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But the cost basis of shares entering the Margin account (taxable) is very relevant. Not the original price of those shares, but the price at the moment of transfer. And this matters immediately to the IRA because it affects whether I have taken the entire MDR out of the IRA. And it matters subsequently to the Margin account if I ever sell that stock.

No, you still don't understand things. The price for the transfer is the average of the high and low on the date the transfer occurs, not an instantaneous price. It is this average price which becomes your cost basis and determines if you have taken your full RMD.

Additionally, I'm not aware of any broker that will restrict traditional->Roth conversions because an RMD hasn't been taken. It is your responsibility to make sure that you comply with the tax laws and the broker's responsibility to report what has transpired within the account(s). If you convert too much and don't distribute enough to make your RMD, you will find out when you prepare your tax return or when the IRS sends you a penalty notice.

I can think of many reasons why someone would want to do a Roth conversion early in the year, yet defer their RMD to the end of the year.

Ira
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