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Law expands 10% penalty exception for public safety workers

September 18, 2015

The Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, signed into law on June 29, included a provision that will allow more public safety officials to take early distributions without penalty from more of their government-sponsored retirement...

Roth IRAs: Supersaving for college

July 26, 2015

Roth IRAs for college? Why would anyone use a retirement account to save for education expenses when there are accounts specifically designed for that? Roth IRAs add several different education savings dimensions. Here are three of them to consider....

The case for Roth IRA conversions for high-income clients

June 15, 2015

High-income clients have tax challenges. They want advisers to find ways to lower their income taxes. Roth IRAs are tax-free accounts, so that should make a perfect marriage. Yet many advisers find high-income clients are reluctant about doing...

Clearing up adviser confusion on the new once-per-year IRA rollover rule

May 15, 2015

Advisers are still not up to speed on the new, more strict interpretation of the once-per-year IRA rollover rule. It's been in effect since Jan. 1, yet advisers are still asking questions about it. Even worse, about 30% of advisers we have polled...

Untimely IRA rollover leads to trouble

March 25, 2015

The IRS denied a taxpayer's request to waive the 60-day rollover rule when he couldn't prove that his medical condition affected his ability to make timely IRA rollover distributions. The taxpayer tried to buy real estate as an investment in...

Help clients avoid first-time RMD errors

February 25, 2015

Each year an increasing crop of IRA owners begins taking their required minimum distributions from their individual retirement accounts and company plans. RMDs must generally begin once an IRA owner (or plan participant) reaches their required...

2010 Roth conversions are now penalty-free

February 1, 2015

This year marks an important milestone for 2010 Roth IRA conversions. Back in 2010, the Roth IRA conversion rules changed. Before then, there was an income limit for Roth conversions. If your income exceeded $100,000, you could not convert to...

2015 resolution: Avoid 60-day rollovers

January 4, 2015

As of Jan. 1, owners of individual retirement accounts can do only one 60-day rollover a year, for all their IRAs. The rule no longer applies separately to each IRA. In this case, IRAs include traditional and Roth IRAs, as well as SEP and Simple...

What qualifies as compensation?

December 7, 2014

A recent tax case highlights the confusion over what counts as compensation for contributing to an individual retirement account. In the case (Alex Halo v. Commissioner; T.C. Summ. Op. 2014-92; No. 23774-12S, Sept. 11, 2014), the court ruled...

Distribution error wipes out IRA

October 12, 2014

An entire IRA was lost to a distribution error after death. This is a textbook case of what not to do when a trust is named as the IRA beneficiary. Trusts are set up to protect assets, such as individual retirement accounts, after death, but...

Sometimes the IRS loses in court

September 14, 2014

Shocked by what it called unfair arguments by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit reversed a Tax Court decision that a taxpayer did not make a timely rollover to his individual retirement account from...

Heed custodian's asset allowances

August 10, 2014

The Tax Court has ruled that an individual had a taxable IRA distribution when he tried to get around his custodian's policy of not allowing real estate as an individual retirement account investment. The court said the custodian didn't have...

Inherited IRAs in bankruptcy cases

July 13, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously last month that inherited individual retirement accounts are not protected under federal bankruptcy laws. This ruling does not affect your clients' own IRAs. Those are retirement funds that are protected in...

In divorce, retirement is at risk

June 8, 2014

Splitting a retirement plan in divorce often means tax problems. While matrimonial attorneys usually assist in the division of assets, 401(k)s, IRAs and other retirement plans require special handling since eventual distributions generally will...

Using an IRA like a bank is risky

May 11, 2014

The Tax Court recently ruled that an individual's distribution from a simplified employee pension individual retirement account was taxable and subject to the 10% early-distribution penalty when the funds weren't rolled over within 60 days (Thomas...

IRS: Only one IRA rollover per year

April 13, 2014

Last month, I wrote about the case involving the so-called once-per-year IRA rollover rule (Alvan L. Bobrow, et ux., v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2014-21, Docket No. 7022-11). The Tax Court ruled that once per year means exactly that. The rollover...

A warning on multiple IRA rollovers

March 16, 2014

In a game-changing decision that has wide-ranging ramifications for financial advisers and tax professionals alike, the Tax Court ruled that the once-a-year IRA rollover rule applies to all of one's individual retirement accounts, not to each...

New IRS rules on hard-to-value IRAs

January 19, 2014

Most stocks and other traditional investments are easy to value. The price is determined by the markets or found on a bank statement. But some assets are not so easy to find a value for, and that's a problem if those assets are held in an individual...

Charitable IRA provision: Time is now

December 8, 2013

Once again, the qualified-charitable-distribution provision is set to expire at year-end. Not taking advantage of this provision could be costly for high earners due to the 2013 tax increases affecting these clients. In fact, not using the QCD...

Parents lose out on 401(k) windfall

November 10, 2013

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a surviving spouse's promise to waive her rights to her husband's 401(k) funds by signing a postnuptial agreement was invalid because the agreement was written incorrectly. As a result,...

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