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After reading through IRS publication 590, it appears that there is nothing illegal about deliberately over-contributing to an IRA or Roth IRA account.

See Roy's response at http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=13321017

This raises the following question: what is there to stop me from opening a Roth IRA account with an initial deposit of, say, $10,000, if I am willing to pay a $480 penalty each year for the rest of my life on the $8,000 excess contribution?

I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong, but the earnings on the excess contribution would not be eligible for tax-free withdrawl. Instead, they would be fully taxable and subject to early withdrawl penalties. In the 28% bracket, that comes to a 38% tax on the earnings (28% income tax plus 10% penalty tax). Add in a state (a typical California taxpayer in the 6% bracket plus a 2.5% early withdrawl penalty) and your pretty close to losing half of your earnings to taxes. Sounds like a good reason to keep you from making excess contributions to me. ;-)

--Peter
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