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Greetings, Ofinneghan, and welcome. You asked:

<<TMF Max referred me to you.I am going to transfer my 401k to a IRA and then to a Roth.I do not think the funds will be in the Roth by the 31/st.I was told that if you start the process (declare intent) you can get the 4 year tax averaging benefit even if the funds are not deposited by the 31/st but are on their way.Is this correct?>>

No, it is not correct. To use the four-year income averaging on a Roth conversion, the money must be in the Roth as of December 31, 1998. If it's not there by then, then the four-year spread cannot be used. The law is quite clear on that point. Being "in the process" of getting there won't count.

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