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Can I reverse my IRA Contribution to another type of IRA

Last Updated April 16, 2011

Question: 

If I make a contribution to my Traditional IRA and find out that I am ineligible to deduct the amount, how can I have it reversed and contributed to my Roth IRA?

Answer: 

You can change the character of your IRA contribution from a Traditional IRA contribution to a Roth IRA contribution by recharacterizing the amount. The recharacterization must include any net-income-attributable (NIA) to the contribution. This means that the amount recharacterized must have attributable earnings added or losses subtracted. This will, in effect, treat the contribution as if it was made initially to the Roth IRA. The original contribution will be reported on IRS Form 5498 for the traditional IRA. For the recharacterization, a 1099-R will be issued for the amount moved from the Traditional IRA and a 5498 will be issued for the amount recharacterized to the Roth IRA.
 

Eligibility for Roth IRA Contribution

Bear in mind that in addition to having eligible compensation ( as is also required for traditional IRAs) , you are eligible for a Roth IRA contribution only if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) does not exceed certain amounts.

These MAGI limits can be found here http://www.retirementdictionary.com/definitions/rothira .

Please discuss the matter with your tax professional, to ensure that the transactions are reported correctly on your tax return, and for help in determining which type of contribution (traditional IRA or Roth IRA) is more suitable for you.

The deadline for recharacterizing a contribution is your tax filing due date for the year for which the contribution was made, including extensions.  If you file your tax return or file for an extension by your tax filing due date, you receive an automatic 6-month extension to complete your recharacterization.  See the definition of recharacterization for more information http://www.retirementdictionary.com/definitions/recharacterization

 

This question was answered by Denise Appleby, CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc.