IRAs – both Roth IRAs and more traditional types Rollover IRA – are designed to allow you to accumulate money for your retirement years. The structure of these IRA accounts has two consequences – first, that taking money out of your account before the IRS established minimum retirement age may subject you to penalties. The second consequence is that once you reach “retirement” age as defined by the IRS, you may be required to start receiving money from your rollover IRA account – whether or not you actually need it. Before you make any withdrawals from your IRA, it’s a good idea to consult your tax adviser or financial planner for advice.
For a withdrawal from a Roth IRA to be considered qualified, meaning that you avoid taxes and penalties on the withdrawal, you must meet certain conditions. A five-year aging requirement is imposed by the IRS, and you must meet one of three additional conditions – you must be at least 59 ½ years old, you must be making a first time home purchase, or there must be a disability or death to you or a dependent. If you fail to meet these qualifications, taxes must be paid on the earnings withdrawn, in addition to a 10 percent additional tax penalty unless you qualify for an exception according to IRS rules.
While traditional IRAs require you to receive required minimum distributions (RMDs) beginning at age 70 ½, there’s no such requirement with Roth IRAs, except for Roth 401k plans. As with a traditional IRA, you must begin receiving RMDs from a Roth 401k at age 70 ½ years. As an additional precaution, be aware that contributions to a Roth 401k IRA cannot be moved to a regular 401k account, as you can’t “un-pay” taxes on the funds in your Roth account.
To continue to reap the benefits of your Roth IRA, consider carefully where and how any withdrawals will be used before they’re removed from your account. As noted above, there are certain taxes and fees involved with a withdrawal which may make a rollover more advantageous.
Because of the nature of the funds in a Roth IRA, they can only be rolled over into another Roth IRA. Generally, you would only move funds from one Roth IRA to another Roth IRA if the second offered you some advantage, such as increased earning potential, more control over your money or the ability to consolidate accounts under one provider or adviser, for example.
The rules surrounding Roth IRAs are a little different and a little more complex than traditional IRAs, especially with the legal changes that take effect in the 2010 tax year. With this knowledge, you may want to consult a tax adviser or your financial planner before you make any decisions about moving money from one Roth IRA to another, or before you consider making a withdrawal. There may be good reasons for either transaction, but you should confirm your decision with someone better versed in Roth IRA rules before you make decisions that could impact your future and that of your family.