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2020 RMD: Meet IRS Form 8606

If you have not filed a tax return for 2020, are you still dealing with the complexities that arose when the RMDs were waived for 2020 (minimum allocation required)? RMDs are mandated allocations (withdrawals) from deferred tax accounts, such as IRAs.

Paying taxes for 2020 can be confusing, given that RMDs were suspended for 2020 in March under CARES (coronavirus assistance, assistance and economic security). For those who had taken RMDs before that, it was issued by the IRS IRS Notice 2020-51 in June 2020, allowing RMDs to be reversed by August 31, 2020.


Reader’s question

A reader who took advantage of the RMD benefits asked an important question about how to handle tax reporting. To see also : FINANCE | You’ve got more time to fully fund IRA | Breaking News.

BM wrote:

“Last year (2020) my wife and I received one RMD each before we could cancel due to the CARES Act. Each of us took taxes for the Fed and CT.

“Prior to August 31, 2020, we deposited each of our RMDs into existing Roth IRAs.

“Since I pay taxes (old fashion, paper), can you explain how to fill out Form 8606 for our case?”

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General rules versus specific tips

Keeping in mind that only your tax advisor can give you answers to certain questions you might have about how to file your tax forms, let’s go through some general rules for filing Form 8606. This may interest you : 10 Tips for Dealing With Your Financial Regrets – GOBankingRates. The tricky part is whether the taxpayer has a “basis” in the IRA of post-tax contributions (non-deductible contributions). ”

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Can you convert RMD to Roth?

You may have noticed from BM’s letter that he and his wife transferred their RMD withdrawals from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. See the article : I’m 73, single and work part time, should I put money into an IRA?. How could this be, since RMDs cannot be converted into Roth IRAs?

Here’s the reason: In 2020, RMDs were suspended thanks to the CARES Act. IRS Report 2020-187, issued on August 24, 2020, stated, “Since the RMD risk management rule has been suspended, RMDs recorded in 2020 are considered eligible for the transition.” This opened the door for the transition from the traditional IRA to the Roth IRA, but only for 2020.

Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA

Traditional IRAs defer tax, which means tax is not paid until you withdraw money from the IRA. Until then, investments held in the IRA are not subject to income tax or capital gains tax liabilities. Income tax is due in the event of a withdrawal, whether you comply with the RMD rules or withdraw funds for any other reason. In both cases, the withdrawal is considered a taxable event. In certain cases, such as early withdrawal, a tax penalty may also be paid to the Treasury.

The owner of the Roth IRA has no management risk management obligations. Withdrawals do not trigger income taxes unless withdrawals are made too early after the creation of Roth. More information can be found at IRS Publication 590-B.

The door is closed due to the use of RMDs to convert to Roth IRAs

RMD suspensions are complete with the arrival of 2021. We now return to the old rule that you cannot use RMD to switch to another tax-deferred account or to fund Roth’s “conversion” (moving money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA).

But if you go ahead, nothing prevents you from using additional IRA withdrawals (larger than RMDs) to convert to Roth. For example, under current rules, if you withdraw, say, $ 20,000 from your traditional IRA, and your RMD is $ 15,000 of that amount, $ 5,000 can be converted to Roth.

Generally, you will be taxed at a full $ 20,000. Yes, “in general.” There are exceptions to how much $ 20,000 is taxable as income, which has to do with the IRA’s “base” created by non-taxable contributions. This is where Form 8606 comes into play.

What is Form 8606?

IRS Form 8606 must be filed with the tax return in certain cases involving IRAs: when you make an unrecognized contribution, when you withdraw from a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA to which you have made an unrecognized contribution, when you switch from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA; in, or when you withdraw money from a Roth IRA.

Non-taxable contributions. Form 8606 must be submitted when you complete it without deduction (contributions after tax) to the traditional IRA, hence the name of the form, “Non-income IRA”. (Note: Taxpayers who are covered by a retirement plan at work and have income that exceeds certain levels will not be able to make deductible contributions. See IRA Frequently Asked Questions.)

Payments (“Distributions”). Use Form 8606 when withdrawing money from a traditional IRA, SEP, or SIMPLE IRE that you have earned non-taxable contributions in the past. The form is also required when withdrawing money from the Roth IRA (note that contributions to the Roth cannot be deducted).

Conversions. Form file 8606 when you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. This will include II. Part: “Conversions 2020 from traditional, SEP or SIMPLE IRAs to Roth IRAs”.

Filling in form 8606

If you and your spouse turned into Roths in 2020, as in the case of BM, each of you will need to submit a separate Form 8606.

The sections of the form to be completed will depend on whether the taxpayer has made non-taxable contributions to traditional IRAs in 2020 or in the previous year.

Non-deductible contributions form the basis of the IRA. Form 8606 instructions define the basis as “the total amount of all your non-taxable contributions and the non-taxable amounts included in the rollovers made for these IRAs [traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE IRAs] minus the total amount of all your non-taxable distributions, adjusted if necessary. “The reason for the monitoring basis is related to determining how much withdrawal from the IRA is subject to taxation.

Part I: No non-taxable contributions; There is no basis

Taxpayers who have not made non – taxable contributions may skip Part I of Form 8606.

Part I: Non-deductible contributions? Basis

If you have made contributions that could not be deducted, you will need to complete the first part to calculate your total “base” for 2020 and earlier years. This is the most difficult part of the form to fill out, as it takes time to gather information about the base. However, keep in mind that taxpayers usually fill out this form every year when they make contributions.

Part II: Roth conversion

If there were no unrecognized contributions reported in Part I, the taxpayer will enter the net amount of the conversion from the traditional IRA to the Roth IRA in 2020 on line 16 in Part II of Form 8606.

Part III: Distributions from the Roth IRA

There is a third section of Form 8606 for distribution from Roth IRA.


Be sure to ask your tax advisor questions about your personal situation before you even think of taking any action. The tax advice should be tailored to your specific situation.


If you have general questions about RMDs, email me at forbes@juliejason.com. Include your city and state and mention that you are a reader of forbes.com.