Don’t Trip Up On IRA Rollovers

It’s gotten harder to avoid making expensive mistakes when rolling funds from one IRA account to another.

You can still take funds out of your IRA and put them back into the same or another IRA within 60 days, but new rules make it much easier to trip up and get stuck with an unexpected tax bill.

Now, you can do only one rollover, where you personally remove funds from your IRA and then move them to another IRA or put them back, per 12-month period. (Caution: that’s once every 12 months, not once per year).

To make it worse, that means one in total, including all your IRA accounts – like Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs.

Goof it up, and not only is your withdrawal taxable, but it is no longer eligible to be put back into the IRA.

Keep in mind that the rules before 2015 were much more lenient, permitting multiple 60-day rollovers.

The Takeaway:

Given the strict new rules, you should avoid ever doing a 60-day rollover unless absolutely necessary.

Always do a trustee-to-trustee rollover, where the funds pass from one IRA custodian to another, and you never take direct possession of the funds. There is no limit on how often you can do a trustee-to-trustee transfer, or how many you can do, and the 60-day period doesn’t apply.

Be especially careful when rolling a bank IRA CD or deposit. In our experience with clients, banks often refuse to carry out trustee-to-trustee transfers, and insist on making the IRA rollover check payable directly to the client. That then forces the client into a 60-day rollover situation and risks violating the rules. Ask your investment advisor to handle the rollover for you; they’ll have better luck getting the transfer done the right way.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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