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Five considerations for Roth redos

June 12, 2011

Just as 2010 may have been the year of the Roth conversion, 2011 may be the year of the Roth re-characterization. Some clients had sticker shock after seeing the tax bill on their 2010 Roth conversions and want to undo those conversions. That...

401(k) rights trumped by ERISA

May 15, 2011

In a recent case (Cajun Industries LLC v. Robert Kidder, et al.), the court ruled that despite having previously named his three children as beneficiaries of his 401(k) plan, a deceased plan participant's 401(k) balance will pass to his new...

Defining the 'professional' trader

April 17, 2011

The Tax Court recently ruled that a taxpayer who made just three trades in 2005 didn't qualify as a “professional trader” that year. As a result, the income from his investments wasn't considered compensation and he was ineligible to receive...

Reporting Roth IRA conversions

March 20, 2011

Get ready for an avalanche of Form 8606 questions. The form, for non-deductible IRAs, is the one on which your clients will report their Roth conversions. Although this form has been around for years, this year it will be more popular than ever...

Your 2011 Roth IRA questions answered

February 20, 2011

Last year, many financial advisers worked with clients to implement Roth conversions. Now that we are beginning tax season, advisers should be ready for some new tax-related questions about 2010 and 2011 Roth individual retirement accounts....

A valuable late-year IRA extension

January 23, 2011

The Tax Relief Act of 2010 includes an extension of the qualified-charitable-distribution provision retroactive from Jan. 1, 2010, through Dec. 31, 2011. Because it was passed so late in the year and taxpayers wouldn't have much time to plan...

A year-end checklist for IRAs

November 21, 2010

In the rush of year-end activity, it's important not to forget your IRA-related to-do list. The following are some of the most overlooked year-end items. RMDs. Required minimum distributions were suspended in 2009 but are back for 2010. Most...

Law creates more options for Roth rollovers

October 24, 2010

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 includes a provision that allows certain 401(k) and 403(b) participants to convert their plan funds to a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b) within the plan. Not all employees are eligible, though. The new provision...

Dangers in using IRAs for business startups

September 26, 2010

When the Internal Revenue Service names a transaction “Robs,” that can't be good. The acronym tells us how unfavorably the IRS views these “rollover as business startup” transactions, especially if they appear to be designed to sidestep...

Avoiding Roth recharacterization traps

August 29, 2010

The Roth recharacterization provides one of the few second chances in the tax code. In essence, it's a do-over. The provision allows you to undo, or reverse, a Roth conversion, effectively treating the move as if it never happened. Any tax paid...

Ed Slott: Turn lemons into Roth conversion cash

July 25, 2010

If your client wants to convert his or her individual retirement account to a Roth IRA this year but doesn't have cash from non-IRA sources to pay the tax on the conversion, consider looking at his or her capital assets. Many clients have significant...

Avoiding a big Roth conversion mistake

June 27, 2010

There is a downside to a Roth IRA conversion. Whether clients pay tax for 2010 or spread the tax burden between 2011 and 2012, they'll still owe income tax on the pretax money they move from a traditional individual retirement account or company...

Having the conversion conversation

June 6, 2010

Although the Roth conversion isn't for everyone, financial advisers must have the conversion conversation with every client who qualifies. If you aren't discussing conversion now, you can bet that some other adviser is. In helping clients decide...

Roth conversions can ease new tax

April 25, 2010

The revenue-raising provision of the new health care law most likely to affect your clients is a 3.8% levy on investment income. The law describes it as an additional Medicare contribution, but it is actually a surtax on net investment income....

What can't be converted to a Roth

April 4, 2010

Unfortunately, many individuals are getting confused. They think that just because income restrictions have been lifted and anyone can convert to a Roth IRA in 2010, it means that anyone can convert anything. Not so. The tax code allows only...

Check those beneficiary forms

February 28, 2010

The beneficiary form is the single most important estate-planning document of individual retirement accounts and Roth IRAs, determining the ultimate value of the accounts, who ends up with the money and for how long. Every custodian has its...

Tax traps of non-deductible IRA conversion

January 31, 2010

By now, most financial advisers know that when you have after-tax money in an individual retirement account, you can't just convert those funds and pay no tax on the conversion. Instead, when an IRA is partially converted to a Roth IRA, a prorated...

Roth IRA can affect homebuyer credit

January 3, 2010

The latest version of the tax credit for first-time homebuyers has two new features that may make the credit more widely available, which means more clients with Roth conversion income may be affected. Under the Worker, Homeownership and Business...

Time for a year-end IRA checkup

November 22, 2009

Here are some key individual retirement account items to check on before the end of the year: 2009 Roth conversions In 2009, not everyone will qualify for a Roth conversion. If a client's modified adjusted gross income exceeds $100,000, or they...

New ruling reopens window for taxpayers

October 25, 2009

The suspension of 2009 required-minimum distributions from retirement plans and IRAs was enacted as part of the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008, which was signed into law Dec. 23. Although the distribution requirements were...

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