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[[Last month I withdrew about $5500.00 from my IRA to cover some short term expenses. The
financial crisis is now over and I have $5500.00 to place back in my IRA. Can I simply deposit this
money back in the original account and avoid the early withdrawl penalties at tax time, treating this
short term "loan" similar to an IRA rollover? If not, haow should I go about minimizing my tax

As piz noted in his post, as long as the funds are returned within the 60 day period, you have no least on THIS transaction.

But what you have done is to "taint" the IRA in which you redeposited the funds. That means that you will not be allowed another "rollover" in this IRA for one year. So whatever you do, try to avoid another such crisis for at least a year. Not then, if you have another IRA account, you can have one rollover within the 12 month period in THAT specific account without any problem.

Remember finally that a "trustee to trustee" transfer is NOT considered a rollover. So if you decide to "move" your IRA (the "tainted" IRA) from one place to another, or from one broker to a new broker within the next year, do so via a "trustee to trustee" transfer and you should be just fine.

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