The transfer of funds from a retirement account to an IRA. This usually occurs when an account holder takes a new job or otherwise wishes to take advantage of the tax benefits an IRA offers over a pension plan. Most IRA programs only allow one rollover per year; with a Roth IRA, there is an income limit beyond which a rollover is not allowed. An IRA rollover may be accomplished through a direct transfer or by check; however, a check transfer brings a 20% withholding charge, so account holders are advised to make direct transfers. See also: Automatic Rollover.
Reinvestment of a lump-sum pension payout into an individual retirement account. The rollover permits a pension beneficiary to defer taxation until funds are paid out of the individual retirement account. A pension rollover is an alternative to paying taxes on a lump-sum payout, either in one year or by averaging over a number of years.