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March 15, 2021

Can I convert my RMD to my Roth IRA?


Can I convert my RMD to my Roth IRA?

I am due to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from my traditional IRA this year. However, I would like to convert a portion of my traditional IRA to my Roth IRA. Am I able to convert my RMD amount to my Roth IRA?

No. You cannot convert your RMD to your Roth IRA.

Also, you must take your RMD before you convert any amount to your Roth IRA. This applies for two reasons:

  1. For any year that you are required to take an RMD from your traditional IRA, the first distributions that you take from your traditional IRA always include your RMD until your RMD is satisfied.
  2. RMDs are not eligible to be rolled over. And, by definition, a Roth conversion from a traditional IRA is a two-step process that includes :

Step 1: A distribution from the traditional IRA and

Step 2: A rollover contribution to the Roth IRA (reported/treated as a Roth conversion). This Step 2 cannot include your RMD.

 Example 1:

  • Assume that your RMD for your traditional IRA for this year is $10,000.
  • Assume, too, that you took a distribution of $25,000 from your traditional IRA, and this is the first distribution that you took for the year. The following applies:
  • You must keep $10,000 (in pocket) as your RMD
  • The remaining $15,000 can be rolled over to an eligible retirement account, including rolled over to a Roth IRA as a conversion. This must generally be done within 60-days of receipt.


Example 2:

Assume that your RMD for your traditional IRA for this year is $5,000, and you want to convert $10,000 to your Roth IRA from your traditional IRA.

You must take a distribution of $5,000 to yourself first. Then you can convert $10,000 from your traditional IRA to your Roth IRA.

Written By

Denise Appleby

Denise is CEO of Appleby Retirement Consulting Inc., a firm that provides IRA resources for financial/ tax/legal professionals. She has over 20 years of experience in the retirement plans field, which includes training and technical consultation.

Denise writes and publishes educational /marketing tools for advisors; available at Denise co-authored several books on IRAs

Denise is a graduate of The John Marshall Law School, where she obtained a Masters of Jurisprudence in Employee Benefits, and has earned 5 professional retirement designations.
She has appeared on numerous media programs, sharing her insights on retirement tax laws.


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