Should you undo a Roth to save taxes?

Posted on Oct 18, 2011

Yes, 2010 was the year of the Roth, and you may have converted your traditional IRA to take advantage of the one-time option to postpone recognizing the income. As you know, half of the related tax bill will be due with your 2011 tax return.

 End of story? Not exactly. You can still take advantage of a planning window that may save you money. Under the rules, you have until October 17, 2011, to change your mind about the original conversion.

 The tax term for the “do-over” election is recharacterization. It works like this: Say the value of the assets you converted to a Roth during 2010 has declined. That means if you had waited until now to convert, you would have ended up paying less tax. Reversing your 2010 decision puts you back in the position you were in before the Roth conversion and wipes out your original tax liability.

 Even better, you can still do another traditional-to-Roth IRA conversion after recharacterizing. While the option of splitting the income over future years is no longer available, you can achieve the same effect by reconverting over a multi-year period. Just be aware that time restrictions may apply on this strategy. For details or assistance, give us a call.

Share