When it comes time to rollover your employer 401(k), what are your best options? Most think the best solution is to rollover your plan to an IRA. Here are six options to evaluate before making a decision. These are available to plans with employees – not all options will apply to sole proprietor plans. Most options will not apply to SEP and SIMPLE plan participants.
1. Rollover to an IRA. There are a lot of benefits to this option. Rolling over to an IRA is a tax-free transaction when a direct rollover is used to move the funds. IRAs have more investment choices and are more flexible when it comes to distributions and financial planning. You generally get better service from your advisors than you will get from the 800 number for the plan.
SIMPLE IRAs are popular retirement vehicles for small businesses. They are relatively cheap to adopt and are easy to understand and administer. However, that doesn’t mean problems do not arise. Routinely, we see issues involving ineligible plan sponsors, missed contributions, and late deposits. If you are thinking about adopting a SIMPLE IRA for your small business, it is essential that you understand the rules.
Establishing a SIMPLE IRA is simple enough. You execute a written agreement with a custodian that can either be a prototype plan, a Form 5304-SIMPLE, or a Form 5305-SIMPLE. You could also use an individually designed plan that meets the tax code requirements, but that is rare. Each eligible employee should receive a Summary Plan Description that not only complies with the IRS rules, but meets the Department of Labor standards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
IRA owners can clearly combine the accounts they own and they can combine the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from multiple IRAs and take them from any one or combination of their IRAs. The rules for combining Inherited IRAs and RMDs are more complex.
An IRA owner cannot combine IRAs they own with IRAs that they have inherited, unless the inherited IRA came from their current spouse. IRAs that are inherited from the same person can be combined, as long as the RMD calculation is done in the manner for all of the inherited IRA accounts. Generally, this is easy. If Dad had two IRA accounts and you inherit half of each of those accounts because you are named on the beneficiary forms for those accounts, then you can combine them. If you keep the accounts separate, you can calculate the RMD on each account and then combine it and take all or any part of the RMD from either account as long as you take the full RMD.
When it’s time to consider signing up for Social Security, turn to your financial advisor for advice and recommendations. Social Security is challenging with numerous complex rules that are confusing. Recent changes have added to the difficulty in how to correctly interpret the law’s meanings and how choices can impact you long-term. Often, those who are relying on Social Security Administration (SSA) assistance, find their recommendations are not the best choices for their unique situation. Read on for tips on claiming Social Security.
The Social Security Administration has received criticism. The U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging urged the SSA to improve the recommendations it provides to individuals. Their concern was based on a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that emphasized inconsistencies in the recommendations that the SSA and its claims personnel were giving to people applying for benefits.
We constantly see questions regarding the distribution rules for Roth IRAs. Personally, I’ve always thought that the failure to understand these rules prevents many from truly appreciating the benefits of these accounts. Traditional IRAs are easy. Unless we are talking about nondeductible contributions, the money is deductible when contributed and taxable upon withdrawal. There’s also the early distribution penalty that could apply depending on the circumstances.
Roth IRAs have a couple of different rules, including two separate 5-year rules. The easiest way to understand these rules is to remember that a Roth IRA consists of two parts: (1) contributions/conversions and (2) investment gains/losses. This is important because contributions can always be withdrawn at any time, tax and penalty free. The earnings, however, are potentially taxable and could be hit with the early distribution penalty.
5 Easy steps to fix a missed 60-day rollover deadline with Self-Certification.
If I miss the 60-day deadline for completing an IRA rollover, is there any way to save the rollover amount from tax?
Failing to complete a 60-day rollover on time can cause the rollover amount to be taxed as income and perhaps subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, the deadline may have been missed due to reasons that are not the taxpayer’s fault. For such cases, the IRS has created an easy, low-cost way to fix late rollover errors. Revenue Procedure 2016-47 enables individuals to self-certify that they are eligible for a waiver of the 60-day deadline and complete a late rollover.
1. Double check the status of every rollover you attempt. Don’t assume one has been completed just because you did your part. Mistakes happen. You can’t correct a mistake you don’t know about, and a delay hurts your case with the IRS.
Time is ticking by! Here are important retirement account deadlines you don’t want to miss.
• Recharacterize 2017 Roth IRA Conversions
Did you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA in 2017? If you think you may want to recharacterize your account(s), don’t let October 15 slip by.
If your account has declined in value, a recharacterization might make sense. You may also consider recharacterizing 2017 conversion and reconverting in 2018 to take advantage of lower tax rates put in place by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
TCJA eliminates recharacterization for Roth conversions done in 2018 or later. Clients who converted in 2017 are the last ones who will be able to take advantage of this rare opportunity in the tax code. Don’t miss out by missing the deadline!
Not everyone is eligible to make an annual Roth IRA contribution. We have seen several cases recently of individuals who contributed for many years until they discovered they were not eligible to make any Roth IRA contributions. Here is what you need to know.
First, you must have earned income in order to make a Roth IRA contribution. That means you must perform some type service to have earned income. Passive sources of income generally do not count. As a result, Social Security and payments from any type of retirement plan are not earned income. Rental income is generally not earned income. Investment income and interest income also do not qualify. Disability income will not qualify.
Many people think that if they have after-tax income they can put it into a Roth IRA. This is not true. Gains on the sale of a home or from investments cannot be contributed to an IRA just because they are after-tax funds.
Easing RMDs, Complicating Roth Conversions
When you own multiple IRAs and take an IRA distribution, the IRS treats all your non-Roth IRAs as one. This helps you when you reach age 70 ½ and must begin taking annual required minimum distribution (RMDs). Instead of taking a separate RMD from each IRA, you can take the total RMD for all of them from any one of the IRAs, or from across them in any way you wish.
How: The IRS requires you to compute your RMD from each traditional IRA, SEP IRA and SIMPLE IRA, and total them. You can then take the total RMD from any or all of those IRAs in any proportion you wish.
The resulting flexibility in taking RMDs may prove a big benefit.
- If one IRA holds illiquid investments, such as real estate or large certificates of deposit, the RMD on its balance can be taken from another IRA.
- If IRAs hold different kinds of investments, you can take RMDs from one over the other to rebalance investment holdings annually, or gradually liquidate one investment while keeping the other intact.
- If multiple IRAs have different beneficiaries, you can allocate RMDs among them to adjust the amounts that will be left to different beneficiaries as their circumstances and your intentions change.
Knowing this, if you are younger than age 70 1/2, you can plan your IRA investment holdings now to take advantage of this flexibility in the future when RMDs begin.
* Roth IRAs are aggregated as well, but since they are not subject to RMDs generally this doesn’t matter.
* 403(b) plan accounts are aggregated.
* Inherited IRAs may be aggregated, but only when they were received from the same owner and are being distributed using the same life expectancy. Moreover, Roth and non-Roth IRAs cannot be aggregated.
Aggregation does not apply to employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k) and Keogh plans. Each such plan must have its RMDs calculated separately. And the IRAs of spouses are not aggregated.
Continue reading >>>
Are you a good Roth conversion candidate?
When you do a Roth conversion, your pre-tax funds will be included in your income in the year of the conversion. This will increase your income for the year of the conversion, which may impact deductions, credits, exemptions, phase-outs AMT alternative minimum tax), the taxation of your Social Security benefits and more.
The trade-off is the big tax benefit down the road. But, a Roth conversion isn’t for everyone. Make an appointment to answer these questions together before going through with a conversion.