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Ok, here's a simple question, but I can't find the answer. It's plastered all over the Fool's home page, and elsewhere, that you can contribute to an IRA through April 15, next Monday. But what does that really mean? Can you mail off a new account application, with check, as long as it's postmarked no later then Monday? Or must a new account have been opened and funded by then, with confirming paperwork from a mutual fund (or bank, brokerage, whatever) dated the 15th or earlier?

The reason I ask is that I am trying, and have been trying for 6-7 months now, to give one of my kids $2000 for a 2001 IRA contribution. All my other kids have accepted my largesse, but this one is just "too busy" to be bothered. Go figure. If we don't get it done, then we don't get it done, and it's his loss. But on the off chance that I get his signature on an application form sometime in the next few days, what are the rules re meeting the deadline? Again, is getting a check in the mail good enough, as it would be if this were, say, a year-end charitable contribution?

Kids - grrrrr.

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