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Subject:  Re: This doesn't make sense Date:  11/19/1998  2:08 PM
Author:  piz Number:  6385 of 127906

I wrote:
Anyone (especially if you're a Brown & Co. customer and you've converted, in whole or in part, a traditional IRA to a Roth) please comment:

I'm going to convert part of my IRA to a Roth. Brown charges a $25 fee to do this. I called and asked if I can pay the fee separately, without it counting as an IRA contribution. They said I couldn't, that the fee would have to come out of the existing IRA. But they also told that if I had a non-IRA account (I don't) they'd take the fee out of that instead. In other words, I can't pay the fee by check - it must be taken out of one or another account.

This doesn't make sense to me. If they're willing to take the fee out of a non-IRA account and not count it as an IRA contribution, why aren't they willing to accept a check in the same manner? I asked this, but the phone drone just reiterated that I couldn't pay the fee by check. I know other brokerages who charge a fee for Roth conversions accept payment that isn't treated as a contribution - why won't Brown? Seems to me that for tax purposes this fee should be treated the same way account maintenance fees are at brokerages who charge them - outside the IRA contribution limit.

Now it makes sense. I called Brown again and made the point that there's no difference as far as the IRS is concerned if the fee comes from a taxable account I have at Brown or from a check designated that it's not a contribution but just to cover the conversion fee. The phone drone put me on hold for a while (I assume to consult with the High Muckety-Mucks) and when he came back he said that would be OK. So now I can pay the fee by check and not have it count as a contribution.

Another blow struck for common sense!

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