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Mkraft asks:

<<If someone with variable income makes a large Roth conversion early in the calendar year and later decides that too much has been converted and would like to undo some or all of the conversion, how many opportunities does he then have to recharacterize (to trad. IRA) &/or re-convert (back to Roth)?>>

Tax regulations state that an IRA owner who converts an amount from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA during 1999 and then transfers that amount back to a traditional IRA by means of a recharacterization may reconvert that amount once (but no more than once) on or before December 31, 1999.

<<Also, is the answer to that dependent on whether a recharacterization is of the full amount of the conversion or not?

For example, if $25,000 was converted on January 2, 1999 and $10,000 of that was recharacterized on July 1, 1999, can any part (or all) of the remaining $15,000 be recharacterized through December 31, 1999?>>

That's a good question, and quite honestly I don't know the answer. I suspect not because you've already used the recharacterization for the year, but I don't know for sure. Perhaps you can find the answer on the Tax Strategies board.

<<Conversely, can the $10K that was recharacterized in July be re-converted back to Roth? How many times? -- only once within that same period of time? If that $10K is re-converted (to Roth), can any other recharacterized money still be re-converted independently?>>

Yes, you may reconvert once before 12/31/99, so the $10K is eligible for that. The $15K would not be because that represents a second reconversion.

<<IOW, do the rules apply only to the given sum of money converted or recharacterized, or to the IRA's as a whole?>>

IMHO the rules apply to the amount (be that all or part) that's involved in the recharacterization and the reconversion. Do it once with all or part of the original conversion money and you've used up your bites of the apple. In other words, if you recharacterize part of the conversion money, you can't go back and recharacterize the rest. If you reconvert part, you can't reconvert the rest (assuming you recharacterized all of the conversion money the first time around).

For the definitive answer, see what the tax gurus have to say on the Tax Strategies board.

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