In-plan Roth IRA rollovers are a relatively new creation, and as a result many individuals are not aware of the rules. The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 made it possible for participants in 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans to roll over eligible distributions made after September 27, 2010 from such accounts, or other non-Roth accounts, into a designated Roth IRA in the same plan. Beginning in 2011, this option became available to 457(b) governmental plans as well. These "in-plan" rollovers and the rules for making them, which may be tricky, are discussed below.
Designated Roth account
401(k) plans and 403(b) plans that have designated Roth accounts may offer in-plan Roth rollovers for eligible rollover distributions. Beginning in 2011, the option became available to 457(b) governmental plans, allowing the plan to adopt an amendment to include designated Roth accounts to then offer in-plan Roth rollovers.
In order to make an in-plan Roth IRA rollover from a non-Roth account to the plan, the plan must have a designated Roth account option. Thus, if a 401(k) plan does not have a Roth 401(k) contribution program in place at the time the rollover contribution is made, the rollover generally cannot be made (however, a plan can be amended to allow new in-service distributions from the plan's non-Roth accounts conditioned on the participant rolling over the distribution in an in-plan Roth direct rollover). Not only may plan participants make an in-plan rollover, but a participant's surviving spouse, beneficiaries and alternate payees who are current or former spouses are also eligible.
To be eligible for an in-plan rollover, the amount to be rolled over must be eligible for distribution to you under the terms of the plan and must be otherwise eligible for rollover (i.e. an eligible rollover distribution). Generally, any vested amount that is held in 401(k) plans or 403(b) plans (or 457(b) plans) is eligible for an in-plan Roth rollover. Moreover, the distribution must satisfy the general distribution requirements that otherwise apply.
Direct rollover or 60-day rollover
An in-plan Roth rollover may be accomplished two ways: either through a direct rollover (wherein the plan's administrator directly transfers funds from the non-Roth account to the participant's designated Roth account) or through a 60-day rollover. With an in-plan Roth direct rollover, the plan trustee transfers an eligible rollover distribution from a participant's non-Roth account to the participant's designated Roth account in the same plan. With an-plan Roth 60-day rollover, the participant deposits an eligible rollover distribution within 60 days of receiving it from a non-Roth account into a designated Roth account in the same plan.
If you opt for the 60-day rollover option, the amounts rolled over are subject to 20 percent mandatory withholding.
Taxpayers generally include the taxable amount (fair market value minus your basis in the distribution) of an in-plan Roth rollover in gross income for the tax year in which the rollover is received.
If you have questions about making an in-plan Roth IRA rollover, please contact our office: Doeren Mayhew.