-service withdrawals” (i.e., withdrawals  while still working). It’s important to remember that while 401(k) plans must abide by these withdrawal rules, plans are free to impose even more restrictive rules. [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst In most states the legal age for alcohol consumption is 21. And you must actually be 21. When you hand your driver’s license to the bouncer and he shines a little flashlight on your date of birth, it is not good enough to say you will be turning 21 in a couple of months. Unless today is your 21st birthday or later, the bouncer will wave you away, [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The House Ways and Means Committee has released a draft of proposed changes to retirement accounts, including adding income limits for conversions and eliminating the back-door Roth conversion strategy. These proposals are designed to raise revenue and are likely, at least in part, a response to recent headlines about large Roth IRAs held [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: If your employer contributes to either a SEP IRA or a SIMPLE IRA, can you (the employee) also contribute to a Roth IRA? Regards, Alfred Answer: Hi Alfred, Yes, you can make Roth IRA contributions even if you participate in a SEP or SIMPLE IRA in the same year. Active participation in a plan only matters for determining whether a [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Are you moving assets between IRAs or from a company plan to an IRA (or vice-versa)? You should know that using a direct transfer is a much better idea than doing a 60-day rollover. Direct transfers avoid all of the possible issues which can occur with 60-day rollovers: If the deadline is missed, the rollover amount will be considered a taxable distribution [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When an IRA owner taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) dies before removing his annual RMD, that year-of-death RMD (or whatever portion remains) must still be withdrawn. Upon passing, the year-of-death RMD immediately becomes the responsibility of the beneficiary. If it is not withdrawn before the end of that same calendar year, it is a missed [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education President Biden has declared September to be National Preparedness Month. The goal is to encourage Americans to be more prepared for natural disasters. Unfortunately, from flooding on the east coast to fires on the west coast the news headlines seem to be full of these devastating events, and an increasing number of Americans have been [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Ed I heard on a podcast that you are the number one authority on IRAs, so I want to go to the most informative source.  Could you answer this question for me? I have a Roth IRA and suddenly I was unable to view and edit my beneficiaries. I was told by the custodian that it was because the account was moved from a [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst What if you have an IRA with your spouse as primary beneficiary, get divorced without changing your beneficiary and then die? Who inherits your IRA benefits. If you live in one of the 26 states (as of June 2018) that have “revocation-on-divorce” (ROD) laws, your ex-spouse would automatically be removed as beneficiary upon divorce. Instead, your IRA would go[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I appreciate all of the information you pass along, both through PBS and now through the American College. In one of your recent presentations, you discussed QCDs and their often-overlooked value. I recommend QCDs to “eligible” clients. Since the adoption of the new age 72 for RMDs, the question I have is this: As I understand the [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Yes, you are allowed to own real estate in an IRA. Of course, not every IRA custodian will accommodate such an investment, but that doesn’t mean it is forbidden. If you want to own a beach house in your IRA, or a commercial building, or an apartment complex, you have every right to do so. But tread carefully. Owning real estate in an IRA could [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The other day an advisor called us with an issue that comes up frequently, especially in these tumultuous times. His client had made an IRA contribution for 2021 and was planning on deducting that contribution. However, his job situation changed, and he became an active participant in a retirement plan at a new job. While the new job and [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I am 72 years old and have a Roth IRA. I have some extra cash in a bank account. Can I put that into my Roth IRA and how much can I contribute for 2021? Answer: You could potentially contribute up to $7,000 to a Roth IRA this year, but there are a few strings attached. First, you must have 2021 earned income (pay from work or self-employment) of[...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst In the August 16, 2021 Slott Report, we showed that someone participating in a 401(k) plan through a “regular” job could also establish a solo 401(k) plan through a side job and potentially contribute up to $58,000 this year in after-tax contributions to the solo plan. However, this only works if the company sponsoring the regular 401(k) plan and the entity [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Recently, I had a conversation with an advisor who wanted a second opinion. He disagreed with how a 401(k) custodian was handling his client’s required minimum distribution (RMD). To arm himself with facts, the advisor contacted us so he could push back on that custodian. After listening to the details, the scenario was clear. It brought me no joy to [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Ed, My client recently passed away at the age of 86 and the beneficiaries were his twin grandchildren who are six years old.  Does their 10-year clock to withdraw the funds start right away, or can they wait until they are 18 years old to start their 10-year clock to withdraw the funds? Vivek Answer: Hi Vivek,[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It’s back to school time! Any parent will tell you that education can be expensive. You cannot afford to miss out on any possible option out there that may help you save. One savings tool that you might overlook is the Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA). Here are 10 things you need to know about ESAs. 1. You may establish an ESA [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst We continue to get lots of questions about the company savings plan contribution limits. There are actually two different contribution limits – the “deferral limit” and the “overall limit.” This makes things very confusing, especially if you’re in multiple plans at the same time or you change jobs in the middle of the year. Deferral limit. The [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I read of a way to move money from an IRA to a Roth without incurring any taxes. You set up an IRA account and make a non-deductible contribution of $6,000, then you convert it into a Roth.   Is this legal and possible? Thanks! Answer: This strategy is called a “Backdoor Roth IRA.” Roth IRA accounts have income limits. Not [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Regardless of whether you open an IRA, participate in a 401(k) plan, buy a life insurance policy, or start a college saving plan for a child, there is a critical detail which should never be overlooked: naming a beneficiary. Typically, the account application will include a space for doing just that. Sometimes a second form may be required when a person [...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) is a way for you to move funds out of your IRA to a qualifying charity income tax free. This can be a great strategy for those who are charitably inclined and looking to save on taxes. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about QCDs. How old do you have to be to take[...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Can you put funds into a Roth IRA for a 14 year old using money you have paid the child for doing chores? Client was told all he needed to do was keep a record of what was paid by to the child. I have always enjoyed your presentations. Thank you, Cathy Answer: Hi Cathy, This a common question, but unfortunately there isn’t much [...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Suppose you inherit 401(k) (or other ERISA plan) funds and then file for bankruptcy before receiving those funds. Can you lose those 40(k) dollars to your bankruptcy creditors? According to a recent decision of a Bankruptcy Court in North Carolina, you don’t have to worry. In the case of In re: Dockins, No. 20-10119 (Bankr. W.D.N.C. June 4, 2021), Kirk [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Educations Question: If you are an employee who participates in a 401(k) who retires at age 73, do you have to take an RMD in the year you retire, or can you take your RMD by April 1 of the year following retirement? If you can take your RMD by April 1 of the following year, does that mean you have to take two RMDs in that year? Answer: [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Educations You may be familiar with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). These accounts have been around now for a while. They work with high deductible health insurance and are known for their triple tax benefits. Contributions can be deducted. Earnings are tax deferred while in the HSA account and, if HSA funds are used for qualified medical expenses, [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst It’s that time of the year! College bills for the Fall semester are arriving, and you may be thinking of tapping into your retirement savings to help with the costs. If you’re under age 59 ½, be careful. Your withdrawal may be subject to a 10% early distribution penalty unless you are able to take advantage of an exception to that penalty. (Remember that, [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hi, I have a client who died in 2021 before taking his 2021 RMD. He designated various charities as beneficiaries of his IRA. The IRA custodian is advising the executor to take the RMD, however according to a previous post by Mr. Slott, Revenue Ruling 2005-36 states in this scenario the RMD is to be paid to the [...]

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    10 NUA Q&AS

    Jul

    21

    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst 1. What is the NUA (Net Unrealized Appreciation) tax break? It is the opportunity to pay tax at long-term capital gains rates on the appreciation of company stock held within a company plan vs. paying ordinary income rates on that growth. 2. Who is a potential candidate for NUA? Anyone with highly appreciated company stock in their workplace plan, [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education On July 15 and 16, financial advisors from around the country gathered virtually for Ed Slott and Company’s Instant IRA Success workshop. We took a deep dive into the rules governing retirement accounts and engaged in some lively discussions of issues that advisors on the front line are facing regularly as they help their clients plan for[...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Mr. Slott, Would a person who took a Coronavirus-Related Distribution from his IRA in 2020, with intent to repay within 3 years, be disqualified from taking a distribution and making a 60-day rollover in 2021 if it is within 12 months of the CRD Thank you, Betty Answer: Hi Betty, The repayment of a CRD is considered a [...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst In the May 17, 2021 Slott Report, we discussed the rules governing required minimum distributions (RMDs) from defined benefit (DB) plans, also known as “pension plans.” We said that DB plan payments usually have no problem satisfying the RMD rules, but there are two special rules that sometimes apply. One special rule kicks in when someone elects a “joint [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A surviving spouse has a number of options regarding how to deal with IRAs inherited from his or her deceased spouse. The age of both the deceased and surviving spouse will most often dictate the decision as to how to proceed. Typically, a surviving spouse who is age 59 ½ or older will do a spousal rollover with the assets. A spousal rollover allows the[...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Ed, I recently saw an email from you on QCDs when deductible IRA contributions are made in the same year. It discussed how these two transactions interact with each other. I am also wondering if the offset to the QCD would also occur for a SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA contribution? Thank you for your help. Doug Answer:[...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education When you contribute to a traditional IRA you make a deal with Uncle Sam. You can get a tax deduction and tax deferral on any earnings in your IRA. However, eventually the government is going to want its share and will require funds to come out of these accounts. That is when you must start required minimum distributions (RMDs). You may not [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi. My name is John and I have a Roth question. I have read your most recent book but did not find the answer to this question. I have made non-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA for many years, so about half of the account is basis. I have no Roth account (yet). I recently left my job and rolled over my 401(k) into a separate [...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Would you like to make charitable donations from your IRA but aren’t eligible for a qualified charitable distributions(QCD) because you’re under age 70 ½? Are you eligible for QCDs but want to donate more than the $100,000 annual limit? Are you interested in making charitable gifts from your 401(k) or other company savings plan? If you answered “yes” to any [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst By now, we all know the SECURE Act outlined a group of people that are still permitted to stretch inherited IRA payments over their own single life expectancy. This group is called “eligible designated beneficiaries” (EDBs). Yes, anyone who inherited an IRA prior to the SECURE Act is grandfathered and can continue to stretch required minimum [...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I rolled over an IRA in March 2021 from an TD Ameritrade institutional account to a TD Ameritrade retail account. I currently would like to do a 60-day short-term rollover. Would this not be allowed because of the one rollover per 12 month period or is a 60-day short-term rollover treated differently? Thank you for your time. Answer: Any [...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The pandemic has upended the workplace and caused many people to rethink their career path. For some older workers this may mean considering early retirement. For those workers, access to retirement savings can be key, and avoiding early distribution penalties is critical. While most distributions taken from a retirement account before age 59 [...]

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    Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport In the June 16, 2021 Slott Report, we discussed how an in-service distribution made in the year of separation from service can inadvertently create an excess IRA contribution if that distribution is rolled over when a required minimum distributions (RMD) is due. A related issue is how rollovers and transfers from 401(k) [...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: A client of mine born in 1952 passed away in March 2021 and the IRA passed to her mother who is 91 years old. So, the 10 year rule applies to liquidate the IRA as she is not an eligible designated beneficiary (EDB). If the mother passes away at age 95 and leaves the inherited IRA to her son – how long does the son have to [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A required minimum distribution (RMD) from a 401(k) (or other employer plan) must be taken prior to rolling remaining plan dollars to an IRA. An RMD cannot be rolled over, so it must be withdrawn before any rollover is completed. While this concept appears somewhat basic, it is easy to get sideways with the rules. Additionally, unexpected changes in [...]

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    Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Edcuation June is PRIDE Month. This June also marks the sixth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage. In the wake of this decision, millions of same-sex couples headed to the alter over the past few years. Many of these newlyweds, never expecting to see a day when they would be allowed [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: How can the beneficiaries of an estate roll a 401(k) paid to the estate to a Roth IRA? What steps must be taken? Bob Answer: Bob, Inherited IRAs cannot be converted to inherited Roth IRAs, but inherited 401(k) plans can be converted. This is an anomaly in the rules, but it is allowed. However, if the 401(k) was already paid to[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst On April 14, we reported that the IRS was apparently interpreting the SECURE Act's 10-year payout rule in a surprising way – to require annual required minimum distributions (RMDs). Now, the IRS has made it clear (without actually saying so) that its prior interpretation was a mistake. The SECURE Act changed the payout rules for most non-spouse beneficiaries [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst With the passage of the SECURE Act, once common IRA beneficiary planning strategies have been upended. For example, no longer can just anyone stretch payments on an inherited IRA. You must qualify as an “eligible designated beneficiary” (EDB) to stretch using your single life expectancy. As we have written many times, EDBs include surviving spouses, [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi! I attended the February 2021 IRA seminar and had a question re: Roth conversions.  The seminar discussed rolling over assets held in a company plan into a Roth IRA. I’m dealing with a client that wants to roll over a lump sum from a state pension plan into a Roth IRA.  Can you tell me if in your experience this is generally permitted (assuming[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It has been well over a year since the SECURE Act became a reality, transforming the rules for inherited IRAs and doing away with the stretch IRA for most beneficiaries. While the SECURE Act statute gave us framework for the new rules, there are large gaps that need to be filled in and many unanswered questions remain. IRA owners and [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: We have a client that owns two substantial IRA accounts plus a smaller beneficiary IRA.  Does the beneficiary IRA have its own RMD rules (the client has owned it for 10 years and has been taking RMD’s from it based on the old stretch IRA rules)?  Or can the beneficiary IRA be lumped together with the other IRA’s for RMD [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst One of the cardinal sins you can commit with an IRA rollover is to run afoul of the IRS “once-per-year” rollover rule. Violating that rule triggers a taxable distribution and the 10% early distribution penalty if you are under age 59 ½. Plus, the forbidden rollover would be treated as an excess contribution subject to an annual 6% penalty unless timely [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst An IRA owner can contribute only so much to a Traditional and/or Roth IRA annually. The IRA owner must also have earned income. The contribution limit for 2021 is $6,000, with a catch-up provision of another $1,000 for those age 50 and over. If a person does not have earned income, he is ineligible to contribute (not counting spousal contributions). If [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Dear Mr. Slott, I really enjoy your publications, website and educational programming on Public Television. You provide a tremendous service and information for investors and advisors alike. My questions pertains to distributions from an Inherited IRA and an Inherited Roth IRA for a non-spouse (daughter). For example: Decedent (father)[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The SECURE Act may have upended the rules for inherited IRAs, but the rules for spouse beneficiaries remain as advantageous as ever. In fact, naming a spouse as an IRA beneficiary is a better option than ever before. Now, an older spouse beneficiary will get more favorable payout options than a much younger adult child. Why? That is because[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Rules governing defined benefit (DB) plans are typically more complicated than defined contribution (DC) plan rules. But required minimum distributions (RMDs) are one area where the DB plan requirements are easier to understand. If you’re in a DB plan, your benefit payments must begin no later than your “required beginning date” (RBD) – just like with [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Good afternoon. We have a client who was 19 years younger than her spouse. He passed away this year. We are planning to keep this as an inherited IRA for now. Can we move the assets to her own IRA at any time? Thank you, stay safe and have a great day, Julie Answer: Hi Julie, Yes, a surviving spouse can roll over the deceased [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As we inch toward the extended 2020 tax deadline of May 17, many filers are still laboring over their returns. Some are completing the final return for a loved one lost in what was a brutal year. As is human nature, most taxpayers try to squeeze every last deduction and income-reducing item into their prior-year numbers. While maximizing all available [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education On May 5, the House Ways and Means Committee unanimously passed the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2021. According to lawmakers, the proposal is designed to pick up where the SECURE Act of 2019 left off and help increase retirement savings even more. The so-called “Son of SECURE” would make more big changes to retirement accounts.[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I am 83 years old with an IRA rollover account, regular IRA account and a small Roth IRA. If I convert a portion of either the rollover or regular IRA to a Roth IRA and die before 5 years after the conversion, is there any penalty to me or the beneficiaries?  Also, can I convert to the existing Roth IRA or should I start a new[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When visiting the doctor, does he or she ask foundational questions to help determine your medical condition? Of course. “How are you feeling?” “Are you a smoker?” “What hurts?” Does the doctor take some basic measurements – height, weight, blood pressure? Does he listen to your heart and lungs? Most assuredly. The doctor is establishing[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Good news for retirement savers! There is more time to make your 2020 IRA contribution. On March 17, 2020, the IRS extended the 2020 federal income tax-filing deadline to May 17, 2021. The extension also extends the deadline until May 17 to make a 2020 prior year contribution to a traditional or Roth IRA. If you have an extension to file[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst If you sponsor a solo 401(k) plan, beware! The IRS recently announced that it is targeting several employer plan areas for stepped-up auditing. One of those areas is solo 401(k) plans. The fact that solo plans made the list is a signal that the IRS believes there are widespread compliance issues with these plans. While solo 401(k) plans don’t have as many [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Your newsletter is so helpful, and your book was a great resource to me when my mom passed away 5 years ago and I inherited her IRA. I am 76 and have not taken my RMD for 2021. Should I pass away and my wife age 69 transfers my IRA to hers, must my RMD for 2021 be taken first? Thanks much. A columnist in the Chicago Tribune led me to you years [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst This question (or a derivation of it) has been popular as of late: “I only participated in my 401(k) for a couple of months in 2020 before I was laid off. Does that still make me a ‘covered’ employee, and can I contribute to my Traditional IRA?” It seems innocent enough, but there is a heck of lot going on in this little question. Let’s [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The IRS has delayed the deadline for filing federal income taxes until May 17, 2021. This also extends the deadline for making a 2020 Roth IRA contribution. A Roth IRA offers the promise of tax-free withdrawals in retirement if you follow the rules. If you are deciding whether a 2020 Roth IRA contribution is the right move for you, here [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst With all the recent changes to IRAs under the SECURE Act [i.e., required minimum distribution (RMD) age raised to 72, new rules for beneficiaries, etc.], combined with the CARES Act waiver of RMDs last year, it comes as no surprise that we are hearing rumors and conspiracy theories about what will happen next. Here are a couple of the more popular [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: A new customer came to me asking for help with an IRA. Unfortunately, he had already accepted a check from the 401(k) plan made out to him personally. He sat on the check for 5 months and deposited it into his checking account last week. He is only 50 years old. Since we are well after the normal 60-day rollover period, is [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Just a few weeks after the start of the baseball season, the IRS has thrown us a curveball by apparently interpreting the SECURE Act 10-year payout rule in a totally-unexpected way. We say “apparently” because the IRS explanation isn’t very clear. And even if it was clear, the IRS offered the information in an informal publication that should not be [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I inherited my husband's 401(k) when he died last year. I kept the assets with the 401(k) administrator, believing I had to do that to take distributions without 10% penalty. (I am under 59 ½ years old). If I roll over the 401(k) to an inherited IRA, will I still be able to take penalty-free distributions? Thank you Donna [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Required minimum distributions (RMDs) were waived for 2020 but they are back now for 2021. This includes the RMD for the year of death of the IRA owner. The rules for this RMD can be tricky. One question that comes up a lot is who must take this RMD. It is an all-too-common scenario. An IRA owner has passed their required beginning date [...]

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    George Nichols III is the 10th President and Chief Executive Officer in The American College of Financial Services’ storied history. He continues to take motivation from founder Solomon Huebner’s pioneering vision in 1927, while empowering The College to usher in the next century of educational excellence. Before joining The College, Nichols served as Executive Vice President, Governmental [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi, Ed, I am hoping I get to attend one or more of your events IN PERSON this year! If you have time for a refresher . . . . Jon’s 2021 RMD is $200k. He takes $100k as a distribution to himself in February and later, he decides to satisfy the remaining $100k as a QCD in November. Does this work as far as the timing of the QCD? Thank [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst In my blog entry from March 22, I discussed the formula for calculating the amount of a direct Roth IRA contribution when your income falls within the Roth phaseout limits. Another common phaseout covers how much of a Traditional IRA contribution can be deducted. As with the Roth contribution phaseout, this income level cutoff is not a “cliff,” [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Has the deadline to make an IRA contribution for 2020 been extended since the 2020 tax filing date has been extended to May 17, 2021? Robert Answer: Hi Robert, Yes. The 2020 IRA contribution deadline is also extended to May 17, 2021. Question: Hi Ed, My mother recently passed away in February 2021 from [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Fewer and fewer workers are participating in defined benefit pension (DB) plans these days. The high cost of maintaining those plans has led many employers to terminate existing plans and dissuaded many others from setting up new plans in the first place. But there are still many DB plans out there, and it’s important to know that they operate very [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When it comes to contributing directly to a Roth IRA, an individual must have modified adjusted gross income below a certain level. This income level cutoff is not a “cliff,” meaning if you go one dollar over the level, you do not immediately become ineligible for a Roth IRA. There is a phaseout range where the amount of the direct Roth IRA [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I found you by searching to find out if we can offer two SIMPLE IRA options for our employees. I don't know if that is something permitted. The idea is to have a cryptocurrency option set up as a SIMPLE in addition to the SIMPLE we already have in place. I'm reaching out in the hopes someone can help me with a definitive answer. I [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The CARES Act waived required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020, but they are back for 2021. The return of RMDs for this year has raised questions about how these distributions should be calculated. Here is what you need to know if you must take a 2021 RMD. Many IRA holders have had concerns that there would be a need to take both an[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst We’ve been getting a number of questions lately about whether it’s too late to set up a new solo 401(k) plan for 2020. The answer is “sort of.” Business owners with no employees (other than a spouse) can contribute to a solo 401(k) plan. Solo plans are typically used by sole proprietors but are also available if your business is incorporated or [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I have self-directed traditional and Roth accounts at an SDIRA Custodian.  Can I do a Roth  conversion of an illiquid asset from the traditional to the Roth account?  The investment I want to convert is a debt-only asset (no equity component) generating a fixed 8% dividend. It has a consistent FMV from year to year. I know I will pay tax on the [...]

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    HOUSE RULES

    Mar

    10

    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Casinos have house rules. These rules dictate what patrons can and cannot do. They are often written down, posted, and there is no debating the validity of said guidelines. House rules govern all those under the purview of management. I have house rules of my own when it comes to card games, darts, boardgames and[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport For those just starting out, saving for retirement can be challenging. For young workers, paying the rent and buying the week’s groceries may take priority and there is only so much money to go around. However, there is an often-overlooked tax break that may make saving for retirement more [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I am 75 years old and am planning to retire this year.  I have a 401(k) plan with my employer and, I assume, need to roll it over into an IRA.  In this case do I need to take a 2021 RMD?  If so, how is it calculated?  I have taken RMDs on my other IRA accounts so I know how to use the factor according to my age, but what [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst For an area as highly regulated as IRAs and company plans, it’s not surprising that there’s a ton of abbreviated terms to keep track of. Here’s 18 common ones that you should know: CARES Act. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. A law enacted on March 27, 2020 that, among other items, waived RMDs for 2020 and allowed CRDs. [...]

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    Thursday, February 25, 2021 A Preview of Ed Slott’s New Book: The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb By Ed Slott, CPA If you’re a dedicated Ed Slott and Company fan, at this point, you’ve likely heard about my upcoming new book, The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb (Penguin Random House, 2021). If you haven’t, then you’ve come to the right place to get a sneak peek [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Have you contributed to a Roth IRA for 2020? If you have not, you still have some time. The deadline for making a prior year contribution is the tax-filing deadline, not including any extensions you might have. For 2020, that deadline is April 15, 2021. If you have made a Roth IRA contribution for 2020, or are still planning to make one,[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst When we think of rollovers, we normally think of moving funds from a 401(k) (or other company plan) to an IRA. But it sometimes makes sense to consider a “reverse rollover” – from an IRA to a 401(k). Unfortunately, although 401(k) plans are required to allow rollovers out of the plan, they do not have to permit rollovers into the plan. So, before [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I have a client that took a $14k IRA distribution on 1/10/2021 and another $14k distribution on 2/10/2021. He wants to replace all $28k using the 60 day rollover as funds are no longer needed. Does the 60 day rollover rule allow him to replace all 28k (from both distributions) within 60 days from the first distribution on 1/10/2021? Or [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Surprisingly, the rules governing what happens when an ex-spouse acquires a Roth IRA after divorce are unclear. There are no specific directions in the Tax Code or in the regulations. However, there is definitive guidance for a spouse who inherits a Roth IRA due to death. It makes sense to look to these rules after death for direction on how to process a[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Whenever there is a new administration there is a lot of uncertainty about what the change will mean for retirement accounts. In 2021, this change is happening in the middle of a pandemic that has upended the lives of most Americans and created enormous economic and psychological stress. The result has been more speculation about the future[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I am going to turn 72 in December of 2021. When I take my RMD, what is the dollar amount I use to calculate my RMD? Is it the account value ending December 31, 2020, or December 31, 2021? Thank you for any clarification. Bob Answer: Bob, Since you turn 72 in December of this year, 2021 is your very first year for having to take[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst One of the many unfortunate effects of the coronavirus pandemic is the number of folks who have lost their jobs. Besides the loss of income, many of these individuals also face unexpected and unpleasant tax consequences if they have an outstanding 401(k) plan loan. If you leave your job (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) with an unpaid loan balance, your [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Educations Question: Hi! I am over 60 and have had a self-directed Roth IRA for the past 15 years. I would like to roll some of it over to another self-directed Roth where I could invest in crypto-currency. Is this possible? If so, how does the 5-year rule apply for the new Roth? Thank you! Steve Answer: Hi Steve, It is possible [...]

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