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As a hypothetical example, assume I have the following IRA accounts:

IRA #1 \$20,000
IRA #2 5,000
IRA #3 5,000

I wish to convert \$10,000 to a Roth IRA for 1998. Can I convert *both* IRA #2 and IRA #3 in 1998, or am I limited to converting only 1 account? Assuming I can only convert one account, can I convert a partial account (ie. half of IRA #1) to meet the \$10,000 I wish to convert?
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kautzman said:

As a hypothetical example, assume I have the following IRA accounts:

IRA #1 \$20,000
IRA #2 5,000
IRA #3 5,000

I wish to convert \$10,000 to a Roth IRA for 1998. Can I convert *both* IRA #2 and IRA #3 in
1998, or am I limited to converting only 1 account? Assuming I can only convert one account, can
I convert a partial account (ie. half of IRA #1) to meet the \$10,000 I wish to convert?

Uncle Sam says, ummmmm, you have an IRA for \$30,000. You want to convert \$10,000, or 1/3 of the account to a ROTH. That means you are converting 1/3 of the non-deductible contributions, and the remainder are either deductible contributions or growth. That means he will hit you with taxes on everything except the non-deductible contributions. But to answer the literal question, you can convert all, or any part of any of the accounts. Uncle Sam sees only one account anyway. Yours.

Bob
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[[IRA #1 \$20,000
IRA #2 5,000
IRA #3 5,000

I wish to convert \$10,000 to a Roth IRA for 1998. Can I convert *both* IRA #2 and IRA #3 in
1998, or am I limited to converting only 1 account? Assuming I can only convert one account, can
I convert a partial account (ie. half of IRA #1) to meet the \$10,000 I wish to convert?]]

As Bob correctly pointed out, Uncle Sammy considers that you have just one, big IRA with a total value of \$30k. And, as Bob also pointed out, if you have any basis on any of the IRAs, that basis will be considered to spread out over the total IRA. The 1/3 example that Bob gave you was first class.

And, finally, as Bob pointed out, you can convert any amount. You don't even have to convert a "whole" IRA. In your example, you could convert \$22k, or \$3k, or \$29k. Any amount that makes financial sense to you.

We discuss this issue in a bit more detail in The Motley Fool Investment Tax Guide. You might want to check it out.

TMF Taxes
Roy