Archive for the ‘IRAs’ Category

Relief for Missed Rollover Deadline

August 25, 2016

One of the more common mistakes people make in handling their retirement accounts is missing the 60-day deadline for completing a rollover. If you have a good excuse, you can get a ruling from the IRS that avoids the negative tax consequences, but that process is painfully expensive in time and money. Thanks to new guidance from the IRS, in many cases this won’t be necessary.


Time to Think About Undoing a Roth Conversion

October 5, 2015

Go Roth_200x300When you convert a traditional retirement account to a Roth IRA, you have until October 15 of the following year to undo that conversion using a recharacterization. Normally this is advantageous if the account suffered a significant decline in value between the date of the conversion and the date you pull the recharacterization trigger. Recent stock market turbulence may leave a fair number of people in a position where they should consider this action.


New Roth Book Available

February 11, 2015

The 2015 edition of our book on Roth retirement accounts, Go Roth!, is now available. This update reflects changes in tax rates, legislation and IRS guidance through January 15, 2015.

more info  |  order from

Can’t Find Pub 590?

January 19, 2015

IRS Publication 590One of the most important publications issued each year by the IRS is Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs). Individuals rely on Pub 590 for explanations of the rules, and professionals look to this publication for insight into how the IRS interprets the law in some of the gray areas. You may have trouble finding the 2014 edition, however.

That’s because the IRS decided to split Pub 590 into two publications, 590-A for contributions to IRAs, and 590-B for distributions from IRAs. Many websites, including (and, dare we say, this one) have not fully caught up with the change. Links to IRS publications automatically go to the latest version when they appear on the IRS website, so we aren’t used to updating those links. The IRS isn’t redirecting that web traffic, though, so links to Pub 590 will bring up the 2013 edition, even though the 2014 replacements are available:

Good Time to Think About Roth Conversion

January 14, 2015

Roth retirement accountsWe often think in terms of year-end tax planning, but there are some moves that can be especially advantageous early in the year. A Roth conversion is one of them.

details: Roth Conversion Early in the Year

Another Change in the Rollover Rules

November 13, 2014

We have further guidance from the IRS on another change in the rollover rules. This one has to do with the rule saying you have to wait a year after doing a 60-day rollover from one IRA to another before you do another. The IRS announced earlier this year that it would apply a stricter interpretation of the rule beginning in 2015. A November 2014 announcement clarifies the earlier guidance.

details: One Rollover Per Year

Self-Directed IRA Implodes

May 20, 2013
By Kaye A. Thomas

Individual retirement accounts typically hold conventional investments such as publicly traded stocks, bonds, mutual funds and certificates of deposit. If you want it to hold something unusual, such as real estate or an interest in a business that isn’t publicly traded, you have to establish a self-directed IRA at a financial institution that will accept these entities. I’m not a fan of the idea, and a recent Tax Court case illustrates one of the dangers.


Qualified Charitable Distribution Transition Rule

January 11, 2013

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) extends the tax treatment of qualified charitable distributions from IRAs, so that they are available for 2012 and 2013. Because this law wasn’t enacted until January 2013, it includes a special transition rule. You can take advantage of this rule retroactively for 2012, but only if you act before the end of January 2013.


IRA Enforcement Initiative

June 23, 2012

Let’s be honest: reports of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration do not make for fascinating reading. And you are hearing this from someone who feasts on items like the new regulations dealing with portability of deceased spousal unused exclusion amount for estate and gift tax purposes. So hats off to Kelly Greene for an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal discussing how one of those reports appears likely to spur new enforcement efforts from the IRS in relation to IRAs. Among the issues:

  • Failure to take required minimum distributions after age 70½
  • Failure to complete a rollover within 60 days
  • Failure to comply with rules for inherited IRAs

In light of an expected increase in enforcement, this is a good time for taxpayers and their advisors to determine whether they have problems in this area and what corrective measures are appropriate.

What’s New in IRAs? Not Much

January 3, 2012
By Kaye A. Thomas

The IRS came out with its annual edition of Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), earlier than usual this year. Most likely that’s because so few revisions were needed from the previous year. Sections describing what’s new for 2011, and for 2012, offer little more than a mention of the new figures for items that are adjusted annually for inflation. (These figures are available in our Reference Room.)

Taxpayers and return preparers should take note of one item affecting returs for 2011 and 2012, however. A special rule for Roth conversions in 2010 allowed the income from the conversion to be reported half in 2011 and half in 2012. You could also choose to report the conversion income on your 2010 return, but if you didn’t make that choice, you begin to pay the piper on your 2011 income tax return.

This rule applied only for Roth conversions that took place in 2010. If you did a Roth conversion in 2011, you have to report the income on your 2011 tax return.

Sign up for our FREE NEWSLETTER