Changing Your Mind About Your Roth Conversion

It's not too late to switch back to a traditional IRA and avoid the tax bill.

I converted my traditional IRA to a Roth last year, but I have since changed my mind about the conversion. Is it too late to switch it back to a traditional IRA and avoid the tax bill?

It’s not too late to undo a 2010 Roth IRA conversion. You have until October 17, 2011, to change the account back to a traditional IRA (technically called recharacterization) and get back money you’ve paid in taxes on the conversion or avoid paying the tax bill. Among the reasons to undo the conversion: The value of your investments decreased after you converted the account to a Roth and you don’t want to pay tax on the higher account balance, or you don’t have the money to pay the taxes you owe.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.