Recent IRS Notice Lifts Ban on Rolling Over Your MRD

In response to the economic crisis that kicked into high gear last year, Congress passed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Act (WRERA) of 2008 with the goal of providing older Americans some much-needed relief and flexibility in managing their personal finances. Part of the Act allowed for the suspension of minimum required distributions (MRDs) from IRAs and defined contribution plans. However, WRERA was enacted so late in the year, many retirees and plan administrators were unable to adjust to the new rules and many continued to take their MRDs during 2009.

If you are one of the people who unnecessarily took MRDs all year, you’ll be happy to note that on September 24th, the IRS issued Notice 2009-82 which gives you a second chance to keep the money in your account.  The normal ban on rolling over MRDs is being temporarily lifted and you now have the option to roll the money back into the IRA or defined contribution plan by November 30th for mandatory payments taken before October 1st.  If you took an MRD after September 30th, the deadline for putting the money back into your plan is 60 days after the distribution was made.

Some IRA owners are bound to be disappointed with part of Notice 2009-82.  The IRS did not change the part of the tax code which mandates a one-rollover-per-year rule for IRAs.  If you are an IRA owner who took your MRD in one lump sum – no problem.  You can roll the entire amount back into your plan.  Unfortunately, if you’re an IRA owner who took monthly MRDs, you are limited to rolling back only one of the withdrawals.

If your MRD was not taken from an IRA, but from some other defined contribution plan like a 401(k), this one-rollover-per-year does not apply to you.  Even if you took monthly distributions, you can still roll the entire amount back into your plan.

IRS Notice 2009-82 provides an excellent opportunity to extend your income tax deferral from your retirement account.  Just don’t miss the deadline – November 30th for payments taken before October 1st and 60 days after the distribution for payments made after September 30th.

For a complete look at Notice 2009-82, click on

Deadline is Nearing for the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

Even though the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit deadline is November 30th, the real deadline is upon us. That’s because the November 30th deadline refers to the closing date. Since most home purchases take between 45 to 60 days between contract signing and the closing date, you need to start house hunting in earnest in order to take advantage of this tax credit.

Qualifying taxpayers who buy a home by November 30th can get up to $8,000, or $4,000 if married filing separately.  Even better news — this credit does not have to be repaid as long as the home remains the main residence for 36 months after the purchase date.

Taxpayers can claim 10 percent of the purchase price up to $8,000, but the credit amount starts to phase out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is more than $75,000 ($150,000 filing jointly).  If you do qualify for this tax credit, think about how you want to use it.  You can use it towards a nice tax refund – or – use the benefit of the tax credit to make a Roth IRA conversion if eligible.

Technically, you don’t have to actually be a first-time homebuyer to qualify for this credit.  If you did not own any other main home during the three-year period ending on the date of purchase, you will be considered a first-time homebuyer.

One side note for those who purchased homes between April 8, 2008 and December 31, 2008 – you do not qualify for this tax credit, but you may qualify for a different tax credit which amounts to 10 percent of the purchase price up to $7,500 ($3,750 for married individuals filing separately).  The big difference is that this tax credit must be repaid in 15 equal installments over 15 years beginning with the 2010 tax year.

With the success of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit program – over 1.4 million homebuyers have used this credit so far – there is talk of extending the November 30th deadline.  However, Congress has yet to make a decision on an extension.  In the meantime, good luck house hunting!  If you would like more details on this tax credit and to see if you qualify, visit