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(1) because i will be paying extra taxes from an IRA to Roth conversion how can i minimize the tax income and/or maximize the refund i will get back?

I'm not quite sure what you are asking, but the thing to remember is that most deductions cost you more than you get back in taxes...for example, you could maximize your refund by giving lots of money to charity (and I'm not saying your shouldn't), but you would give the charity more money than you would get back from Uncle Sam. Another way to get a bigger refund is to increase your withholding, but that's just giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan until you file your taxes....you could just save the cash yourself.

If you are specifically asking about a 401k, more pre-tax contributions, the lower your tax bill will be.

(2)do after tax contributions to 401k's make it act like a Roth? a co-worker contributes 100% after tax, to "avoid the tax man" now and later. is this correct??

No.

An after-tax 401k contribution works like an after-tax traditional IRA contribution. The gains (but not your contrubtions) are taxed when you withdraw from the account. Tax deferred, not tax free.

There are plans for a Roth 401k to come on-line in the coming years, but it's not here yet.

JDOyster
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