By Ian Berger, JD
Can you still recharacterize a Roth contribution (due to income limits) to a Traditional IRA and then subsequently convert the IRA back to a Roth in the same year? Will this conflict with the new law that prohibits undoing a Roth conversion?
Thanks you for your help,
You can still do this. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act says that you can’t recharacterize (undo) a conversion of a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. But it still allows you to undo a Roth contribution. There would be no reason why you could not recharacterize your contribution from the Roth IRA to the Traditional IRA and then convert it in the same year. There is no requirement that you wait after recharacterizing the contribution.
My husband and I are 51 and 52. Husband is the primary earner and carries insurance (I work part-time with no benefits). Husband was laid off 11/30/20. We will need to use IRA money to live on very shortly (we depleted our emergency savings during a prior layoff in 2019 and it isn’t yet restored).
Due to the CARES Act, would it be better to withdraw a chunk of IRA money in 2020 so we don’t have a penalty tax on the withdrawal?
We need the money to pay health insurance premiums and some of our mortgage.
And if he does gain employment, because of the CARES Act, will we be able to return any money we don’t use within the next 3 years?
I’m sorry about your situation. The CARES Act would allow you to take up to $100,000 from your IRA, and your husband could also take up to another $100,000 from his IRA. Any withdrawal would be exempt from the 10% early distribution penalty, and you could spread taxable income evenly over your 2020, 2021 and 2022 tax returns. However, the withdrawal must take place by December 30, 2020.
You may want to take the distribution now if you need the funds because these provisions under the CARES Act will not be available in 2021. If your husband finds employment and the funds are not needed, you can always repay them to an eligible retirement account within 3 years.