Below you will find a blog entry from Bert Whitehead, a mentor of mine, with the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors. This is important information to read and to do something about sooner then later. I use this information with permission from the author.
Starting in 2010, the Tax Code opens up vast opportunities to increase Roth IRA participation for many taxpayers. As I will explain, you will need to consider at least 11 issues or possible strategies to make the most of this and determine the final formula that will reduce your long-term income tax bill and address other financial goals. But I caution you from the outset…Roth conversions are a hot topic with brokers and investment advisors who want to use this as an asset gathering gimmick or earn commissions from transactions. It is a complicated opportunity, and demonstrates how a comprehensive Financial Advisor who handles your taxes, investments, and estate planning is able to add value.
Here’s a review of some Roth IRA basics.
You probably know that if you work and your overall income is low enough, you can contribute to a Roth IRA as one of your annual IRA contribution choices. Your contribution is taxable (that is, you cannot deduct it on your tax return) when it is made. Age 70 ½ distributions are not required and, if taken, withdrawals in later years are totally free from income tax. Depending on your circumstances, this can be a huge advantage. A Roth IRA contribution of $5,000 can grow to $80,000 if invested at 7% over your working career, and you would save taxes on $75,000!
The only way to fund a Roth IRA other than an annual contribution based on earned income is to “convert” an existing IRA (or similar pre-tax retirement account) to a Roth IRA and pay tax on the current IRA distribution now rather than at age 70 ½. . In the past, your total adjusted gross income (AGI) had to be under $100,000 to avail yourself of this option. This is the big change this year.
Starting in 2010, you can convert any of your IRA’s to a Roth IRA no matter how high your income. While you do have to pay the income taxes now, remember that future withdrawals from your Roth IRA are tax-free! The reason why 2010 is a big year is two-fold; 1) there is special relief when paying the income taxes that result from any 2010 Roth conversion and 2) we are all facing the threat of rising income tax rates.
Here are some points to ponder and strategies to consider. Again, these can be complicated so you should expect to discuss whether these apply to you during the year when you do tax planning with your ACA advisor (i.e. a member of the Alliance of Cambridge Advisors).