• By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport If a retirement account transaction becomes a taxable distribution, you probably know you will owe taxes and possibly the 10% early distribution penalty (if under age 59 ½) on the distribution. But what you may not know is there might be an unexpected surprise. On top of the additional taxes and 10% penalty, you might also [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Question: My husband is the sole beneficiary of a Traditional IRA owned by his cousin, who recently  passed away. From my research, I believe my husband fits the exception criteria of "eligible designated beneficiary" in that he is not more than 10 years younger than the deceased (he is 9 years younger…he [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Each week the Ed Slott team answers questions from financial advisors across the country. Sometimes we see a pattern in repeating questions, sometimes the questions are relatively basic, and sometimes they are real stumpers. We never know what the next phone call or email will bring. Recently, we’ve fielded a [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Follow Us on Twitter: @theslottreport Many Americans are still working long beyond what has traditionally been retirement age. This may be a choice or a necessity. If this is your situation, you may be keeping funds in your employer plan well into your seventies and maybe even later. This can bring big benefits. You can still make [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Can an RMD from an inherited IRA be taken out of your own traditional IRA? Jack Answer: Hi Jack, Aggregation of required minimum distributions (RMDs) can be complicated and we get a lot of questions on this topic. You can aggregate RMDs and take the total amount from one IRA in some cases. For example, if you have[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When moving retirement money from IRA to IRA, or from a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k) to an IRA, there are essentially three methods to relocate those dollars. Two of them are similar, and the third opens all kinds of potential problems. Knowing how to properly move retirement dollars is imperative to produce the desired outcome. Direct [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I have just read as many questions and answers as I could on The Slott Report and am still very confused.  Simply put, I am over 80 years old, and I have had a Roth and a traditional IRA for many years.  My daughter is the sole beneficiary of those IRAs and is in her 50s. Will my daughter have to take an annual RMD from both my Roth and traditional [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Back in 2020 when COVID first became our new reality, Congress enacted the CARES Act. The CARES Act allowed qualified individuals who were affected by COVID to take penalty-free distributions from their retirement accounts of up to $100,000. The taxation on these distributions could have been paid in 2020 or spread over three years. [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Like most everything else these days, the price for receiving an IRS private letter ruling (PLR) has recently gone up. A person will request a PLR to receive the IRS’s blessing that a specific tax transaction won’t violate the tax code or IRS regulations. A PLR is specific to the particular tax situation of the person requesting it. This means that PLRs [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Is there a required minimum distribution (RMD) on a self-directed IRA? Answer: A “self-directed IRA” is nothing more than an IRA that invests in unconventional items that not all custodians will handle – like maybe crypto currency, real estate, or a hard-to-value assets. Otherwise, self-directed IRAs follow the same rules as [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Conduit IRAs, sometimes called “rollover IRAs,” typically contained only money rolled over from a company plan - and subsequent earnings on those dollars. But a 2001 tax law (Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001) opened all sorts of rollovers and plan portability. So, for the most part, a person could commingle his IRA [...]

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    By 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. If you are thinking this might be a good strategy for you, here are 4 QCD rules that may surprise you. 1. You must be age 70 ½ or older. IRA owners who are age 70½ and over are eligible to do a QCD. [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Proposals to boost IRA and workplace plan savings are advancing, but they are not law yet. Several actions must occur before the proposals become law. On March 29, the House passed the “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022.” Now, two different Senate committees are taking up the subject. On June 14, a Senate committee (Health, Education, Labor and [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Dear Sirs: I inherited a regular IRA upon my mother's death in 2015. I am now 75 years old and have been taking required distributions since then. She was taking distributions herself when she died. My question is: may I close out this IRA now by taking out the entire balance and paying taxes on it? Thanks. Patrick[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD Director of Retirement Education Should I Accept a Lump Sum Buyout Offer? With economic uncertainty increasing, more companies with defined benefit (DB) pension plans will likely attempt to improve their bottom line by offering lump sum buyouts. A lump sum buyout is a limited opportunity for DB plan participants to elect a one-time cash payment in exchange for giving up [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I am 66 and would like to convert one of my IRAs to a Roth, but I am not sure if any of my old IRA accounts have any after-tax contributions. I have no records, so I assume they are all pre-tax but I am not sure. If I convert and pay taxes, does the IRS contact me regarding after-tax contributions if I ever made them? Thanks Mary Answer:[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Over the past couple of months I have been tasked with the unfortunate responsibility of helping my mother sort through her financial affairs after the death of her spouse. My dad passed in March, and it has been a steady stream of questions, conference calls with her financial advisor and one important decision after another. Of course, this doesn’t [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner Director of Retirement Education You may have heard how converting to a Roth IRA is a great move for younger people. This is no surprise. A younger person who converts has two big factors working in her favor. She may pay taxes on a smaller IRA balance, and she has many years to accrue tax-free earnings in her Roth IRA. But what about older people? It is a mistake to write off[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi Ed, I’m 66 Years old. Less than a year ago I converted into my Roth from my traditional IRA with the intention of parking it there until I could finalize the details of a summer house purchase. I know I have taxes to pay on the conversion. However, now that I wish to use the money and remove it from the Roth, am I going to be subject[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The 72(t) rules (”series of substantially equal periodic payments”) allow a person to tap retirement dollars before 59½ without a 10% early distribution penalty. However, to gain this early access, you must commit to a plan of withdrawals according to the strict guidelines set forth in the Tax Code. For example, some basic requirements dictate that:[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner Director of Retirement Education Question: Ed, My mother passed away in May 2019, and I inherited her IRA.  She had not completed her RMD for 2019, so I did that. In 2020, I began my RMDs based on the Single Life Table for Inherited IRAs. Since I inherited prior to January 1, 2020, does anything in the SECURE Act apply to my inherited IRA? Will I be able to continue [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner Director of Retirement Education If you inherit an IRA, especially if it is a larger one, you may be afraid of being stuck with the five-year distribution rule. If this rule applies, your IRA must be entirely emptied in five years, which can be a serious tax hit. Under the tax rules, if you are named as the beneficiary on the IRA beneficiary designation form, you will not [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Those of you who participate in 401(k) plans or certain 403(b) plans should see something new on your next quarterly statement for the period ending June 30, 2022. For the first time, the statements must include illustrations of the monthly payments you would receive if your current plan account balance was used to purchase an annuity. This new requirement is [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Good Day, I have a client (age 65) who inherited a traditional IRA from her mother in 2020. I know that she must empty the account by 12/31/30. She is not an eligible designated beneficiary (EDB). I’m trying to calculate the 2022 RMD. I have used several online calculators, and none calculates an RMD amount. They all say that no distributions are[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst SCENARIO: John owns multiple Roth IRAs. He believes it is necessary to maintain all these accounts to keep things properly organized and to track his 5-year conversion clocks. He has contributed to Roth IRA #1 for over a decade. He did a partial Roth conversion from a traditional IRA many years ago (to Roth IRA #2). Since that first conversion, John did[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education You can have too much of a good thing. While saving for retirement with an IRA is a good strategy, there are limits.  When a contribution is not permitted in an IRA, it is an excess contribution and needs to be fixed. Here are 5 ways an excess IRA contribution can happen to you: 1. Exceeding the Annual IRA Contribution Limit You [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: As we did 2 years ago, will we be able to skip taking a 2022 required minimum distribution (RMD) without penalties? Answer: Sorry, but RMDs are in full effect for 2022. The CARES Act waived RMDs in 2020, but that was a one-time deal. RMDs were back in play for 2021, and are still required for 2022 as well. Question: Good [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Usually, rollovers involving 401(k) accounts and IRAs involve moving dollars from a plan to an IRA. But sometimes it makes sense to instead do a “reverse rollover” – from an IRA to a 401(k). Let’s get some bad news out of the way: Although 401(k)s (and other company plans) are required to allow rollovers out of the plan, they are not required to allow [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I am 79 and make SEP-IRA withdrawals annually as required. I also have several regular (non-IRA) accounts. One fund I own throws off tremendous taxable capital gains every year. Is there any way I can move it into an IRA account without selling it first in a taxable transaction? Thanks. Answer: There are several [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Why is it so important to know how the once-per-year rollover rule works? Well, that is because trouble with the once-per year rule is the kind of trouble no one wants! An IRA owner who violates this rule is looking at some serious tax consequences. One Rollover a Year for an IRA owner If an IRA owner for whatever reason elects not to[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I am age 50 and am targeting retirement at age 55. My current employer is selling the division I work for, and I see the potential that I could be laid off at, say, 52. If this were to happen, could I join a new employer with a 401(k) plan, roll my old 401(k) over to the new plan, and then take a distribution (both the rolled-over funds and [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Employees leaving their jobs are often surprised to discover they aren’t entitled to the full balance of their company plan account. The reason is that some plans impose a vesting rule on certain types of contributions. What do the vesting rules mean? They tell you how much of your plan benefit you actually own and cannot be taken away from you. If you’re [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Last week in Kansas City, the Ed Slott team hosted our first in-person training program for members of our Elite Advisor Group since late 2019. While we managed to stay in contact with everyone via virtual meetings for the last two years, it was good to again see people face-to-face. The conversations were lively and interaction among the members during [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I have a 401(k) that I'd like to use a portion for a QCD. I understand that QCD's have to be from an IRA. Can I move a portion to an IRA for the QCD? How will this affect my RMD from my 401(k)? Federal tax implications? Thank you! Answer: You are correct that QCDs can only be done from an IRA, so you would have to roll over money from [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The real estate market is red hot right now. This can be especially challenging for first time home buyers. IRA savings are intended to be used for your retirement. However, if you are like many others, your IRA may be your biggest asset. You may need your IRA funds to make home ownership happen and there is a special break in the tax code [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Just when we thought we understood the new IRS regulations on required minimum distributions (RMDs), here comes more uncertainty. As we have reported, the IRS threw everyone a curveball with its interpretation of the 10-year payout rule under the SECURE Act in its proposed regulations issued on February 23. For most non-spouse beneficiaries, the SECURE Act [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I am 75 years old and contributing to my company’s 401(K) plan. I have not taken an RMD from my 401(K) utilizing the “still-working exception.” I just retired on April 30, 2022. My question is: Do I have to take an RMD from my 401(K) for the current year 2022, or am I allowed to wait until next April 2023 to commence [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) continue to gain popularity, and with that popularity comes more questions. Here are a dozen QCD facts that will keep you on the straight-and-narrow with your QCD transactions: 1. QCDs are capped at $100,000 per person per year, and they only apply to IRA owners (which includes inherited IRAs) if the IRA [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Recently, Fidelity investments made headlines by announcing that it would allow retirement savers to put Bitcoin in their 401(k)s. Cryptocurrency has been all over the news, and you may be wondering if it would be a good investment for your IRA. Here is what you need to know. What is crypto? A good place to start is by learning exactly [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I’m 68 years old. I would like to start IRA withdrawals. What are the rules for withdrawing before my RMDs are required at age 72? Thanks, Bob Answer: Bob, There are no limitations to withdrawing your IRA before RMDs begin. As a 68-year-old, you have full access to your IRA whenever you want it, penalty free. Assuming all [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst There are three types of company savings plans: 401(k) plans if you work for a for-profit company; 403(b) plans if you work for a tax-exempt employer, a public school or a church; and 457(b) plans if you work for a state or local government. (This article doesn’t cover the Thrift Savings Plan for federal government workers and the military, or [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst For those who have 401(k)s or other employee retirement plans (but not SEP or SIMPLE plans), the required beginning date (RBD) for when required minimum distributions (RMDs) are to begin is the same as for IRA owners – April 1 of the year after a person turns 72. However, if the plan allows for the “still-working exception,” the RBD can potentially[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello, I’m learning a lot from Ed Slott’s latest book, “The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb,” but I do have a question on 401(k) Roth IRA conversions. I’m recently retired with a company 401(k). I’m leaning towards keeping the 401(k) (rather than rolling it into my IRA). Is it possible to do an annual direct conversion (partial) from [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education For IRA-to-IRA or Roth-to-Roth 60-day rollovers, the same property received is the property that must be rolled over. These rules also apply to SIMPLE and SEP IRAs. You cannot receive a distribution of cash and then roll over shares of stock purchased with the cash or shares that you currently own. If cash is distributed from an IRA, then [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Tax Day 2022 seems like an appropriate time to review a sometimes-overlooked way to get extra dollars into your IRA or company savings plan. Folks age 50 or older are allowed to make “catch-up” contributions with no strings attached. These extra contributions allow you to build up your savings while enjoying an immediate tax break (if making pre-tax [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hello, Client (72) has recently inherited a “Beneficiary IRA” account. My question is for next year:  Can she use qualified charitable distributions for her beneficiary IRA? Thank you, Kathy Answer: Hi Kathy, Yes, this would work. Beneficiaries can take qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) from [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The deadline for filing your 2021 tax return is this Monday, April 18. It is extended through the weekend because IRS offices in Washington DC are closed on Friday, April 15, in observance of the locally recognized Emancipation Day. As such, this buys all of us a couple of extra days to complete our returns. For procrastinators, or for those who simply [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The SECURE Act was signed into law in late December of 2019. This new law upended the rules for retirement accounts. With it came many questions, and IRS guidance was eagerly anticipated. Finally, on February 23, the IRS released new proposed regulations that incorporate all the changes brought about by the SECURE Act. Since then, we have [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I have a non-spousal inherited IRA account.  Once I take out my RMD for the year, am I able to take out excess funds and roll those into a Roth account? Thank you. Answer: Inherited IRA accounts do not follow all the same rules nor do they have all the same benefits as your own IRA. For one, inherited IRA dollars are not [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst A bill designed to increase savings in IRAs and company plans has passed the House of Representatives, but it’s not yet law. The bill is officially called the “Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2022,” but many are calling it “SECURE 2.0” since it’s seen as an expansion  of the original SECURE Act from 2019. On March 29, the House passed the bill[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The new SECURE Act regulations, released in late February, created a firestorm of confusion and complexity. We have addressed concerns in recent Slott Report articles and will continue to do so as issues arise. However, as of now, one question has emerged as the most popular: How do beneficiaries handle “missed” 2021 RMDs within the 10-year payout [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I have a client that needs funds for a short period of time, so he plans to use the 60-day rollover rule to borrow money from his IRA and return it within 60 days. He has a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. He is under the impression he can do a 60-day rollover for each account. My understanding is that he can only do one 60-day rollover [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Most IRA distributions will be taxable. However, if you have ever made nondeductible contributions to your IRA or rolled over after-tax funds from your company plan to your IRA, then the rules can get a little bit tricky. You will need to understand the pro-rata rule. The pro-rate rule is a rule that almost always determines the [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst When you file for bankruptcy, one thing you usually don’t have to worry about is protecting your IRA funds from creditors. That’s because, in just about every case, all of your IRA (and Roth IRA) monies are off limits. Under the federal bankruptcy law, IRA assets up to a certain dollar limit cannot be reached by creditors. That dollar limit is indexed every[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I established a Roth IRA in 2011 and needed to withdraw $ 30,000 in 2021 to pay for my daughter’s first year of college tuition. I am under 59 1/12 and the 1099-R has a code of J meaning early distribution and no known exception. Will my distribution, therefore, be fully taxable and will I have to pay the 10% early withdrawal [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Here we go again. In my March 14 Slott Report entry (“Monitoring Concurrent Life Expectancies? – SMH”), I railed against the IRS for a seemingly pointless rule in the new SECURE Act regulations directed at elderly IRA beneficiaries. (Subsequently, I saw other commentary criticizing that same rule as “nasty” and “mean spirited.”) In [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education It may be hard to believe it but the countdown to the 2021 tax filing deadline is on. The deadline is April 18, 2022, for most filers. That is really only a few weeks away. Time is running out. Is your IRA ready? Making a 2021 IRA Contribution April 18, 2022 is the deadline for making a 2021 IRA contribution. This is true even if [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hey Ed- Long time reader and listener of yours…and have bought a few copies of your latest book to share with clients! Prior to us being involved, my client made a Backdoor Roth contribution in 2021. He did this despite his income being below the threshold limits. Also, he had existing IRA balances. Is there anything he can do? Are [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst With many 401(k) (and 403(b) and 457(b) plans) offering multiple participant accounts, your plan statement is probably more complicated than ever. Here’s a brief primer to help you understand what each account represents: Pre-tax deferral account. All retirement savings plans allow for pre-tax deferrals. You make these contributions from before-tax pay. Both[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst I am usually patient with the IRS. I understand the massive workload they have, and there are tax cheats lurking around every corner. The IRS does its best to ensure no loopholes exist for bad actors to circumvent tax laws to avoid paying their fair share. However, when it comes to some of the guidance in the recently released SECURE Act regulations, my [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Ed, I read your 2/28/22 Slott Report on the updated SECURE Act information for non-eligible designated beneficiaries (non-EDBs) that requires annual RMDs to continue if the original owner was taking them prior to his death and also requires the account to be emptied by the end of year 10. Since the Roth IRA does not have RMDs, is it correct to [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Roth IRAs have always been a great retirement savings tool. While pre-tax retirement accounts allow tax deferred savings, a Roth IRA promises tax-free benefits. They allow you to receive years of earnings in retirement without tax consequences. Those tax-free distributions also have the side benefit of not increasing stealth taxes such as [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The part of the new IRS SECURE Act regulations causing the most reaction is the one requiring annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) for some IRA or workplace plan beneficiaries subject to the 10-year payment rule. Under the SECURE Act, IRA or plan beneficiaries who are not “eligible designated beneficiaries” (EDBs) are subject to the 10-year rule. [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hello. I was reading the 2/28/22 edition of the Slott Report and noticed the section titled “Beneficiaries Hit w/Annual RMDs and the 10-Year Rule.” It was my understanding that starting 1/1/20, most non-spouse beneficiaries would have 10 years from the year of death to distribute the IRA, with no RMDs required. Will [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The 275 pages of proposed SECURE Act regulations, released by the IRS on February 23, are chock full of little details. Each of these tidbits will have some impact on particular IRA owners and retirement account participants. One such new rule pertains to the age of majority. When is a minor child recognized as an adult? Existing IRS guidance deferred[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education On February 23, 2022, the IRS released the long-awaited proposed SECURE Act regulations. The new regulations clock in at 275 pages and offer guidance on many SECURE Act rules. They also include a few surprises. Here are some highlights. Eligible Designated Beneficiaries The SECURE Act did away with the stretch IRA for most [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: If an 80-year-old converts his IRA to a Roth account and dies the following year, when can the beneficiaries begin withdrawing money tax-free from the Roth?  Do the beneficiaries have to wait for the expiration of the 5-year period following the conversion? Thank you for your response. George Answer: George, Since the IRA [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The amount of annual pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions you can make to a 401(k) plan is limited by the tax code. If you exceeded that limit in 2021, time is of the essence to correct the error. If you don’t act quickly, the tax consequences can be serious. For 2021, you were limited to $19,500 in pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions (plus an [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The federal ERISA law gives spouses of plan participants in ERISA-covered plans certain rights to the participant’s account. There are two types of ERISA financial protection for spouses. Spouses of IRA owners usually don’t have similar rights. The first type of protection applies to all ERISA plans. Those plans must automatically treat a married [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I am 66 years old and live on Social Security and other retirement income. Additionally, I have about a half million dollars in pre-tax 457(b) funds that I do not need for current expenses. Are these funds in the pre-tax retirement accounts eligible for Roth conversion? Can I withdraw funds from the 457(b) account and deposit them in a Roth IRA? [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The pandemic has upended the workforce. Many workers lost jobs. Some workers resigned by choice. Others were forced to leave jobs due to childcare issues. If you are not working outside the home, you may believe you are ineligible to make an IRA contribution. You may think that because IRA contributions are based on taxable compensation, if[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Towards the end of each year, the IRS announces cost-of-living increases for several retirement-related dollar limits that will become effective for the next year. For example, last November, the IRS said that the limit on employee pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions in company plans would increase to $20,500 for 2022. You may have also seen that the IRS [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I turn 72 this year. I am getting notices from my many IRA custodians that they want a waiver on file if I am NOT using my account for the RMD (i.e., I am taking it somewhere else). They make it sound like if I do not contact them, that they will automatically cut me a check for the required RMD amount. How can that [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst For IRA owners and retirement plan participants who are under age 59 ½, taking a distribution from a retirement account is typically off limits. The distribution will most likely be taxable, and there is a good chance that a 10% penalty will also apply. However, sometimes life gets in the way and a withdrawal needs to be made. Before shaking out your[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education If you are under age 59 ½ and you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you will need to watch out for the five-year rule for penalty-free distributions of converted funds. Not understanding how the rule works can result in unexpected penalties when you withdraw your Roth IRA funds. If you make annual tax year contributions to [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The “Martin Scenario”: Martin, age 40, has never done an IRA rollover before. He took a distribution from his traditional IRA in December 2021 for $10,000 and deposited it into his checking account. Martin took another distribution from his IRA in January 2022 for $50,000. He also deposited this into the same checking account. Trivia Question [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: My question relates to an IRA withdrawal that is then deposited as a Roth conversion. Will this withdrawal count as a once-per-year IRA rollover? Thanks in advance for your wonderful advice. Regards, Peter Answer:  Hi Peter, Thanks for the kind words. Roth conversions are not subject to the once-per-year rollover rule. Only [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The rollover rules can be especially challenging at the end of the calendar year. If you took a distribution from your IRA at end of 2021 and are considering a rollover in 2022, here is what you need to know. First, it is important to understand that it is possible to roll over a distribution from last year. Sometimes IRA owners have [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst 72(t) payments have suddenly become a better deal for IRA owners and company plan participants. Also known as “substantially equal periodic payments,” 72(t) payments are advantageous because they are exempt from the 10% early distribution penalty that usually applies to withdrawals before age 59 ½. You can take them from an IRA at any time, but only from a[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hello.  Thanks in advance for fielding my question. My mother died in 2021 in her 90's. She was using $100,000 of her traditional IRA RMD as a QCD. In order to fulfill her 2021 charitable commitments, I did a QCD after her death. Because I am not 70 ½ yet, my CPA tells me I need to include the IRA withdrawal in my [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A person is allowed only one IRA-to-IRA or Roth-IRA-to-Roth-IRA 60-day rollover per year. This 12-month period is a full 12 months – it is not a calendar year. Accordingly, we refer to this as the “once-per-year rule.” For example, if a person received an IRA distribution in March that is subsequently rolled over, he is not eligible to initiate [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Did you take your RMD from your IRA for 2021? Hopefully, the answer is yes because for most IRA owners and beneficiaries the deadline for taking a 2021 RMD was December 31, 2021. There is an exception. If you reached age 72 in 2021, you still have time. Your deadline for taking your 2021 RMD from your IRA is April 1, 2022. The end of [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi, I turn 72 this year and have to take my first required minimum distribution (RMD). I am also in the process of converting most of my IRA into a Roth IRA. I know I have to take my RMD first before the conversion. Since this is my first year of RMDs, I know one of the options is to delay the RMD until April of next year. Is it possible [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst As we move into 2022, small business owners may be wondering whether they still have time to establish a new retirement plan for 2021. The short answer is: “It depends.” There are several retirement plan options especially designed for small business owners, including the self-employed. These include SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and Solo 401(k)s. All three can be [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Less than two weeks into the new year seems like a good time to provide a few reminders and warnings when it comes to Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs). As a quick refresher, remember these QCD facts: Only available to IRA (and inherited IRA) owners who are age 70½ and over. Capped at $100,000 per person, per year. (For a married couple [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Has the IRS clarified the 10-year rule on inherited IRAs? Do you have to take RMDs each year or can you wait until the 10th year? Also, does this rule apply to inherited Roth IRAs? Thanks, Daniel Answer: Hi Daniel, Yes, the IRS has clarified that annual RMDs from an inherited IRA are not required under the 10-year payout rule. The [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The IRS has released new life expectancy tables for calculating required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2022. The most commonly used tables are the Uniform Lifetime and the Single Life Expectancy Tables.  The Uniform Lifetime Table is used by most IRA owners who need to take 2022 lifetime RMDs. The Single Life Expectancy Table is used by[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Welcome to 2022! One of the big changes in the retirement account world this year will be the calculation of required minimum distributions (RMDs). RMDs for IRA owners and plan participants are calculated using life expectancies from IRS tables. There are three tables: 1. The Uniform Lifetime Table, used to calculate lifetime RMDs in most cases. 2. The [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Ed, Since the Build Back Better bill is still in legislative limbo, does that mean that backdoor Roth IRA contributions are still available for 2022? If so, what do you suggest if someone makes a backdoor Roth contribution early in 2022 and then the legislature retroactively disallows it when the bill is finally passed? [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst SCENARIO: Teddy, age 60, has an existing Traditional IRA with a current balance of $93,000. This is all deductible, pre-tax money. Teddy would like to contribute to a Roth IRA, but his income level exceeds the Roth IRA income threshold. To skirt this problem, Teddy makes a 2021 $7,000 non-deductible contribution to his Traditional IRA with the idea to [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst In 2021, the Slott Report produced roughly 100 diverse retirement-related articles and answered approximately 100 reader questions in our weekly Mailbag. We do our best to present topical IRA and retirement plan issues in the most creative, interesting, and informative manner. We hope you enjoyed the content and learned some new things. Thank you to [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Pop the champagne! It is almost time to turn the page on the calendar to a new year. What will 2022 mean for your retirement accounts? All signs point to a very busy year ahead. Here is what we may expect for retirement accounts in 2022. 1. New life expectancy tables for calculating required minimum distributions (RMDs) go into [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Thanksgiving 2021 is upon us. This is the time of the year when we gather together and express our gratitude. When it comes to our retirement accounts, we often complain about the negatives. There are restrictions that are not logical and rules that are complex and confusing. To celebrate Thanksgiving, it is a Slott Report tradition to [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi Mr. Slott: I enjoy your website's very helpful information! I know that the IRS rules limit us to one indirect (60-day) IRA rollover every 12-month period. Are Health Savings Account (HSA) indirect rollovers counted as one of these rollovers, or are the IRA and HSA once-per-12-month rules separate? In other words, can an IRA owner [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst As 2021 draws to a close, many of us will naturally look back and try to make some sense of the past year. On the whole, it would be hard to classify 2021 as an “uneventful” year. But in the world of IRAs and workplace plans, it actually was – especially compared to the previous two years. Recall that December 2019 saw passage of the SECURE Act, which [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A “life hack” is any trick, shortcut or simple and clever technique for accomplishing a familiar task more easily and efficiently, in all walks of life. For example, tie a colorful ribbon to your luggage to make it more easily identifiable on the airport conveyor belt. Life hack! Make ice cubes out of coffee so as to not water down your iced latte. [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I have a client, age 65, who passed away and left her IRA to her estate. Two nephews and a niece are beneficiaries of the estate.  Is there a way to add beneficiaries after her passing? I spoke with a financial company, and they said you need some type of court order or ruling to allow this. They indicated that it happens and is allowable, but [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Tis the season. Yes, it is the holiday season, and it is also the season to take RMDs. RMDs are back for 2021 after being waived by the CARES Act for 2020. With the return of RMDs come questions. One question we have been getting a lot this year involves RMDs when IRA investments are illiquid. When it comes to RMDs from IRAs, the rules [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst During 2021, Congress has taken up a number of different retirement proposals, and it’s been difficult to keep track of them. Here’s an update of how things stand at the moment. Of course, new developments could occur at any time, so stay tuned. Build Back Better Act On November 19, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: If the owner of an inherited IRA was required to take RMDs from the IRA prior to his death, can a beneficiary who is younger than age 70 1/2 request QCDs from the inherited IRA? Note: We understand the beneficiary is required to take RMDs based on the deceased owner's life expectancy because the new owner inherited the IRA [...]

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