• 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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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst It is early 2021 and two ingredients mix again: retirement money in motion, and required minimum distributions (RMDs). This may not appear to be a dangerous concoction, but when improperly combined, the results can be a bitter beverage. Required minimum distributions cannot be rolled over, period. Yes, last year was different in that RMDs were waived [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education A Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) is a popular choice for many small employers. Although these plans are in fact designed to be less complex than other types of retirement plans, there are many ways to go wrong and make errors.  Here are three tips to avoid tax problems with your SEP. 1. Execute the SEP Documents. Who cares [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Internal Revenue Code is over 4,000 pages of often unintelligible tax jargon. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the law contains more than its share of baffling and inconsistent provisions. Here are four examples pertaining to IRAs and company retirement plans: 1. Non-spouse beneficiary Roth conversions. In 2006, Congress revised the tax code [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I hope you can help me with this, as I cannot find the answer anywhere or from anyone. In 2019, my client Frank, passed away. His cousin, Lisa, inherited his IRA. In 2020, Lisa passed away. Her husband, Rob, inherited the IRA. They are all the same age. Do distributions fall under the 2020 rule or the 2019 rule? One of the exceptions to the [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Here we go again…barreling headlong into another tax season. This year will be like no other. With all the crazy that was 2020, many tax filers will discover some new and interesting items on their tax returns. For example – did you take a Coronavirus-related distribution (CRD) last year? That will require some additional reporting (Form 8915-E). Did[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The rules for rolling over IRA distributions can be complicated at any time of the year. They are especially challenging at the end of the calendar year. Surprisingly, sometimes IRA owners have doubts as to whether a distribution taken in one calendar year can even be rolled over in the next. There is no problem with this! Nothing [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: We had a client who died with no beneficiaries on his $500k 401(k). He wasn’t married and only 45 years old. His parents are disclaiming rights to the inheritance, so it’s going to his siblings. Is there any way these two siblings can stretch the retirement account into an inherited IRA? If so, what does that look like? [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) are no more. Millions of Americans took advantage of the opportunity to make penalty-free withdrawals from their IRAs and 401(k) plans in 2020. But unless Congress resurrects them, CRDs are no longer available. Yet the economic damage caused by the pandemic is still very much with us. So, without CRDs, where do you turn[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As we enter tax season and consider last year’s transactions, it bears repeating: Roth IRA contributions can be recharacterized, Roth conversions cannot. A Roth IRA contribution can be recharacterized (changed) to a Traditional IRA contribution. The opposite is also true. A Traditional IRA contribution can be recharacterized to a Roth [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: I recently retired and I plan to relocate to Tennessee. I would like to purchase a new home. Can I pull funds from my IRA to do so, and what would be the implications? Thank you. Edna Answer: Edna, If you are over 59 ½, you have full access to your IRA dollars with no strings attached – other than having to pay taxes on the[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The SECURE Act made many changes to the rules for beneficiaries who inherit retirement accounts. One of the most significant ones is the end of the stretch IRA for most beneficiaries. However, there are some beneficiaries called “eligible designated beneficiaries” (EDBs) who can still use the stretch.  How well do you understand this [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst There’s been some confusion about the retirement plan aspects of the COVID-19 stimulus package signed into law on December 27, 2020. One national news network has reported that the new law extends the CARES Act tax breaks for coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) into 2021. This is incorrect! At least for the moment, CRDs are no longer available. The [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst We are just a few days into the new year, and many people are anxious to get their full IRA contributions in for 2021. However, a common question is, “It’s only the first week of the year and I haven’t received a paycheck yet. Can I still make my contribution now, or do I need to wait until I actually have earned income?” There is no need to [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education A new year brings a fresh start, and after 2020, we need that more than ever. You probably have a few resolutions for 2021. When making your list of goals for the new year, don’t overlook your IRA. Here are a few suggestions for your IRA for 2021. 1. Act sooner, rather than later. Thinking about making an IRA contribution? You have [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Can a retired person not working contribute to a Roth IRA? Answer: There are no age limits for Roth IRA contributions. This allows older people to contribute. However, the rules do require earned income. For example, income from a part time job would work. If you are married and your spouse has earned income, you can [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst From The Slott Report, December 30, 2019: “2020 promises to be an exciting year in the IRA and savings plan worlds, as the full ramifications of the new SECURE Act begin to take shape. Beyond that, the IRS will likely finalize the new life expectancy tables expected to become effective in 2021. And who knows what other IRS guidance and momentous court [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Ah, the end of the year. Snow is drifting, music plays quietly in the background. Ma in her kerchief, Papa in his cap, just settling down for a long winter’s nap… Nope. No time for that. ‘Tis the season of BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! Did you write a check to a charity from your checkbook IRA in hopes that it would be a qualified charitable distribution[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Recently, I received two checks, one for all assets in a Traditional IRA and one for all assets in a Roth. Mindful of the 60-day rollover rules, I endorsed one of them to my brokerage company to complete an IRA-to-IRA transfer. When attempting to do the same with the Roth funds, I was told that this would create another rollover and run [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education We at the Slott Report would like to wish all our readers a happy and safe holiday season. 2020 has been a year like no other. Thank you for taking your valuable time to read the Slott Report during this challenging period. The end of the year is always a time to look back. 2020 has been a busy year at the Slott Report. In January, the [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst One year ago from yesterday (December 20, 2019), President Trump signed into law the SECURE Act. At that time, virtually no one had heard of the coronavirus and certainly very few (if any) could have foreseen the global pandemic that’s still very much with us. The onset of the pandemic led Congress last March to also pass the CARES Act, which included certain [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Hello, Can you still recharacterize a Roth contribution (due to income limits) to a Traditional IRA and then subsequently convert the IRA back to a Roth in the same year? Will this conflict with the new law that prohibits undoing a Roth conversion? Thanks you for your help, Marie Answer: Hi Marie, You can still do this. The 2017 [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Bob is 40 years old. He is a single tax filer, participates in a 401(k) at work, and makes a healthy annual salary of $160,000. Bob has consistently contributed $5,000 each year to his Traditional IRA for 5 years ($25,000 total). However, Bob could not deduct any of the contributions because he has always been over the phase-out range for tax filers [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The end of 2020 is almost here. With the end of the year come certain retirement account deadlines. Here are 5 items you should have on your 2020 year-end retirement plan to-do list: 1. Do a 2020 conversion If you are considering converting an IRA to a Roth IRA in 2020, time is quickly running out. The deadline for 2020 conversion [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I am 79 and still employed. My employer has an SEP for me and I have a Rollover IRA from a previous employer. Can I transfer my Rollover IRA to the SEP account? Thank you, George Answer: Hi George, There are no restrictions in the tax law against combining a SEP IRA and traditional IRA that contains funds [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Thinking of using your IRA as a “short-term loan” to raise some extra cash for the holidays?  What could go wrong? Well, actually, two major things could go wrong. And either could lead to serious tax headaches. Let’s say Chloe started her holiday shopping early this year and, as usual, spent more than she had budgeted. Now the credit card bill is coming[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Recently we became aware of a multi-layered tax strategy that we think is a bridge too far when it comes to Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs). In fact, it may even be outright tax fraud. As most readers are aware, the CARES Act created CRDs which waive the 10% early distribution penalty on up to $100,000 of 2020 distributions from IRAs and [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: My father passed away in 2019 and left me an IRA. Will the SECURE Act apply, or will it be grandfathered under the pre-2020 rules? Thank you. Aram Answer: Aram, Since your father passed away in 2019, we will default to the old pre-SECURE Act rules. You are permitted to set up an inherited IRA and stretch payments over your [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The clock is ticking if you are considering converting your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2020. More IRA owners are making this move this year as historically low tax rates and COVID-related income losses have combined to make this an ideal time to trade off the tax hit of a conversion for the promise of future tax-free Roth IRA [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Thanksgiving is behind us, and the end of the year will be here soon. (Many of us are truly thankful for that!)  This is a good time to remind you of certain tax breaks that will expire before we turn over the calendar to 2021. Many of these actions require cooperation from third-party IRA custodians and plan administrators, so you need to act fast. As that great[...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst We have collectively crawled into the hollow of a 2020 tree and found ourselves in the Upside Down. (That is a “Stranger Things” reference, for the uninitiated.) The SECURE Act turned beneficiary options upside down. The CARES Act turned required minimum distribution rules upside down. The election and social unrest turned politics and race relations[...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The IRS has recently added a new reason for self-certification of late rollovers to its list. Revenue Procedure 2020-46 modifies the list of reasons to include an IRA or company plan distribution made to a state unclaimed property fund and later claimed by an IRA owner or plan participant. Rev. Proc. 2020-46 is effective as of October 16.[...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Good Morning, We have a client that passed away in November of 2019 at the age of 85. Her beneficiaries would be required to take their RMD in 2020. Are they eligible under the CARES Act to forgo that RMD for this year? Thank you, Linda Answer: Hi Linda, Yes, the CARES Act waiver of RMDs otherwise required for 2020 applies to [...]

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    By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst We continue to get questions about the limits that apply for folks who participate in multiple company savings plans at the same time or who switch jobs in the middle of the year. What’s confusing is that there are two limits – the “deferral limit” and the “annual additions limit,” and you need to comply with both. Deferral limit. The deferral [...]

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    By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst With Veterans Day being just last week, an overview of two military retirement benefits felt like an all-important and appropriate topic of discussion. One benefit pertains to a penalty exception for accessing retirement dollars prior to the age of 59 ½. The other relates to the treatment of military benefits when a soldier has made the ultimate [...]

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    By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Is there any problem with someone who is self-employed and has an active SEP making a deductible SEP contribution and an IRA QCD after age 70 1/2?  In this case, the QCD would come from the IRA while the SEP continues to be funded.  Does any offset apply? Bill Answer: Hi Bill, This is an interesting question! The [...]

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