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As explained up-thread, the idea is to withdraw as much from the TIRA as possible without paying any income tax and then putting the amount in excess of the RMD into the Roth IRA to enable any further investing to be done tax free.

To further complicate things, (not that this is actually complicated,) when you do your Roth conversion of the excess of the RMD they will also ask if you want taxes withheld from that transaction. You have the choice of paying the taxes from a taxable account allowing the whole $5K to be rolled over into the Roth or have the taxes withheld and sent to the IRS from the rollover amount and putting the remainder after tax into the Roth.

The way I see it is from the $15K:

1. $10K RMD goes to taxable account and you can have the taxes withheld without it impacting a benefit.

2. $5K excess over RMD transferred to a Roth via CONVERSION, (I personally would do direct and not take it in to a taxable account first. This was seriously easy at Fidelity where we already have both a Traditional and a Roth IRA, simply requiring a few clicks of the mouse.) Here you have the option of their taking the taxes from the amount you are converting and putting the $5K-taxes into the Roth, or paying taxes from another account, (either in an estimated tax payment to avoid penalties of late payment or directly to the IRS in your return if penalty not an issue,) which allows the full $5k to be converted into the Roth for tax free accumulation.

Keep in mind also the stretch inherited IRA is no longer a thing for non-spouses, so if you are looking to do this for estate issues, it's of limited value. As of last month non-spousal IRAs have to be cashed out within 10 years of inheritance. Completely torpedoed our estate plan for the kids.

now doing Roth conversions up to the 24% tax bracket to avoid high levels of taxes of a minimum of 25% when RMDs hit, and to avoid Uncle Sam from getting more of our IRAs than necessary when our kids, one of whom is already in a high tax bracket, inherit.
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