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I waited until this year to convert my tradtional IRA to a Roth (I know). What I have done is to foolishly close the mutual fund that held my IRA and move it into a couple more foolish portfilios. These are still traditional IRAs. I received a check from the mutual fund company, deposited it into my checking account, then wrote a check to my on-line broker for the exact amount, all within the 60 days. Now I have a designated "Roth" account open and I want to move about a third of my traditional money a year into the Roth. In this sense, I still get to spread the tax liablity over a few years. There is only $20,000 dollars in the account now, but I still can't afford (read that choose not to afford) conversting it all in one year.
QUESTION: is there any restriction on how often I can move money from one account to the other? I heard that since I "touched" the money on the transfer from the mutual fund to the on-line brokerage account, I cannot move it again (into the Roth account) for at least a year. Anyone understand the myriad rules about moving money? Thanks.

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Greetings, NickelJ, and welcome. You asked:

<<QUESTION: is there any restriction on how often I can move money from one account to the other? I heard that since I "touched" the money on the transfer from the mutual fund to the on-line brokerage account, I cannot move it again (into the Roth account) for at least a year. Anyone understand the myriad rules about moving money?>>

It's true you are restricted on IRA rollovers to once per 12-month period for the same money. BUT -- There's a difference between a rollover (that's where you get the money) and a direct transfer between IRA custodians. In the latter, the money flows directly between one IRA and the other so you never see it or touch it. Direct transfers have no time limits and can be done as often as you can arrange them. All IRA custodians know how to do this, so all you have to do is ask. In your case, you may directly transfer the money from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA without running afoul of the 12-month rule.

Regards..Pixy
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The usual rule is that the one per year limit applies only when you get the check written to you. If one custodian transfers the funds directly to another custodian without sending a check to you, the number of transfers is unlimited (and you avoid the requirement for withholding taxes and the problems that causes).

That is why institution to institution transfers are the best way when they can be arranged.
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