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If you're married and near retirement consider this tax strategy
If you're married and near retirement, consider this tax-saving strategy
Darla Mercado
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Here's one good reason for the happily married to rejoice: They have better access to a tax-friendly retirement savings strategy.
Generally, a Roth individual retirement account allows savers to put away up to $5,500 (plus $1,000 if you're age 50 or older), have the money grow free of taxes and then tap it in retirement on a tax-free basis.
As useful as these accounts may be, not everyone will have access to them. Taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income exceeds $120,000 if single or $189,000 if married won't be able to make the full contribution directly to a Roth IRA.
That's where Roth conversions come in: You take a chunk of traditional IRA dollars, pay income taxes and convert it to a Roth IRA. Income limits do not apply to conversions.
Be aware that This move is a permanent one.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act put an end to "recharacterizations," or the unwinding of Roth conversions that were completed after the end of 2017. If you made a Roth conversion last year and you'd like to undo it, you have until Oct. 15 to do so.
Married couples weighing a Roth conversion have an added sweetener, according to Robert S. Keebler, CPA and partner with Keebler & Associates.
He spoke at the Financial Planning Association's annual conference in Chicago on Monday.
"The income tax brackets are more favorable for married people, so convert while both spouses are alive," he said.
Here's why a Roth conversion might be a great deal for couples.
Softer brackets
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act not only trimmed individual income tax rates across the board, it also broadened the income tax brackets for married couples.
This allows higher-income households to remain in lower brackets and be subject to friendlier top rates.
See below for a breakdown of the 2018 tax brackets for singles
Rate
Taxable Income Bracket
10% 0 to $9,525
12% $9,525 to $38,700
22% $38,700 to $82,500
24% $82,500 to $157,500
32% $157,500 to $200,000
35% $200,000 to $500,000
37% $500,000 and up
This is what the 2018 brackets are for married couples.
Rate
Taxable Income Bracket
10% 0 to $19,050
12% $19,050 to $77,400
22% $77,400 to $165,000
24% $165,000 to $315,000
32% $315,000 to $400,000
35% $400,000 to $600,000
37% $600,000 and up
A couple with taxable income of $300,000 in 2017 would have been in the 33 percent bracket. Under the current law, that same couple would be in the 24 percent bracket.
In effect, the new tax law has created "softer brackets," said Keebler.
Converting while you can
Since higher-income couples have a longer runway before they begin to hit the higher brackets, they might be in the best position to make Roth conversions now.
They pay income taxes on the amount converted, and with lower rates and wider brackets, the taxes won't sting as much now as they would have prior to the new tax law.
Bear in mind that the lower rates for individuals aren't permanent and they may revert to the old structure after 2025. The House GOP is pushing to make lower rates permanent as part of Tax Reform 2.0.
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Converting now while you can still file as a married couple is also helpful because the brackets are narrower for single people. This means it's easy for a single person to bump up into a higher tax bracket when converting their traditional IRA to a Roth.
"Why haven't people talked about doing conversions while the spouse is still alive?" asked Keebler. "Right now, it makes more sense."
Beware: Pro rata rule
Proceed with caution and work with a professional when you make a Roth conversion.
In the event you made non-deductible – or after tax – contributions to a traditional IRA and expect to convert that amount to a Roth, you could run into a tax hiccup known as the "pro rata rule."
If you already own other IRAs with pretax amounts in them, the IRS could subject you to income taxes based on the overall value of all the accounts — and not just the amount that you're converting.
What you have saved in your traditional IRAs, along with your SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, would be included in this calculation.
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This is known as the pro rata rule.
You can also get tripped up on the pro rata rule if you convert a nondeductible IRA at one point in the year and then later that same year you rollover a 401(k) into a traditional IRA.
That's because the pro rata rule considers your IRA balances at the end of the year.
More from Fixed Income Strategies:
Did a Roth IRA conversion? What you might need to do next
Answer this question right and you'll have a good retirement
Watch out for the yield curve
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If  you're  married  and  near  retirement_  consider  this  tax-saving  strategy  needsEditing  investment  Roth  traditional  IRA  401k 
october 2018 by neerajsinghvns
How the new tax law creates a ‘perfect storm’ for Roth IRA conversions - MarketWatch
tags: How the new tax law creates a ‘perfect storm’ for Roth IRA conversions - MarketWatch | READ comments
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You are mistaken. 401k and IRA are separate contributions with their own limits. You can max out your 401k and still do maximum contribution to your IRA (either traditional or Roth.) Anyways, In my opinion, its inevitable Roth's will be taxed in the future when too many of us middle class peasants start not paying taxes on income. The Roth scam worked great when only the Rich knew about it, but there is no way the gov't is going to let ordinary people avoid taxes.
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Bert MLeader
20hEdited
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You should convert as much as you can up to the max limit of 12% tax bracket. When you start SS at whatever age or start RMDs at 70.5, depending on your income, you may be in the higher 22% tax bracket. I can convert about $14k per year right now from age 62 to 66, but when I start SS at 66, I will have to stop converting because it will bump me into the 22% tax bracket and will make my stock dividends taxed at 15%. My dividends are taxed at 0% right now.
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DMC XXXXXLeader
8 Aug
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am in a higher tax bracket and now retired 10 years--
I have one rental, one pension, 2 roths and one IRA, 2 SS checks.

My income is 33% higher than the year I retired.

I intend to convert the one IRA (400K) to a roth this year or over 4 years. That IRA id adding 15 to 18 K to my taxable income each year.
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RISHIYUR MOHAN
31 Jul
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A few observations about Roth IRA/conversions:
Remember, the holy grail of Social Security benefits were not taxable until it was changed under the leadership of Republican President Reagan in 1984. So what's to prevent future Presidents and Congress, of any political persuasion, from dipping into Roth withdrawals in the future?
I have heard that its not advisable to pay Roth conversion taxes with pre-tax(IRA) funds. If you do ,your retirement nest egg takes an immediate dip based on your tax rate (e.g. 20% tax rate will be $200K on a $1000K amount). You may not have to pay taxes on withdrawals but future returns will have to make up for the reduction in asset base.
If you are in pre-medicare status and are retired with ACA health coverage, watch out!! The premium subsidies vanish if you go even $1 above the allowable taxable income limit. For example, monthly premium could jump from $300/month to $1500/month if taxable income is not closely monitored.
So the question is - in a specific individual's situation, a Roth conversion could be a benefit or a major losing proposition.
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Mike Grant
30 Jul
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I agree way to many variables. I am really surprised that most people would be in a higher tax bracket when they retire. I have figured it out for my wife and I and we will be living on 50% of our current income. Once the kids are gone and we downsize it won't even be close. Maximizing all the tax deductions I can get while we are working is by far our best option. It may not be for you, but it's not nearly as cut and dry as the article would suggest
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jon deanInfluencerMike Grant
31 Jul
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I thought that I'd be in a lower tax bracket when I retired. Didn't do the math; should have. I'm in a higher tax bracket because the last decade that I worked, I was maxing out contributions to a 401K and a 357 retirement savings plan, plus a health savings plan. Combined, all those deductions from my pay put me in a lower bracket. Now, over 70, even those RMDs put me in a higher bracket when combined with my SS and pensions.
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Bert MLeaderMike Grant
19hEdited
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Most retirees are not in a higher tax bracket after retirement. A very small percentage may be in higher tax brackets due to large RMDs. For example, I am 62, retired since age 59 and have $111k per year income. I have $10k Roth dividends (not taxed) and $38k in stock dividends at 0% tax rate. If you deduct the $24k married deduction, I'm only paying tax on $39k for a 4% overall tax rate. I haven't started my SS or RMDs yet, so my tax rate will go up, but I probably will never be paying a higher tax rate from when I was working.
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How  the  new  tax  law  creates  a  ‘perfect  storm’  for  Roth  IRA  conversions  -  MarketWatch  |  read  comments 
august 2018 by neerajsinghvns
Roth IRA Rules For Minors. Your Kids Guide to Tax Free Money - Good Financial Cents
Roth IRA Rules For Minors. Your Kids Guide to Tax Free Money - Good Financial Cents ;;;
tags: Roth IRA Rules For Minors . Your Kids Guide to Tax Free Money - Good Financial Cents ;;;
Roth  IRA  Rules  For  Minors  Your  Kids  Guide  to  Tax  Free  Money  -  Good  Financial  Cents 
january 2018 by neerajsinghvns

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