Beginning in 2015, you can make only one rollover from an IRA to another (or the same) IRA in any 12-month period, regardless of the number of IRAs you own. You can, however, continue to make as many trustee-to-trustee transfers between IRAs as you want. You can also make as many rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs (“conversions”) as you want.
New IRA Rollover Rules
In general, you don’t have to include in your gross income any amount distributed to you from a traditional IRA if you deposit the amount into another (or the same) traditional IRA within 60 days. Under tax law, only one IRA-to-IRA rollover can be made in any 12-month period. This limitation was interpreted as applying on an IRA-by-IRA basis, meaning a rollover from one IRA to another would not affect a rollover involving other IRAs of the same individual.
Trustee-to-Trustee IRA Rollover
The change in the application of the one-per-year limit starting in 2015 reflects an interpretation by the U.S. Tax Court in a January 2014 decision applying the limit to preclude an individual from making more than one tax-free rollover in any one-year period, even if the rollovers involve different IRAs.
The IRS made clear that the new interpretation will apply beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and said that a distribution from an IRA received during 2014 and properly rolled over (normally within 60 days) to another IRA, will have no impact on any distributions and rollovers during 2015 involving any other IRAs owned by the same individual. This will give IRA owners a fresh start in 2015 when applying the one-per-year rollover limit to multiple IRAs.
Eligible IRA Distributions
Although an eligible IRA distribution received on or after Jan. 1, 2015 and properly rolled over to another IRA will still get tax-free treatment, subsequent distributions from any of the individual’s IRAs (including traditional and Roth IRAs) received within one year after that distribution will not get tax-free rollover treatment. As this guidance makes clear, a rollover between an individual’s Roth IRAs will preclude a separate tax-free rollover within the 1-year period between the individual’s traditional IRAs, and vice versa.
As before, Roth conversions (rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs), rollovers between qualified plans and IRAs, and trustee-to-trustee transfers–direct transfers of assets from one IRA trustee to another–are not subject to the one-per-year limit and are disregarded in applying the limit to other rollovers.
What is Trustee to Trustee IRA Distribution
IRA trustees are encouraged to offer IRA owners requesting a distribution for rollover the option of a trustee-to-trustee transfer from one IRA to another IRA. IRA trustees can accomplish a trustee-to-trustee transfer by transferring amounts directly from one IRA to another or by providing the IRA owner with a check made payable to the receiving IRA trustee.