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The Slott Report

Locating Your Missing IRA Beneficiary Form

We have written many times on the importance of completing and filing a designated beneficiary form for all of your IRAs. If no designated beneficiary form is filed with your IRA custodian, or if one cannot be located, the identity of your beneficiary will be governed by default language contained in the IRA agreement, if any. Leaving to chance what may be the most critical aspect of your family’s financial future is not a smart planning move.

Recharacterization: What Amount Goes On The Form?

You are going to see a lot of information on the recharacterization deadline for 2010 Roth conversions, which is rapidly approaching, so you should be able to figure out what you need to do to accomplish a recharacterization. I want to answer the most crucial question for you, the one that confuses many people, and the one that is left out of most articles. When the form says how much do you want to recharacterize, what do you put down?

3 Things You Need to Know About Roth Recharacterizations

Click to read 3 things you need to know about Roth recharacterizations.

Recharacterization Deadline is Approaching

Approaching as quickly as a Caribbean hurricane is October 17, 2011, the day of reckoning for undoing 2010 Roth conversions. A recharacterization means reversing your Roth IRA conversion as if it never happened. Once this date passes, most individuals who made 2010 conversions that they did not recharacterize will be irrevocably locked into them as well as their accompanying tax bills.

War Story - Naming a Trust as an IRA Beneficiary

We have written several times about the various aspects of naming a trust as beneficiary of an IRA. We have indicated when it would be appropriate to do so, as well as defined the complexities involved with such an undertaking.

Volatile Markets - What NOT To Do

Your client, prospect or you are jittery because of today's extremely volatile markets. He decides to move some of his IRA money to another investment. In order to do this, he decides to take a distribution of some of his IRA money to move to another custodian, perhaps a self-directed IRA custodian. But with the swings in the market he gets nervous that he might miss out on the upside while he is waiting for the paperwork to be processed for the new IRA. So he uses his IRA money, while it is outside of the IRA, to purchase his new investment. He figures he can just put the investment back into the new IRA, no harm, no foul, right?

Spousal IRA Contributions, Roth Conversions, Social Security Funds Highlight Mailbag

What are the spousal IRA contribution rules? What benefits will a Roth conversion have for legacy planning? Can I use Social Security money to fund my wife and I's joint retirement account? We answer those questions in this week's Slott Report Mailbag.

Non-Sensical IRA and Roth IRA Items (Part 3 of 3)

I think we can all accept that the Tax Code is confusing. After all, it has to provide the rules for an extraordinarily vast array of circumstances. Sometimes though, the Code goes beyond merely confusing and borders on the bizarre. “Why would Congress do that?” you might ask yourself… and you’re not alone. While there are more than just a handful of bizarre items in the Tax Code, we’ve chosen to highlight three of them that relate directly to IRAs.

Private Letter Rulings for Relief from Missing 60-Day Rollover Rule

Private letter rulings (PLRs), are written decisions by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in response to taxpayer requests for guidance. A private letter ruling binds only the IRS and the requesting taxpayer and may not be cited or relied upon as precedent by other individuals. However, if the subject matter addressed in a PLR has broad application to the general public, the IRS can redact its text and reissue it as a revenue ruling, which becomes binding on all taxpayers and the IRS.

You MUST Have Earned Income to Contribute to an IRA

Prior to April 18, 2011, several articles posted in The Slott Report contained reminders about the importance of making your 2010 IRA contribution. Among other things, we indicated that $5,000 was the maximum amount you could contribute to your IRA for 2010, with an additional "catch up" contribution of $1,000 if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2010. Click to read more about what is compensation for IRA and Roth IRA contribution eligibility.

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