Change can be good. Is your IRA ready for a change? Maybe you are looking for a new type of investment or maybe a new IRA custodian. To change it up with your IRA, you may need to move your IRA funds. Here are 10 things everyone should know before they move their IRA.

  1. The best way to move your money from one IRA to another is to do a trustee-to-trustee transfer. Your funds will not be distributed to you, instead they will move directly from your old IRA to the new IRA of your choice. Usually this can be done by requesting a transfer. Your current custodian will then send your IRA funds to your new IRA custodian.
  2. A check made payable to a new IRA custodian for the benefit of your IRA but sent to you counts as transfer. Because the check is not made payable to you, you never have receipt of the funds. That is why it is still considered a direct transfer.
  3. Transfers are NOT reportable to the IRS by you or by the IRA custodian.
  4. Transfers are NOT limited in frequency. You can transfer your IRA money as often as you like.
  5. You can also move your IRA funds by doing a 60-day rollover. With a rollover the funds are distributed to you. You must then deposit them back into an IRA within 60 days from the day you receive the distribution.
  6. Rollovers are reportable. The IRA custodian will report the distribution on Form 1099-R and the deposit on Form 5498 as a rollover. You will also need to report the rollover on your tax return.
  7. You may only roll over one IRA distribution to another IRA in a 365-day period. For purposes of this rule all your IRAs, traditional, Roth, SEP and SIMPLE are aggregated.
  8. If you take a distribution and you fail to complete a rollover within 60-days, the distribution will be taxable to you. It will also be subject to a 10% early distribution penalty if you are under age 59 ½.
  9. While the tax law allows you access to your IRA funds at any time, your ability to move your IRA funds may be affected by your investment choices. You may face penalties or fees from your IRA custodian if you want to move your IRA.
  10. Whenever you move your IRA funds, you will want to proceed carefully and check to be sure the transaction was done properly. Contact a knowledgeable tax or financial advisor if you have any questions.