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<<I'm interested in starting a Roth IRA when they become available. I don't currently have an IRA to roll over. The question is this: will I be able to deposit $4K directly into the Roth IRA ($2K for 1997 tax year & $2K for 1998 tax year); or will I have to take the circuitous route and deposit $2K into a regular IRA first (for the 1997 tax year), then roll this into the Roth IRA, then add $2K for the 1998 tax year? >>

Sorry, but you'll have to go the long way around. Remember that Roth IRAs begin for tax year 1998. The earliest that you can make your Roth IRA contribution for 1998 would be 1-1-98 for TAX YEAR 1998.

And although you can wait until 4-15-98 to make a "normal" IRA contribution for 1997, you would not be able to make this normal contribution directly into the Roth IRA, since there is no Roth IRA available for 1997. See the problem? And this will be a problem, really, only in year one. In future years, you could delay the payment of year one and add it to your year two contribution. But for the first year, this option is not available.

So you'll be required to make a normal IRA contribution (either deductible or non-deductible...depending upon if you qualify), and then roll it over to the Roth IRA some time in 1998.

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