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I realized that I made an over contribution to my Roth IRA. Actually , I have two Roth IRAs and I forgot that I had already sent a $4770 contribution to one of them earlier in 2018. (I am eligible for a contribution of $6500.) I sent a second contribution of $3250 to the second Roth. I am aware that $6500 is the total combined contribution that I can make. So now I need to undo that to the tune of $1520. My questions: Does it matter which of the two Roth IRA accounts I take this money from -- or must it be from the very account that sent me over the limit? Does this have to be done by December 31? --or could it be done in early 2019, but before I file a tax return?
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You can withdraw the excess from either account, but I'd use the second account, which put you over the top, because the date of that contribution, not the first contribution, is the date from which the custodian has to calculate the earnings that must be withdrawn, in addition to the excess contribution. And the earlier date is otherwise irrelevant to the second custodian.

You have until the extended due date of the return to do that, to avoid the 6% penalty on excess contributions, but I'd say do it now. You will not benefit from waiting, because, as noted, the earnings on the excess contribution have to be withdrawn as well. And the earnings are taxable income, even from a Roth. And if you're under 59.5 years old, the 10% early withdrawal penalty also applies to the earnings. And it you can do it by 12/31, the whole mess will be in one calendar year, and easier to keep track of. So I'd call the custodian today, to get the process rolling. There are a lot of IRA transactions in December, and time is getting short.

Bill
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