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Subject:  Implications/penalties of converting to Roth IRA Date:  1/3/2013  4:22 PM
Author:  jonlee30982 Number:  117282 of 127613

I was unemployed for all of 2012 and my only source of income was my unemployment insurance, so at the very end of December, I decided to convert all of my pre-tax holdings (one traditional IRA and two 401Ks) into my Roth IRA while I was in a lower tax bracket. Although I understand that the converted amounts will count as ordinary income for 2012, I hadn't taken into consideration the "pay-as-you-go" aspect of our tax system, and so now I have a large unpaid tax liability that from what I understand will need to be covered by January 15th in order to avoid penalties come tax time. I was wondering what kind of options I have, both in terms of possibly not paying the liability until April 15th, and in terms of how I'm supposed to pay for it if I must do it before April 15th to avoid the penalty. Also, from what I understand, the penalty is incurred based on the period when the liability is created, but I wasn't sure on the fine details of this. If I made the conversions at the very end of Dec, does my penalty accrue starting from the conversion date or does it accrue from the beginning of the period (Sept 1), and will it continue to accrue after Dec 31 until I pay it off? Also, is there a way to check how much tax I've had withheld so far from the IRS? I always opted for 10% to be withheld from my unemployment checks but I just wanted to make sure.

A little bit of extra info about my situation in case it makes a difference. For 2011, my total tax liability exceeded my withholdings by a few hundred dollars, so I wasn't penalized but I didn't completely cover my liability either. My liability last year still exceeds this year's liability, so the "pay 100% of last year's liability to be safe" option isn't exactly an option. I was also wondering what the easiest way to calculate my estimated total liability would be. My only income in 2012 was unemployment insurance, misc interest from bank accounts, and now the Roth IRA conversions, and I'll be using the standard deduction. Thanks for any help that anyone can give me regarding this matter, and if more info is needed to answer my questions, then by all means ask.
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