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<<1. My friend says that I can have as many Roth IRA accounts that I want (say with two discount brokers and a bank) as long as my *total* contribution to all of them does not exceed $2000. Is this correct?>>

Yes. There may be a disadvantage in additional fees, but the tax law permits this.

<<2. My friend says that commissions that the broker charges me for my stock trades in my IRA account *are* included in the $2000 limit! Help!! Is this true? So, if I make 30 stock transactions with about $8/trade, then I lose about $240 from my permitted $2000 contribution? (That sure ain't sound right, but we all know how tax codes are written!!)>>

Not exactly. Commissions on trades have to be paid out of IRA money; if you pay them with non-IRA money you have made an additional contribution (and in this case the commission reduces your regular $2,000 as you stated). As long as you use IRA money to pay commissions, your annual contribution amount is not reduced.

<<3. What about Roth IRA maintanence and setup fees? Are they also included with the $2000? (If it is, it would be real screwy!)>>

You can pay trustee's administrative fees with non-IRA money and your contribution limit will be unaffected. If you itemize, you may be able to claim a deduction for this item, although most people do not benefit from this deduction because it is a miscellaneous deduction subject to the 2% floor that applies to such deductions.

KAT in Chicagoland
Tax Guide for Investors
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