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The Slott Report

Happy New Year

The clock is winding down to the ball-dropping in Times Square that will usher in a new year – and a new decade. The Ed Slott and Company team wishes to thank you for supporting The Slott Report and responding to our articles with such insightful comments and questions. 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 decisions will be coming our way?

Roth Contributions and RMDs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: Hi Ed, Hope all is well. I have a client that received the HEART benefit as her spouse passed away a few years ago. We immediately moved those dollars into a Roth for her. My question is, as we are doing some year-end planning, can I add to this Roth by doing a conversion, or do I need to open up a separate Roth for her? Answer: The HEART Act allows a beneficiary of military death gratuities to contribute those funds to a Roth IRA. The Roth contribution can be made without regard to the annual contribution or income limits. The contribution must be done within

8 DAYS FOR 6 YEAR-END TRANSACTIONS

As of the writing of this Slott Report submission, it is Monday, December 23, 2019. T-minus 8 days before the end of the year, which means IRA owners have a tight window to complete any year-end transactions. Once the calendar turns, if not finalized in time, some items will be forever lost. Here are six transactions that absolutely must be completed within the next 8 days to avoid penalty and/or a lost opportunity: Over 70 ½ RMDs. While the first RMD for the year a person turns 70 ½ can be delayed until April 1 of the next year, all future RMDs must be taken before the end of the calendar year. There is no wiggle room.

ROLLING OVER MULTIPLE CHECKS AND BACKDOOR ROTH IRAS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

Question: My husband has taken two different qualified distributions from his Roth IRA within the last 60 days. We would like to "pay those back.” It looks like we can put money back into the Roth IRA as a rollover. My question is: Can we put the total amount of the two distributions back into the same IRA, or are we limited to "paying back" just one of those distributions Thanks, Laura Answer: Hi Laura, Redepositing the funds back into the Roth IRA is considered a rollover. Unfortunately, only one of your husband’s withdrawals can be rolled back into his Roth IRA. He is not permitted to combine them and then roll the combined amount back.

Hello SECURE Act, Good bye Stretch IRA

A $1.4 trillion year-end spending bill was signed into law on December 20, 2019 in order to keep the government running. Tucked away inside this mammoth piece of legislation is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, which became effective January 1, 2020. This new law includes significant changes to retirement accounts, including: Age Limit Eliminated for Traditional IRA Contributions Beginning in 2020, the new law eliminates the age limit for traditional IRA contributions (formerly 70 ½). Now, those who are still working can continue to contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their age. Age Limit Eliminated for Traditional IRA Contributions Beginning in 2020, the new law eliminates the age limit for traditional IRA contributions (formerly 70 ½). Now, those who are still working can continue to contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their age. Age Limit Eliminated for Traditional IRA Contributions Beginning in 2020, the new law eliminates the age limit for traditional IRA contributions (formerly 70 ½). Now, those who are still working can continue to contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their age.

FIVE QDRO Q&As

1. What is a QDRO? A QDRO is a “qualified domestic relations order.” In plain English, it is a state court order obtained by divorcing parties that requires an ERISA plan to pay a portion of a participant’s benefit to the non-participant spouse. QDROs are an exception to the rule that prohibits an ERISA plan from paying benefits to anyone other than a plan participant or beneficiary. 2. Can a QDRO be used for IRAs? No. QDROs are generally only for ERISA plans, and IRAs are not covered by ERISA. In a divorce situation, IRAs can be split via a divorce decree or property settlement agreement. Funds are transferred through a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer to an IRA in the name of the non-owner spouse.

QCDs and Inherited IRAs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: As year-end approaches, I have just exceeded my 2019 RMD, combining total QCD's during the year and my regular monthly IRA withdrawals. If I make additional charitable contributions from my IRA this month, are they still considered tax-advantaged QCD's, or has my QCD opportunity ended because I've already exceeded the annual RMD? Answer: This is an area where there is a lot of confusion! While you can use a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to count toward your required minimum distribution (RMD), your QCDs for the year are not limited to the amount of your RMD.

GUNFIGHT AT THE 401(K) CORRAL

When the chips are down, the providers hold all the cards. This is true for both IRAs and workplace plans. Ultimately, the IRA custodian (through its custodial form) and retirement plan sponsor (through the plan document) will dictate what a person can and cannot do with his retirement dollars. Prior to sauntering into a local saloon and sitting down at the poker table, be sure to know the rules of the game before asking to be dealt in. For example, if a deceased IRA owner named both his son and daughter as beneficiaries, the custodian can refuse to allow the children to stretch the inherited IRA RMD payments over their own life expectancies. Additionally, what if the beneficiary son wants to disclaim his portion of the IRA? A custodian does not have to accept disclaimers, either.

Don’t Miss These 3 Year-End IRA Deadlines

It is hard to be believe it is December already. The holiday season is now in full swing. There are gifts to buy and wrap and parties to attend. It’s no wonder that during this time of year many people are not thinking too much about their retirement accounts. Don’t make this mistake! Year-end deadlines for IRAs can sneak up quickly at this time of year. Act now while you still have some time because missing these three IRA deadlines can be costly. Take your RMD for 2019 If you have a Traditional IRA (including SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) and you reached age 70½ prior to 2019, you must take your 2019 required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA by December 31, 2019.

Roth IRAs and the Backdoor Roth Conversion: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: Hello. I am an avid reader. Thank you for the information you provide. About opening/establishing a Roth IRA: I opened my 1st and only Roth IRA on April 12 of 2018 at the age of 59 ½, funding it with an initial deposit and designating that deposit as a 2017 deposit/contribution. In August of 2018 I made a 2nd deposit as my 2018 Roth IRA contribution. Does the 5-year rule (to withdraw earnings tax free) begin in 2017 or 2018? Does the 5-year rule start on April 12, the actual date of the Roth IRA establishment, or does the date default to January 1st regardless of the actual establishment date? Thanks again, Jeff Answer: Jeff, The start date for your Roth IRA is officially January 1, 2017.
 

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