The Slott Report | Ed Slott and Company, LLC

The Slott Report

QCDs and Inherited Roth IRAs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: Can a QCD be used to pay dues to a charitable organization? Answer: This is an area where we receive a lot of questions. To qualify as a QCD, there cannot be any benefit back to you from the funds that go from your IRA to the charity. Paying dues required for membership would be a benefit back to you and as such would not qualify as a QCD. Question:

Indiana Jones and the 72(t) Idol

Do you want to access your IRA funds penalty-free, even though you are under age 59 ½ and no exception fits your situation? It can be done. Starting a new business and need capital from your IRA, but don’t want to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty? There is a workaround. Lost your job and require funds to cover your mortgage and cell phone bill, but the only bucket of cash you have is your IRA? There is a pathway to the gold, but it is fraught with danger. Like Indiana Jones sprinting through spiderwebs and dodging poison-tipped darts while leaping bottomless pits, the giant 72(t) boulder will roll fast at your heels. One misstep could result in crushing disaster. However, if it is the golden idol in the rear of the IRA cave you seek, there is a way. The general idea of a 72(t) schedule (or a “series of substantially equal periodic payments”) is to open the door to an IRA before 59½ without a 10% penalty.

Spousal Protection in Company Retirement Plans

One important difference between IRAs and company retirement plans is spousal protection. Except for community property states, spouses of IRA owners do not have any rights to the account. By contrast, many workplace plans must provide spouses at least some financial protection. In the world of company plans, spouses have potentially two types of protection, depending on the type of plan. Spousal Consent to Plan Distributions. The first type of protection requires certain plans to pay a married participant’s benefit as a specific type of annuity – unless the participant elects another form of payment and the spouse consents. The required annuity type is called a “qualified joint and survivor annuity” (QJSA). A QJSA pays a monthly benefit over the participant’s lifetime and, if the spouse outlives the participant, pays the spouse a monthly benefit over the spouse’s remaining lifetime.

ROTH Conversions and Qualified Charitable Distributions: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

An initial ROTH conversion was completed in 2018 for tax year 2018. A second conversion was completed in 2019 for tax year 2019. There was no ROTH IRA account prior to 2018 and the account owner is over 59 ½. The 5-year holding period will be satisfied on 1/1/2023. Does each ROTH conversion transaction have a separate 5-year clock to determine whether earnings are tax free or is it just the initial transaction? Thank you in advance for your assistance. Dan Answer: Dan, For those under the age of 59 ½, yes, each Roth conversion has its own 5-year clock. However, the account holder you are inquiring about is already over 59 ½. As such (and since this is his very first Roth IRA account), he only has to concern himself with the 5-year clock on the 2018 conversion.

Moving Your IRA Funds While Taking RMDs? Proceed with Caution

Are you looking for a better investment for your IRA? Are you thinking about making the move to another IRA custodian or financial advisor? You do have this opportunity. The IRA rules are set up to allow portability. However, if you are taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your IRA, you can still more your money, but things are a little more complicated and you will want to be especially cautious. One way to move your IRA funds is to do a rollover. You will take a distribution of the funds in your IRA. The way the rules work is that the first money distributed from your IRA in a year when you are required to take an RMD will automatically be considered your RMD. With a rollover, there is no ability to take the RMD later. This rule is sometimes called the “first money out rule.” The RMD cannot be rolled over.

EDBs in Detail: Minors, Disabled and Chronically Ill

For those who inherit IRA accounts in 2020 or later, the SECURE Act permits five groups of people to stretch required minimum distribution (RMD) payments over their life expectancy. As I touched on in a recent Slott Report article (“The Stretch on a Stretcher,” Jan. 13), these five groups fall under the new term “Eligible Designated Beneficiaries,” or EDBs. Two of the five EDBs are self-explanatory: 1.) Spouses. 2.) Those not more than 10 years younger than the deceased account owner. These people do not need to be related to the deceased account owner. The third group requires a little more detail. 3.) Minor children of the account owner. The minor child cannot be a grandchild of the account owner and qualify for the stretch. He or she cannot be the minor child of the neighbor, and cannot be a niece or nephew and qualify. The minor must be the deceased account owner’s child. Even then, the stretch is only allowed until the minor child reaches the age of majority or is still in school, up to age 26.

The SECURE Act and RMDs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: Hi Ed, Question on the new SECURE Act: Do you know if there were any changes to the payout period if an estate is the beneficiary of an IRA. Is it still a 5-year payout? Or is it now 10? Thanks, appreciate your help. Janet Answer: Dear Janet, The SECURE Act made lots of changes to the IRA rules. But one change it did not make is to the payout rules when the estate -- or any other non-individual (except for certain trusts) – is the IRA beneficiary. As was the case before the SECURE Act, the required distribution depends on whether the owner dies before the owner’s “required beginning date.” That date is April 1 of the year after the year in which the owner attains age 72. If the owner dies before the required beginning date, the entire account must be paid out by December 31 of the fifth year following death. If the owner dies on or after that date, annual required distributions must be made over the remaining life expectancy of the owner (had he lived) under the IRS Single Life Expectancy Table.

SECURE Act Gives 401(k) Relief to Part-Timers

Part-time employees in companies with 401(k) plans won a big victory when the SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019. Before the SECURE Act, 401(k) plans could exclude employees if they did not work at least 1,000 hours of service in a 12-month period or were under age 21. These rules have prevented many long-term part-time employees from the chance to save in 401(k) plans. The SECURE Act provides relief beginning with the first plan year after December 31, 2020 (for most plans, January 1, 2021). Any employee who has worked at least 500 hours in three consecutive years and is age 21 or older by the end of the three-year period must be allowed to start making elective deferrals. However, years beginning before January 1, 2021 do not have to be counted for purposes of meeting the three-consecutive-year rule.

How the SECURE Act Impacts Successor Beneficiaries

The SECURE Act has upended the rules for inherited IRAs. One area the new law completely changes is the rules for successor beneficiaries. Here is what you need to know: Who are successor beneficiaries? The successor beneficiary is the beneficiary of the original beneficiary. IRA owners should always name a beneficiary on their IRA. The beneficiary form controls who gets the funds after the death of the IRA owner. This is because IRAs are not usually probate assets where the will determines who gets the money.

IRA Rollovers and Inherited IRAs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: According to the IRS website: Beginning in 2015, you can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs you own (Announcement 2014-15 and Announcement 2014-32). The limit will apply by aggregating all of an individual’s IRAs. Trustee-to-trustee transfers between IRAs are not limited. Rollovers from traditional to Roth IRAs ("conversions") are not limited. If I am reading this correctly, we can "roll over" (hand carry checks) for multiple IRA accounts, as long as we are rolling over funds to a Roth IRA. Is that correct? Thank you, Shirley Answer: Hi Shirley, The once-per-year rollover rule causes a lot of confusion. You can only do one 60-day rollover between IRAs of the same type in a 365-day period. This rule applies to your traditional and Roth IRAs in the aggregate.

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