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Rolling over an IRA can lead to higher returns and other perks; but avoid these common mistakes.

First, you have 60 days after receiving funds from your IRA to roll over to another IRA. If you don’t complete the rollover, or you don’t receive an extension, the IRS will treat the rollover as ordinary income, which hikes your tax bill. And if you weren’t at least 59½ when the distribution occurred, there’s a 10% penalty on the withdrawal.

You cannot roll over another IRA tax-free within a year of another rollover. But the once-a-year limit does not apply to eligible rollover distributions from an employer plan.

Once you’re 70½, you cannot roll over your annual required minimum distribution because it would be considered an excess contribution.

Rollovers from one IRA to another must consist of the same property. You cannot buy other assets with cash contributions from your IRA, such as a company’s stock, and then roll those assets into a new IRA. The IRS deems this a cash distribution and will tax it as ordinary income.

The transfer method works better than a rollover if you’re simply moving your IRA from one financial institution to another and will not use the funds. Transfers are non-reportable.

Rollovers from the traditional IRA of a deceased spouse, qualified plan, tax-sheltered annuity or government-deferred compensation plan are also allowed.

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