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How to avoid this common IRA rollover mistake

How to avoid this common IRA rollover mistake

The once-per-year limit on IRA-to-IRA rollovers is a terrible trap for unwary taxpayers. It’s easy to fall into, but also easy to avoid. Here is the rule: If you receive a distribution from an IRA, you cannot roll that distribution over into any IRA if the distribution is received by you less than 12 months after another IRA distribution you received that you rolled over into an IRA. That’s according to Internal Revenue Code Section 408(d)(3)(B). Meant to prevent IRA owners from “kiting” their IRA distributions (keeping money perpetually outside the IRA by a series of rollovers), the rule traps mostly innocent bystanders. For example, Investor A inherits an IRA from her deceased spouse. She cannot roll over a distribution from that inherited IRA if within the past 12 months she received a distribution from her own IRA account that she rolled over tax-free into an IRA. She’ll have to wait to take the distribution from the inherited IRA until after the 12 months have passed. Or, more tragically, Individual B who is losing mental capacity takes distributions from his IRAs without being aware of the financial effects. A guardian is appointed for him and tries to roll the money

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