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Slott Report Mailbag: Did The New Tax Law Add Income Limits to a Roth Conversion?

By Joe Cicchinelli, IRA Technical Expert

Follow Me on Twitter: @JoeCiccEdSlott

This week's Slott Report Mailbag talks about how (if at all) the new tax law affected Roth conversion planning, as well as a look at Roth IRA rollover rules and the ways you can withdrawal 401(k) money early without penalty (can you do that?). As always, we stress the importance of working with a competent, educated financial advisor to keep your retirement nest egg safe and secure. Find one in your area at this link.


I want to convert to a Roth IRA in 2013. Did the 2013 tax law add any income limits to a Roth conversion?

No. There are no income limits to convert IRA funds to a Roth IRA. Any IRA owner can do a conversion. There is also no limit on the dollar amount of IRA funds that you can convert to a Roth IRA.


I wasn't happy with the investments inside my Roth IRA so I took a distribution from it and deposited the funds into a non-IRA investment account. I now found a great financial adviser and would like to roll over all that money into a Roth IRA with my adviser. It's within 60 days of the Roth IRA withdrawal. Can I do the rollover?

Probably. In general, since it's within 60 days of the distribution, the amount of the Roth IRA distribution can be rolled over tax-free to another Roth IRA. It doesn't matter what you did with that money during the 60 days. Any gains you earned in that non-IRA investment account during the 60 days cannot be rolled over. However, if you have made any other Roth IRA-to-Roth IRA rollovers into or out of that account within the past 365 days, you would be prohibited from completing another rollover at this time, and would be forced to keep the funds in a non-Roth IRA account.


I'm age 51, have a 401(k) plan, and would like to withdraw money penalty free for a down payment on a first home. Can I do that?

No. The exception to the 10% early distribution for first home purchases applies to IRAs only; not 401(k)s. However, if you're entitled to take a distribution from the 401(k), you could roll over the funds to an IRA and then take a penalty-free IRA distribution from there, assuming you meet the other first-time home-buyer penalty exception rules.

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