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The Slott Report

Roth Conversions and Spousal IRAs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: If an 80-year-old converts his IRA to a Roth account and dies the following year, when can the beneficiaries begin withdrawing money tax-free from the Roth? Do the beneficiaries have to wait for the expiration of the 5-year period following the conversion?

Act Now to Clean Up 2021 Excess 401(k) Deferrals

The amount of annual pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions you can make to a 401(k) plan is limited by the tax code. If you exceeded that limit in 2021, time is of the essence to correct the error. If you don’t act quickly, the tax consequences can be serious. For 2021, you were limited to $19,500 in pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions (plus an additional $6,000 if you were at least age 50 at the end of the year).

What Protection Do Spouses Get in Company Plans?

The federal ERISA law gives spouses of plan participants in ERISA-covered plans certain rights to the participant’s account. There are two types of ERISA financial protection for spouses. Spouses of IRA owners usually don’t have similar rights. The first type of protection applies to all ERISA plans. Those plans must automatically treat a married participant’s spouse as his beneficiary – unless the participant designates another beneficiary and the spouse gives written consent. (Spouses in community property states also receive this protection for IRAs established during marriage.)

DIRECT ROTH CONVERSIONS AND QCDs: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

Question: I am 66 years old and live on Social Security and other retirement income. Additionally, I have about a half million dollars in pre-tax 457(b) funds that I do not need for current expenses. Are these funds in the pre-tax retirement accounts eligible for Roth conversion?

Making a Spousal IRA Contribution

The pandemic has upended the workforce. Many workers lost jobs. Some workers resigned by choice. Others were forced to leave jobs due to childcare issues. If you are not working outside the home, you may believe you are ineligible to make an IRA contribution. You may think that because IRA contributions are based on taxable compensation, if you personally have not been working, you are out of luck. Good news! If you are married but not working, you may be able to make a contribution to your IRA based on your spouse’s taxable compensation for the year.

How Does the IRS Compensation Limit Work?

Towards the end of each year, the IRS announces cost-of-living increases for several retirement-related dollar limits that will become effective for the next year. For example, last November, the IRS said that the limit on employee pre-tax deferrals and Roth contributions in company plans would increase to $20,500 for 2022. You may have also seen that the IRS compensation limit also increased for 2022 to $305,000. What is this limit all about?

Roth Conversions & RMDs: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: I turn 72 this year. I am getting notices from my many IRA custodians that they want a waiver on file if I am NOT using my account for the RMD (i.e., I am taking it somewhere else). They make it sound like if I do not contact them, that they will automatically cut me a check for the required RMD amount.

10% Penalty Exceptions

For IRA owners and retirement plan participants who are under age 59 ½, taking a distribution from a retirement account is typically off limits. The distribution will most likely be taxable, and there is a good chance that a 10% penalty will also apply. However, sometimes life gets in the way and a withdrawal needs to be made.

Watch Out for the Five-Year Rule on Converted Roth Funds

If you are under age 59 ½ and you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you will need to watch out for the five-year rule for penalty-free distributions of converted funds. Not understanding how the rule works can result in unexpected penalties when you withdraw your Roth IRA funds.

IRA Rollover Rules and Roth Conversions: Today's Slott Report Mailbag

Question: I'm retired, over age 59 ½, and want to take a single 401(k) distribution and convert it to my Roth IRA. Do I follow same 60-day rollover rules and first have to rollover the distribution to a Traditional IRA and then convert it, or can I deposit it directly into my Roth IRA?
 

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