Ask The Expert: Eligibility

Asked by Emily 11/28/15

If I start a Roth IRA but then I start making more money than the income limit, can I transfer my money to a traditional IRA?

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Answered by John Baumer 12/1/15
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Yes, you can reverse a contribution to a Roth IRA.  The IRS calls this a “Roth IRA recharacterization.” It can be used for a few reasons, but is common for investors who have exceeded the Roth IRA income limits.  There is a deadline, however, and must be completed before your tax filing extension deadline of October 15th.  To recharacterize, your IRA custodian will generally ask you to establish a Traditional IRA and move funds from your Roth.  Rules on recharacterization can be very complex so make sure to talk with your tax advisor and read IRS Publication 590 for rules on this process.