I overcontributed to my Roth, then lost half of this money to the market. Does the 6% penalty apply to my original contribution, or only what's left of it?

By Denise Appleby AAA
A:

It depends. If the excess contribution is removed from your Roth IRA by your tax-filing deadline plus any extensions, along with any net attributable income (NIA), the 6% excise tax does not apply. If the excess contribution is not removed by the deadline, you owe the IRS a 6% excise tax for every year the amount remains in your Roth IRA as an excess contribution. An exception applies if the market value of your Roth IRA for the previous year-end is less than the excess contribution. Under this exception, the 6% excise tax would apply to the market value of your Roth IRA for the previous year-end, instead of to the contribution amount.

Note: Bear in mind that excess contributions that remain in your Roth IRA gets applied as a Roth IRA contribution for the following year, and continues until the excess is used up.

When you overcontribute to your Roth, the 6% penalty applies on the amount contributed, regardless of its current value. For example, if an excess contribution of $5,000 was made and the market value declined to $2,500 by the end of the year, the 6% penalty would still apply to the $5,000. The loss of market value does not change the rules. That may seem unfair, but look at it another way: if the original amount had grown to $10,000, the penalty would still only apply to the $5,000.

To learn more, read Correcting Ineligible IRA Contributions - Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

This question was answered by Denise Appleby.

RELATED FAQS

  1. What is the difference between a Traditional and a Roth IRA?

    The main difference between a Traditional and a Roth IRA is the way contributions are deducted for tax breaks. Whereas contributions ...
  2. I am in my mid thirties and have nothing invested for retirement. Is it too late ...

    It is never too late to start saving for retirement. Even starting at age 35 means you will have more than 30 years to save.The ...
  3. Should I collect early Social Security?

    The earliest age that you can start receiving social security benefits is age 62. Full retirement was age 65 for many years; ...
  4. I work for two companies. How much can I contribute to each company's SIMPLE IRA?

    It depends.If you work for two companies that are unrelated and unaffiliated, you can make salary deferral contributions ...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Gold IRA

    Definition of Gold IRA
  2. Eligible Transfer

    An IRS-allowed movement of assets into or out of an individual ...
  3. Death Master File (DMF)

    Also known as Social Security Death Index. A list of people whose ...
  4. Leveraged Benefits

    The use – by a business owner or professional practitioner – ...
  5. Peri-Retirement

    A term for the period of time leading up to actual retirement. ...
  6. MyRA

    A new tax-advantaged retirement account that President Barack ...
comments powered by Disqus
Related Articles
  1. An Overview Of The Pension Benefit Guaranty ...
    Retirement

    An Overview Of The Pension Benefit Guaranty ...

  2. Business Owners: Rules For Qualified ...
    Entrepreneurship

    Business Owners: Rules For Qualified ...

  3. Keeping Track Of Retirement Plan Assets
    Retirement

    Keeping Track Of Retirement Plan Assets

  4. Tips On How To Use IRAs To Boost Retirement ...
    Retirement

    Tips On How To Use IRAs To Boost Retirement ...

  5. Tax-Saving Advice For IRA Holders
    Taxes

    Tax-Saving Advice For IRA Holders

Trading Center