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For example, see post #7087. Basically, if you convert to a Roth before 12/31/98, then you have the OPTION of spreading the resultant tax liability over 1998-2001 in four equal chunks. (If you wish, you can always pay all the taxes in 1998. This might make sense for some.) However, if you wait until after 12/31/98 to convert, then you cannot take advantage of the four-year tax spreading rule.

For example, if your traditional IRA is worth $1,000 and you convert on 12/1/98. Then, if you are taxed at 28%, your taxes will be $280. You can then either pay $280 in extra taxes in 1998, or you can pay $70 in extra taxes in each of 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. (Let's ignore for the moment those nasty little details regarding distributions during those four years.)

There might be other things, too, but that's the first rule change I can think of.
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