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IRA BLOG

MORE ON AFTER-TAX PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The October 19, 2020 Slott Report article, "Don't Overlook After-Tax Contributions!," explained how after-tax contributions in company plans work and discussed the dollar limits on them. This article will explain how distributions of...

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IRA TRICK-OR-TREAT!

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Trick-or-treating in the time of a pandemic is a challenge. Social distancing while handing out candy requires some creativity. The Slott Report has elected to place a big bowl of random treats in front of our house for the kids to...

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IRA ROLLOVERS AND DEDUCTIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hello, If an individual has a solo 401(k), is this considered a "retirement plan at work" that would limit the deductibility of IRA contributions? Thanks! Susan Answer: Hi Susan, Being an active...

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IRA ROLLOVERS AND DEDUCTIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: Hello, If an individual has a solo 401(k), is this considered a "retirement plan at work" that would limit the deductibility of IRA contributions? Thanks! Susan Answer: Hi Susan, Being an active...

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DON’T OVERLOOK AFTER-TAX PLAN CONTRIBUTIONS!

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst With the popularity of Roth 401(k) contributions, after-tax employee contributions have gotten short shrift. But, if your plan offers them, after-tax contributions are worth considering because they can significantly boost your retirement...

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THE GHOST RULE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As Halloween approaches and the leaves change color, families gather ‘round weekend campfires, roast marshmallows, and share spooky stories. Watchful owls hoot in the dark. In the distance, a wolf howls at the moon. A rustle in the...

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IMPORTANT TRUST DEADLINE APPROACHES

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Educations For trusts that inherited an IRA in 2019, an important deadline is approaching. October 31, 2020 is the due date to provide required trust documentation to the IRA custodian to ensure that the longest payout...

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INHERITED IRAS AND QCDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: Sir, I inherited an IRA from my sister two years ago. She was collecting RMDs at 78. My question involves collecting my sister’s RMD. Does the 10-year withdrawal go into effect now or do I use the table under my age, which is...

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AM I ENTITLED TO ERISA CREDITOR PROTECTION?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst With the recent economic downturn, you may be more concerned than ever about keeping retirement plan funds safe from creditors. If you participate in a plan covered by the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), you can...

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IRAS, LIFE INSURANCE & PIZZA

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Many years ago, my wife and I went to lunch at a pizza joint in a strip mall. The friendly gray-haired host in sensible shoes (whom I pegged for mid-to-late 60’s), tucked two menus under her arm, grabbed a couple sets of silverware...

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BENEFICIARY FORM BASICS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst An argument could be made that the easiest financial document to complete is the IRA beneficiary form. Yet somehow this basic information consistently gets overlooked, mishandled, lost or fouled up. It’s not rocket science. Don’t...

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WHAT’S A TOP HAT PLAN?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Think of a top hat, and you’ll likely conjure up images of Franklin Delano Roosevelt or the temporarily-deceased Mr. Peanut or Rich Uncle Moneybags from Monopoly. But a “top hat plan” is also the informal name of a type of section 457(b)...

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8 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR INHERITED IRA

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education A significant percentage of IRA assets will ultimately go to nonspouse beneficiaries. When these beneficiaries inherit the funds, special rules kick in. Inherited IRAs are not like other IRA accounts. Here is what...

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SECURE ACT: “WE DON’T KNOW YET”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Gradually, the IRS is clarifying sections of the SECURE Act that require further guidance. In Notice 2020-68, released September 2, the IRS addressed a number of items in a Q&A format. For example, “Is a financial institution...

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IRS ISSUES GUIDANCE ON CERTAIN SECURE ACT CHANGES

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst In Notice 2020-68, issued September 2, 2020, the IRS gave limited guidance on certain retirement provisions of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE Act”). The SECURE Act was signed into law on...

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RELIEF BEYOND AUGUST 31 FOR RMD REPAYMENTS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Some of you may have received an RMD (required minimum distribution) from an IRA or employer plan earlier this year that you don’t want to keep. Since the CARES Act waived RMDs for 2020, “RMDs” received in 2020 are technically not RMDs...

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TAPPING AN ESA FOR VIRTUAL SCHOOL EXPENSES

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education The upcoming school year for many students is going to look like nothing we have ever seen before. For many, computers and related technology will become an indispensable part of academic life. This means that...

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ROTH CONVERSIONS AND 2020 RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: In December of 2018 I did my first partial Roth IRA conversion into a new Roth IRA. I’m older than 59 ½. In December of 2019 I did my second partial Roth IRA conversion into the same Roth IRA opened in...

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“DOLLAR COST AVERAGE” YOUR ROTH CONVERSION

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Dollar cost averaging is a tried-and-true investment strategy that has existed for decades. Using this technique, an investor divides up their entire amount to be invested and makes smaller periodic purchases over a desired time....

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RETURNING UNWANTED RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Client has a Thrift Savings Plan and took RMDs in January, February and March of 2020. Client then rolled the balance of the TSP into an IRA. Question is whether or not he can “repay” those RMDs to the IRA under Notice...

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3 RMD REPAYMENT REMEDIES ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL AUGUST 31

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education We are in the dog days of summer and this year is a crazy and unsettling time. The last thing on your mind may be your IRA. However, you should be aware that an important deadline is quickly approaching. If you...

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STOP NAMING TRUSTS AS IRA BENEFICIARIES!

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Yes, trusts can play an instrumental role in estate planning. Yes, special needs trusts are invaluable to those with disabled or chronically ill family members. Trusts are essential for minors and for those who may struggle with...

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THE CARES ACT AND 2020 RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I can't find the answer to this question anywhere, so I thought I'd go straight to the experts. Does the CARES Act waive the requirement for a surviving spouse to distribute the RMD in 2020 prior to re-registering the IRA in the...

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STRETCH IRA LIVES ON FOR SOME BENEFICIARIES

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Last year the SECURE Act became law and eliminated the stretch IRA for millions of IRA beneficiaries. However, for some IRA beneficiaries the stretch lives on. For most beneficiaries, the stretch is now replaced...

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ROLLOVERS AND INHERITED IRAS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD Director of Retirement Education Question: I have a very simple ROTH IRA question. I borrowed money from my ROTH IRA with the intention of paying it all back in 60 days. To avoid any penalty, must I make one repayment of all the money I borrowed?...

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DEATH DURING A ROLLOVER

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst A financial advisor contacted me about her client who had recently passed away. The advisor was legitimately concerned about a rollover check received by the now-deceased individual. It had not been deposited into his IRA prior to...

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TAX RULES FOR ROTH 401(K) DISTRIBUTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst With more 401(k) plans offering Roth contributions and more folks taking distributions from their plans, now’s a good time to review the tax rules governing Roth 401(k) distributions. Qualified distributions. If your Roth 401(k)...

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RMDS IN 2020: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Once the RMD’s for 2020 were suspended, I withdrew what would have been my RMD from my traditional IRA and deposited it in my Roth IRA.  Can I now withdraw that amount from my Roth and repay it to my traditional IRA?...

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RECHARACTERIZATION OF IRA CONTRIBUTIONS IS STILL HERE

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst It happens. You have made a 2019 contribution to the wrong type of IRA. All is not lost. That contribution can be recharacterized. While recharacterization of Roth IRA conversions was eliminated by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,...

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EXTENDED ROLLOVER DEADLINES EXPLAINED

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The IRA and plan rollover rules have been in constant flux this year. We are now past the original July 15 extended rollover deadline. This was the first extension date created by IRS Notice 2020-23. Distributions from an IRA or...

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IRS COMPENSATION LIMITS IN COMPANY RETIREMENT PLANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Admittedly, it’s not such a bad problem to have. Nonetheless, it’s true that high-paid company plan participants can have their benefits limited by the IRS compensation limit. The compensation limit is $285,000 for 2020 and goes up most...

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THE IRA CONTRIBUTION DEADLINE IS ALMOST HERE

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The countdown to the much delayed 2019 tax filing deadline is on. The deadline is July 15, 2020, which is only a couple of days away. Time is running out. Is your IRA ready? Making Your 2019 IRA Contribution Due to the COVID-19...

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TOP 12 RMD WAIVER QUESTIONS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst As we have written on many occasions, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) waives required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. This waiver applies to company savings plans and IRAs, including both...

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A ROUNDUP OF RECENT DOL AND IRS RETIREMENT PLAN GUIDANCE

By Ian Beger, JD IRA Analyst There’s been a flurry of recent government regulation of company retirement plans. Here’s a quick summary: Electronic Disclosure of Retirement Plan Documents On May 27, 2020, the Department of Labor published a final regulation making it...

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THE CARES ACT AND RMDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: If someone took two IRA distributions earlier in 2020 that were considered RMDs, and now wishes to repay the cumulative amount back into the same IRA, are there any rules about the number of rollover deposits they can...

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EXCEPTIONS TO THE 10% EARLY DISTRIBUTION PENALTY FOR IRAS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst IRAs are supposed to be for saving for retirement but in challenging economic times like these many individuals may be forced to take distributions before retirement age. Be careful! If you tap your IRA before reaching age 59 ½, the...

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SIX MONTHS OF CRAZY – A SUMMARY OF RECENT RETIREMENT EVENTS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst After a six-month sprint through a diabolical obstacle course of new laws, a pandemic, record unemployment, deaths, confusion and complete disruption of everyone’s professional and personal lives, this seems like a good time to...

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IRS EXTENDS ROLLOVER DEADLINE FOR 2020 RMDS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The IRS has extended the rollover deadline for required minimum distributions (RMDs) taken from IRAs or company plans in 2020. In Notice 2020-51, released on June 23, the IRS said that any unwanted 2020 RMDs can be repaid via rollover to...

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IRS EXPANDS ELIGIBILITY FOR CORONAVIRUS-RELATED DISTRIBUTIONS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst On June 19, the IRS released additional guidance on coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) from retirement accounts. The new guidance will make many more individuals eligible for these tax-advantaged distributions allowed under the...

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60-DAY ROLLOVERS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: Thank you for all the great resources you provide. I have been looking for an answer to my specific situation and have not been able to find a clear answer to what I think is a pretty straight forward situation/fact pattern....

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IRS ALLOWS REMOTE WITNESSING OF SPOUSAL WAIVERS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the IRS has temporarily relaxed the rule that spousal consent to certain retirement plan distributions and loans must be witnessed personally by a notary public or a plan representative. In Notice...

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SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS AND CRDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Under the SECURE Act, if we can assume a Special Needs Trust can qualify for the stretch via the disabled beneficiary, what happens when the special needs trust beneficiary passes? The next named beneficiary (remainder)...

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SECURE ACT’S 10-YEAR RULE BRINGS NEW PLANNING OPPORTUNITIES

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst By now, most IRA owners have heard the bad news. The SECURE Act eliminates the stretch IRA for the majority of beneficiaries who inherit in 2020 or later. Instead, for most, a 10-year payout rule will apply. Here is how this new rule...

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ROTH CONVERSIONS: PAYING TAXES FROM ANOTHER SOURCE

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The King of the Land wanted to send 100,000 of his greatest warriors off to battle. However, he was told that 20,000 of the warriors needed to remain behind to protect the castle. The King of the Land did not like this news. He...

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2020 RMD WAIVERS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: I understand that I don’t have to take any RMDs during 2020.  However, is the CARES Act rule that it is an-all-or-nothing for RMDs or can I take a portion of my RMD for 2020 but not all John Answer: Hi John, Since RMDs are...

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SHOULD I TAKE A LUMP SUM BUYOUT?

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst As a result of the current economic downturn, we can expect more and more companies to offer lump sum buyouts to employees with defined benefit (DB) plan benefits. A lump sum buyout is a limited opportunity for DB plan participants to...

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3 REASONS TO ROLL OVER YOUR RETIREMENT FUNDS TO AN IRA

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst More than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the Corona virus pandemic hit in in the middle of March. With job loss can come questions of what to do with retirement savings such as your 401(k) plan. A rollover to an...

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ONE MORE CARES ACT MISCONCEPTION

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Recovery (CARES) Act continues to cause confusion. In the April 22, 2020 Slott Report, we discussed four misconceptions surrounding the new law. In this article, we add one more: If your employer...

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CONVERSION NIGHTMARES

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst With markets down, many IRA owners are thinking this may be the time for a Roth IRA conversion. Converting when account values are down can be a good bargain. You pay a tax bill on a lower balance now in exchange for potential tax-free...

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CRDS AND ROTH CONVERSIONS – ABUSE OF THE RULES?

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The coronavirus-related distribution (CRD) rules for Roth conversions have a gaping hole. An “affected person” (as we have defined in previous blogs), is entitled under the CARES Act to withdraw up to $100,000 from their IRA or...

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IRA PROTECTION AGAINST THE EVIL GENIE IN THE LAMP

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst The evil genie in the IRA lamp wants your money. He roars with laughter at the thought of you facing hard times. Given an opportunity, he will line the pockets of creditors with your IRA dollars, and he will serve your remaining...

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CARES ACT EXPANDS HSAS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst The recently passed CARES Act includes some changes that impact your HSA. These changes will allow you to access more medical services without worrying about your deductible, and also enable you to take more tax-free distributions from...

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IRS ISSUES Q&AS ON CORONAVIRUS-RELATED DISTRIBUTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), certain individuals can take up to $100,000 of distributions from IRAs and company plans during 2020 and receive special tax relief. Those distributions are...

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THE MEGA BACKDOOR ROTH IS USUALLY TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst For a number of years, the “mega backdoor Roth” strategy has been touted as a way for employees to convert large amounts of after-tax employee contributions to Roth IRAs. Unfortunately, in most cases the strategy won’t work. Here’s why....

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TECHNOLOGY, ROTH CONVERSIONS AND A SQUIRMING SON

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst 77 and sharp - that’s my dad. A voracious reader. Daily crossword puzzles. Curious. Engaged with the community. But he gets a little loose with technology. Comedic evidence suggests he is blissfully unaware if he is having a...

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4 CARES ACT MISCONCEPTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, includes several important retirement-related provisions. Because some of these provisions are confusing, several misconceptions about the new...

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4 CARES ACT MISCONCEPTIONS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, includes several important retirement-related provisions. Because some of these provisions are confusing, several misconceptions about the new...

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QCDS – STILL AVAILABLE IN 2020 AND STILL A GOOD STRATEGY

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst As the coronavirus pandemic has raged on, we have seen devasting images of overwhelmed hospitals and long lines of cars at food banks. If you are fortunate enough to have money to spare, you might be thinking about how you can help....

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RMDS & ROTH IRAS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst Question: I took 25% of my 2020 required minimum distribution (RMD) from an inherited IRA on March 15, 2020. Can that be “undone” in accordance with the CARES Act and if so, how?  Thanks. Audrey Answer: Hi Audrey, The CARES Act waives...

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ROLLING OVER AN RMD, PART 2 – “JUST WAIT A MINUTE”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst I grew up in the northeast, where snow squalls sweep across Lake Ontario and cede to blue skies, where 85-degree summer days change to a biting rain at a moment’s notice. The folksy phrase around town was, “If you don’t like the...

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ROLLING OVER AN RMD, PART 2 – “JUST WAIT A MINUTE”

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst I grew up in the northeast, where snow squalls sweep across Lake Ontario and cede to blue skies, where 85-degree summer days change to a biting rain at a moment’s notice. The folksy phrase around town was, “If you don’t like the...

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QCDS AND ROTH CONVERSIONS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: Hi. What are the rules for QCDs now that required minimum distributions (RMDs) have been cancelled for 2020? Thanks for your help. Jerry Answer: Jerry, Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) are unaffected by the CARES...

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NO “FIRST MONEY OUT” RULE FOR 2020

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst On March 27, the massive “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or the “CARES Act,” was signed into law. The CARES Act includes a waiver of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. This waiver applies to company...

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ROLLING OVER AN RMD

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Like most people’s lives, the retirement world is upside down. This is made evident by a single statement: “Required minimum distributions (RMDs) can be rolled over.” Yes, that is the new normal – at least for this year. RMDs are...

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THE CARES ACT 2020 RMD WAIVER: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst Question: The virus pandemic has prompted legislation that has eliminated the requirement for me to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from my IRA for the year 2020. Am I therefore allowed to do a partial Roth IRA conversion in...

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CARES ACT RELIEF FOR RETIREMENT DISTRIBUTIONS AND PLAN LOANS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The recently-enacted “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” or CARES Act, includes special tax relief for IRA and company plan withdrawals made in 2020 and for company plan loans. Who gets relief? Both the distribution and...

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CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FOR RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

By Sarah Brenner, JD IRA Analyst As the coronavirus pandemic has spread, many Americans have been hit hard. Their retirement accounts have also taken a serious blow as markets have plummeted. In these tough times, there is a bit of good news as the government has come...

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BUILDING A SAFETY NET – SMALL BUSINESSES RETIREMENT PLANS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst By their nature, small businesses struggle in the shallows. Now they face a tsunami. However, when the shutters are removed and customers return and the employees are back on the payroll, normal day-to-day concerns will be a...

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SPLITTING IRAS AFTER THE SECURE ACT

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst It’s common for IRA owners to leave their assets to multiple beneficiaries – for example, their children. Before the SECURE Act, it usually made sense to split the IRA into separate accounts either before or after death. That’s because...

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INHERITED IRAS AND QCDS: TODAY’S SLOTT REPORT MAILBAG

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst Question: A daughter who has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis is listed as the beneficiary on her father’s Roth IRA.  Does this disease qualify as a “chronic illness” for purposes of the exception to the 10-year rule? Is...

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SELF-CERTIFICATION FOR MISSED 60-DAY ROLLOVERS

By Andy Ives, CFP®, AIF® IRA Analyst When a person takes a distribution from his IRA or workplace plan, he has 60 days from the day of receipt to redeposit (i.e., roll over) those dollars into another qualified account. This assumes no other disqualifying rollovers...

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APRIL 15 DEADLINE LOOMS TO CORRECT 2019 EXCESS PLAN DEFERRALS

By Ian Berger, JD IRA Analyst The amount of annual elective deferrals you can make to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan is limited by the tax code. If you discover that you’ve over-contributed in 2019, time is of the essence to correct the error. If you don’t act quickly, the...

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