Estate Planning Seminar at Pleasant Grove Library

I’ll be presenting a seminar on DIY — Do It Yourself — Estate Planning at the Pleasant Grove Library on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 7 PM. Come an enjoy the discussion. The address is 30 E Center St, Pleasant Grove.

If you have a question about wills, trusts, and other aspects of estate planning, maybe I can answer it.

IRA Rollover Gotcha Down?

We all know the rule:

Sections 402(c)(3) and 408(d)(3) provide that any amount distributed from a qualified plan or IRA will be excluded from income if it is transferred to an eligible retirement plan no later than the 60th day following the day of receipt. A similar rule applies to § 403(a) annuity plans, § 403(b) tax sheltered annuities, and § 457 eligible governmental plans. See §§ 403(a)(4)(B), 403(b)(8)(B), and 457(e)(16)(B).

No, actually, we all know that rule stated this way:

You have 60 days to get your distribution from one IRA or retirement plan to another IRA or retirement plan, or you suffer the tax consequences. The “getting to one from another” is called a rollover–typically an IRA rollover.

If you fail to complete the rollover within 60 days, the penalties can be severe, including income and excise taxes, interest, and penalties.

get-out-of-jail-freePeople do rollovers for a variety of reasons. They retire. They change jobs. They become dissatisfied with their current IRA provider. In those cases and others, there’s a need to change move your retirement money from one plan to another. And typically the move goes smoothly–without a hitch.

Except when it doesn’t. What if the rollover takes more than 60 days? Then what?

Well, the IRS recently issued a new rule, Revenue Procedure 2016-47, that recognizes certain realities: Life happens.

  • Checks get misplaced
  • Houses burn down
  • The Post Office screws up
  • The fish were biting (just kidding)

Yup. If life hits you in the face, the IRS is going to wipe the tears away and tell you to go back outside and play–that is, they’re going to waive any penalties. There is a catch–of course:

  • What hit you in the face must be among the many excuses the IRS lists in the Revenue Procedure 2016-47 AND
  • You must complete the rollover “as soon as practicable” after the intervening reason no longer exists (there’s a 30 day safe harbor, though you can take longer) AND
  • You must self certify to your new plan administrator or IRA trustee that you meet the requirements of the Revenue Procedure AND
  • The IRS previously must not have denied a waiver.

The Revenue Procedure provides a  handy self-certification letter, the wording of which you must follow almost to the T.  You can find the sample letter here, in the appendix of the actual Revenue Procedure. Enjoy the read.

Stretch IRAs Under Seige?

What’s a stretch IRA, you say? Well, it’s not a new type of IRA, rather it’s a strategy to preserve the value of an inherited IRA, to defer the tax on as much of the IRA as possible for as long as possible. As the law now stands, the owner of an IRA has to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) for his or her IRA at 70 1/2. Those RMDs are based on the person’s life expectancy at that time.

Should the IRA owner die, the beneficiary of the IRA must then take RMDs based on the beneficiary’s life expectancy–regardless of how old the beneficiary is at the time. Typically, beneficiaries are spouses, people of roughly the same age as the owner, so their RMDs will be more or less the same as the IRA owner’s.

To “stretch” the tax deferral benefits of an IRA, some advisors suggest their clients change the beneficiary designation on their IRA from their spouse to their children, that is, if their spouse has other income and will have no need for the income from the IRA. Though the children beneficiaries will have to take RMDs as well, those RMDs will be “stretched” out over a longer life expectancy and therefore will be much smaller and therefore more dollars will remain in the IRA for a longer period, safe from the tax man–for now.

Got that?

Well apparently stretch IRAs are under attack, according to a piece at Wealthmanagement.com. Here’s the first paragraph, with a teaser at the end. Yes Virginia, there are some possible solutions to the problem.

The stretch IRA is under siege.

If it’s eliminated, a non-spouse beneficiary of an IRA will be required to pay income taxes on the entire inherited IRA within five years of the IRA owner’s death. Here are two promising solutions using tax-free income that your clients can act on before the law changes. Let’s discuss Roth IRA conversions and life insurance.

There’s much to talk about with regard to IRAs, so check back later.

The Wyoming State Bar does not certify any lawyer as a specialist or expert. Anyone considering a lawyer should independently investigate the lawyer’s credentials and ability, and not rely upon advertisements or self-proclaimed expertise. This website is an advertisement.