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Author: JAFO31 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75611  
Subject: Re: To Roth, or not to Roth..! Date: 12/27/1999 5:29 PM
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Bob78164:

<<<<JAFO31 writes (in part):

Unless Congress changes the rules WRT to Roth IRAs between now and then. TMFPixy and I have disagreed about the most likely shape of the changes, but, among the several choices, I can easily envision Roth IRAs being taxed just non-deductible regular IRAs if a future Congress is hungry for revenue.>>>>

[Bob replies:]

I've chimed in on this debate in the past as well. I haven't done the research, but I suspect that if Congress wanted to go this route, it would be forced by the Due Process Clause to "grandfather" in tax-free treatment for funds that are already in Roth IRAs. In that event, of course, it might as well simply eliminate future contributions to the Roth IRA.

I am aware that Congress can constitutionally pass laws that are retroactive in effect, but that authority is not unlimited. --Bob"


I am no consitutional law expert by any means, but I am not certain that the rule against retroactivity would require "grandfathering," (although "grandfathering" would certainly be one of the intermediate possibilities). The only change would be to change the defintion of current income to include any current distribution from a Roth IRA that was not previously taxed and to allocate distributions between taxed contributions and untaxed earnings; it would not go back and tax and prior withdrawals.

For example, consider the 1986 tax law changes and the the passive loss rules for how a current change can wreak havoc on current taxes for choices that were made in prior years under different rules.

Again, I do not wish to be perceived as the bearer of only doom and gloom, but I do think that the rose colored glasses should not be worn either.

Just my $0.02. Regards, JAFO
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