IRA


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Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

A retirement account that may be established by an employed person. IRA contributions are tax deductible according to certain guidelines, and the gains in the account are tax-deferred.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA) rollover

A provision of the law governing IRA's that enables a retiree or anyone receiving a lump-sum payment from a pension, profit-sharing, or salary reduction plan to transfer the amount into an IRA.

Individual Retirement Account

An account into which a worker makes contributions up to a certain limit throughout his/her working life, and from which he/she begins to take distributions following retirement. There are two types of IRA. A traditional IRA allows for tax deductible contributions and taxable distributions, while a Roth IRA has non-deductible contributions and tax-free distributions. The limit to annual contributions to an IRA varies each year and is indexed to inflation. IRAs are invested in securities and usually own common stock and certificates of deposit. See also: 401(k).

IRA

A custodial account or trust in which individuals may set aside earned income in a tax-deferred retirement plan. For individuals who earn under a specified amount or who are not in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, contributions to an IRA (subject to an annual maximum) are deferred along with any income the contributions earn. Withdrawals at retirement are fully taxable. For individuals in an employer-sponsored plan and having an adjusted gross income above a specified amount, all or part of the contribution may be taxable although any income earned in the IRA is tax deferred. The rules governing IRAs were significantly altered in the 1986 tax reform. IRA investment opportunities include certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and securities purchased through brokerage accounts. Also called individual retirement account. See also Coverdell Education Savings Account, Keogh plan, Roth IRA, self-directed IRA, simplified employee pension plan.
Is it a good idea to name my estate as the beneficiary of my IRA?

Generally speaking, this is not advisable. If you name your estate as the beneficiary of your IRA, then the assets held inside your IRA must be distributed according to your last will and testament and the proceeds of your IRA will go through probate. Most IRA owners like to keep assets inside their IRA for the longest time period allowed by law, thereby maximizing the dollars that can be accumulated on a tax-deferred basis while also delaying the payment of income taxes for as long as possible. IRAs are subject to annual required minimum distribution requirements once the IRA owner reaches age 70 1/2 . These requirements are based upon either the individual life expectancy of the IRA owner or the joint life expectancy of the IRA owner and his beneficiary. Because your estate has no life expectancy, there is no way to stretch out the period during which your IRA assets can remain inside your IRA and grow tax-deferred even if this is what your IRA beneficiaries want. Thus, if you die prior to age 70 1/2 , naming your estate as your beneficiary, the assets held in your IRA will have to be liquidated and proceeds disbursed over a five-year period to the beneficiaries you named in your will. If your IRA was a traditional IRA, your beneficiaries will have to include every IRA disbursement in their taxable income for the year during which the disbursement was received. If your IRA was a Roth IRA, your beneficiaries won't owe any income tax on your IRA disbursements, but they will still be forced to withdraw your IRA assets by the end of the five-year period, whereas they could have kept your IRA assets inside of your IRA for many more years if you had named specific beneficiaries for your IRA. If you die after age 70 1/2 , naming your estate as your beneficiary, your IRA beneficiaries will have to take annual minimum distributions from your IRA that are based on what the federal government's actuaries have determined would have been your remaining life expectancy if you were still alive, reduced by one for each year thereafter. From a financial planning viewpoint, the biggest disadvantage of naming your estate as the beneficiary of your IRA is the basic inability to stretch out the distributions from your IRA to maximize the buildup of value and delay the payment of income taxes, as described above.

Stephanie G. Bigwood, CFP, ChFC, CSA, Assistant Vice President, Lombard Securities, Incorporated, Baltimore, MD

Individual retirement account (IRA).

Individual retirement accounts are one of two types of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) that provide tax advantages as you save for retirement. The other is an individual retirement annuity.

Both have the same annual contribution limits, catch-up provisions if you're 50 or older, and withdrawal requirements. In addition, both are available in three varieties: traditional deductible, traditional nondeductible, and Roth.

The primary difference between the two is in the investments you make with your contributions.

You open an individual retirement account with a financial services firm, such as a bank, brokerage firm, or investment company, as custodian. The accounts are self-directed, which means you can choose among the investments available through your custodian.

In common practice, however, perhaps because more people have individual retirement accounts, the acronym IRA tends to be used to refer to an account rather than annuity or arrangement.

individual retirement account (IRA)

A retirement savings program entitling the individual to deduct contributions from gross income for purposes of calculating income taxes.The contributions are said to be from before-tax dollars.

Generally speaking, first-time home buyers can withdraw up to $10,000 from their IRA or Roth-IRA accounts,penalty free,in order to pay qualified home purchase expenses such as a down payment. Spouses can withdraw up to $20,000.There's a lifetime limit,though.Once you use up your distribution “free passes,”you can't put the money back in your account and then use it again in the future. (For more information, see Tax Topic 428,“Roth IRA Distributions,” and Publication 590,“Individual Retirement Accounts,”available at the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov.)

Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)

An individual retirement arrangement is a trust set up to receive retirement contributions of individuals. The arrangement may be in the form of an individual retirement account or individual retirement annuity. The amount that may be contributed is limited. Amounts earned in the IRA are not taxed until they are withdrawn.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bill and Ted helped hasten the cease-fire's end by mishandling the weapons issue, misunderstanding the British and the Ulster Unionists, and promising more to the IRA than they could deliver.
Investors who reveled in this year's bull market have a few more things to cheer about: A cut in the capital gains tax rate, changes in laws on individual retirement accounts to allow more people to claim a tax deduction, and the Roth IRA.
You do not need your existing IRA funds for support during retirement: You will have a longer time to recover the taxes paid at the time of conversion if you don't take distributions out of your Roth IRA.
If the IRA holder dies before his RBD and names a beneficiary, he may provide that the assets of the IRA will be distributed over the single life expectancy of the beneficiary.
Increasing the time period of withdrawals only increases the relative advantage of converting to a Roth IRA.
My client and her sister each inherited 50 percent of three retirement accounts: a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA and a company-sponsored 401(k).
Individuals who invest in a 529 plan that produces state income tax savings always enjoy a better after-tax return than they would receive on the same investment for the same length of time in a Roth IRA, and generally enjoy a better after-tax return than in a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan.
Jameson Van Houten and Stonegate Financial Group do point out that taking this approach to enrolling in a Roth IRA is not a possibility for everyone.
If you think a self-directed IRA might be a good option for you, first consult with your CPA and then seek the advice of a financial institution that has trust powers to hold self-directed IRAs.
For single taxpayers, the amount that may be contributed to a Roth IRA is phased out once their modified adjusted gross income is $105,000, and no contributions to a Roth IRA are allowed once their modified adjusted gross income is $120,000.
The self-directed IRA is ideal for individuals who are not comfortable with the ups and downs of the stock market and want more control in directing their IRA dollars.
Generally, if the taxpayer receives distributions directly from the inherited IRA, the distributions are taxed, but the 10% penalty tax on premature withdrawals does not apply, even if the beneficiary is under the age of 59 1/2.