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Portfolio > Economy & Markets > Fixed Income

Advisors: Many Skeptical about Roth Conversions

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Many investment advisors and clients believe the government will pull the rug out from under taxpayers who convert traditional retirement accounts into Roth accounts.

Advisors Trusted Advisor, Medfield, Mass., a financial advisor support firm, has published that finding in a summary of results from a survey of 242 investment advisors conducted in April and May.

Contributions to traditional individual retirement accounts are free from federal income taxes, but holders must pay federal income taxes on the IRA distributions.

Workers must pay taxes on the earnings contributed to Roth accounts, but the government says Roth accounts can make distributions free from federal income taxes.

Congress recently encouraged traditional IRA holders to convert to Roth IRAs and pay income taxes on the assets converted now, rather than waiting to pay income taxes on the distributions later, by eliminating a rule that once kept taxpayers earning more than $100,000 per year from converting their IRAs.

The typical advisor client earns more than $100,000 per year, but few of those high-income clients are showing much interest in Roth conversions, advisors told Advisors Trusted Advisor.

One reason given is that many clients dislike the idea of paying conversion taxes. Another reason is that many clients and advisors fear that the government will somehow change Roth account rules in a way that will turn “converters” into losers.


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