What Cannot Be Rolled Over Into an IRA?

What cannot be rolled over into an IRA

Rollovers allow you to transfer funds from an employer-sponsored retirement plan or individual retirement account (IRA) into another account without incurring taxes and penalties. Each year, one transfer or conversion can typically be completed without incurring taxes and penalties.

Understand the rules surrounding IRA rolls, such as the 60-day rule and same property rules, so as to not inadvertently violate IRS regulations and incur tax liabilities.


If you withdraw funds from a rollover IRA or employer-sponsored retirement account (401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA, or government 457(b) before age 59 1/2, the IRS will assess taxes on any pre-tax savings held within your IRA and may charge an early distribution penalty of 10% as well.

Rollovers are financial transactions in which funds are moved between tax-deferred retirement accounts within 60 days, often directly between providers – meaning your old plan administrator sends checks directly to the new one for you!

An indirect rollover involves having your old plan send you a check that needs to be forwarded onto your new IRA custodian. However, they will withhold 20% for taxes; should you choose this route then you must cover that 20% deficit with other funds before your rollover can proceed successfully.


Typically, an amount rolled over from a 401(k) or other employer plan to an IRA can only be transferred once every 12 months. If any attempts at rolling over are done incorrectly, any amounts involved could become part of your taxable income and could incur an additional 10% penalty if done prior to turning 59 1/2.

Rollovers may cost Americans billions in extra fees over time, according to research by Pew. That is because IRA investors tend to incur higher annual mutual fund fees compared to workers in workplace retirement plans, according to this nonprofit group.

Investors searching for lower fees can compare online brokers or robo-advisors using NerdWallet’s rankings of 15 factors such as fees and minimums, investment options and customer support. They may also open a self-directed IRA that enables investing in nontraditional assets like real estate or collectibles – though please note that the IRS discourages these types of investments due to rules prohibiting self-dealing.


The once-per-year rollover rule prevents an IRA owner from “kiting” distributions across multiple accounts to bypass paying taxes. If an amount is rolled over more than once, the IRS treats it as withdrawal and applies income tax rules accordingly.

The 60-day rollover rule mandates that an IRA owner deposit any distributions into another IRA within 60 days, failing which they will be treated as withdrawals and subject to income taxes and penalty fees.

This rule does not apply to Roth IRA distributions or conversions from pretax money into Roth IRA funds, nor conversions of pretax money into Roth IRA funds. Instead, inherited IRAs fall under this limitation. To correct late 60-day rollovers an individual must seek relief through an IRS private letter ruling process which can be time consuming and expensive; to avoid that route they might want to consider direct transfers from qualified plan accounts directly into their IRA custodian accounts as another solution.


Rollovers allow retirement plan participants to move assets between types of accounts. The IRS allows one rollover per year per type of IRA account: traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs must all maintain accounts that correspond exactly with those being transferred out.

Indirect rollovers require that plan participants withdraw the money themselves and transfer it directly into another IRA provider within 60 days, usually without tax withholdings being taken out by the IRS. They must ensure they have enough cash on hand in order to cover this withholding amount and complete the full rollover process.

Indirect rollovers can be more complex, exposing participants to additional tax complexities such as being required to add back withheld taxes when filing their tax returns and increasing fees that could reduce returns from investments options. Furthermore, such indirect rollovers are generally prohibited by ERISA fiduciaries who cannot accept compensation in return for recommending them.

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