Professionals with a high annual income aren’t allowed to open a Roth IRA. However, if you’re set on using a Roth IRA to potentially help make the most of your personal finances, there is a possible solution depending on your situation—the backdoor Roth IRA.
With a backdoor Roth IRA conversion, you may access the benefits associated with a Roth IRA. As with any investment strategy, there are pros and cons. It is important to understand these before making any decisions.
Keep reading to learn how you can implement a backdoor Roth IRA strategy and enjoy tax-free growth and withdrawals from your IRA funds.
What Is a Backdoor Roth IRA?
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that offers tax-free withdrawals and growth on your after-tax dollars. When you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you can withdraw without paying taxes on your earnings after retirement. Currently, you’re only able to open a Roth IRA and make maximum contributions if you satisfy the following requirements:
- Make less than $1,000 as single, head of household, or married and filing separately
- Make less than $204,000 as married and filing jointly
- Make less than $10,000 as married and filing separately (if you lived with your spouse at any time during the year)
A backdoor Roth IRA isn’t an account. It’s a strategy that allows you to direct funds to a Roth IRA even when your annual income would disqualify you from holding an account. Using this process, you avoid the income limits listed above and receive all the benefits from a bona fide Roth IRA.
It’s never too late to protect your wealth. Physician’s Resource Services helps maximize your assets and enhance your tax strategies.
How To Do a Backdoor Roth IRA
To open a backdoor Roth IRA, you need to open a traditional IRA and make nondeductible contributions to the plan. Afterward, you convert your contributions to a Roth IRA. There are no income limits on conversions, so you can have as much of your money converted to a Roth IRA as you like. As long as you follow the annual IRA contribution limits, creating a backdoor Roth IRA is an excellent way for high earners unable to deduct their tax contributions to a traditional IRA to expand their wealth.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the process:
Open a Traditional IRA
It’s best to open a new traditional IRA rather than use an active one. The funds you have in a traditional IRA may affect the taxes on your money. Due to the pro-rata rule, the IRA views all traditional IRAs as a single account when determining the taxes you owe on an account. As a result, you may owe more taxes on the money you intend to use for a backdoor Roth IRA contribution, even if you’ve already paid taxes for that money.
Consult a Tax Professional About Backdoor Roth IRA Contributions
If you need assistance preparing your personal finances for a backdoor Roth IRA conversion, speaking with a professional to guide your tax preparation efforts can reduce your tax liability and position you for long-term success. Ask about the paperwork needed to complete a Roth IRA conversion.
If you have separate IRA providers, see if you can schedule a trustee-to-trustee transfer. If that isn’t possible, request a check and deposit the total amount to a Roth IRA account within 60 days. Waiting any longer may result in an early withdrawal, which may incur various tax penalties.
Convert Your Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA
Convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you accrue investment gains, which increases the tax dollars you pay when you make the conversion. If investment gains don’t bother you, though, there’s no deadline for when you can complete a conversion. As long as you follow the above steps, you’re set.
When Should You Consider a Backdoor Roth IRA?
The benefits of a Roth IRA conversion depend on your financial situation. Conversions are best suited for high earners who don’t qualify for a Roth IRA under normal circumstances but still want the tax-free growth the account offers. If you can afford the taxes for conversion and have the time and resources to set up and implement a successful strategy, then a backdoor Roth IRA is a great way to prepare for retirement.
If you meet the requirements for a standard Roth IRA, there’s no need to navigate the loopholes. Similarly, if you have traditional IRAs that would disrupt your tax situation and create more issues than solutions, it’s better to carefully consider whether the advantages outweigh the consequences and decide from there.
If you’re unsure how to proceed with a backdoor Roth IRA conversion or whether it’s a good fit for your financial situation, consider reaching out to a financial advisor. A qualified professional can significantly impact your short- and long-term financial planning.
Meet With Physician’s Resource Services to Explore Your Options for a Conversion
Physicians are some of the busiest professionals in the world. Between running a practice and caring for patients, it isn’t out of the ordinary for a doctor to struggle to find the time and energy to look after their financial health. Physician’s Resource Services understands you’re stretched thin and offers a hand to help protect your income while you see to other matters.
Our financial planning and tax services clarify your tax situation and give you the tools to improve your financial standing. We assist physicians nationwide, from residents and fellows to active practitioners. We do all we can to make building towards the future a little more manageable.
Ready to pursue a Roth IRA conversion? Reach out today.
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