Question: When does the five-year Roth clock stop ticking, after which time the Roth IRA owner can take distributions income tax-free?
Answer: A qualified distribution from a Roth individual retirement account is excludable from income. A qualified distribution from a Roth IRA is a distribution that is made after the five-taxable-year period.
This period begins with the year in which the first contribution was made to a Roth IRA and that is made after age 59 1/2 or death, attributable to disability, or made for a first-time home purchase ($10,000 lifetime limit).
It may be advisable to make a contribution to a Roth IRA in the first year possible in order to start the running of the five-year period.