IRA/Roth Rollover Process
Most pre-retirement payments you receive from a retirement plan or IRA can be “rolled over” by depositing the payment in another retirement plan or IRA within 60 days. You can also have your financial institution or plan directly transfer the payment to another plan or IRA.
The Rollover Chart (PDF) summarizes allowable rollover transactions.
When you roll over a retirement plan distribution, you generally don’t pay tax on it until you withdraw it from the new plan. By rolling over, you’re saving for your future and your money continues to grow tax-deferred.
If you don’t roll over your payment, it will be taxable (other than qualified Roth distributions and any amounts already taxed) and you may also be subject to additional tax unless you’re eligible for one of the exceptions to the 10% additional tax on early distributions.
How do I complete a rollover?
Direct rollover – If you’re getting a distribution from a retirement plan, you can ask your plan administrator to make the payment directly to another retirement plan or to an IRA. Contact your plan administrator for instructions. The administrator may issue your distribution in the form of a check made payable to your new account. No taxes will be withheld from your transfer amount.
Trustee-to-trustee transfer – If you’re getting a distribution from an IRA, you can ask the financial institution holding your IRA to make the payment directly from your IRA to another IRA or to a retirement plan. No taxes will be withheld from your transfer amount.
60-day rollover – If a distribution from an IRA or a retirement plan is paid directly to you, you can deposit all or a portion of it in an IRA or a retirement plan within 60 days. Taxes will be withheld from a distribution from a retirement plan (see below), so you’ll have to use other funds to roll over the full amount of the distribution.
When should I roll over?
You have 60 days from the date you receive an IRA or retirement plan distribution to roll it over to another plan or IRA. The IRS may waive the 60-day rollover requirement in certain situations if you missed the deadline because of circumstances beyond your control.