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taxes

Don’t Forget the Tax Bill on a Roth Conversion

If you delayed paying taxes on a 2010 conversion, you need to pay the remaining bill with your 2012 return.

I converted my traditional IRA to a Roth in 2010 and paid the first half of the tax bill last year. What do I need to do when I file my taxes this time?

When you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth, you took advantage of a special option available only in 2010: You could skip paying taxes on the converted amount on your 2010 tax return and instead split the tax bill between your 2011 and 2012 returns.

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If you reported half of the conversion when you filed your 2011 taxes, you’ll have to report the second half when you file your 2012 taxes this year.

You can find the amount of the conversion on which you still owe taxes (half the original conversion amount) on line 20b of your 2010 Form 8606, on which you originally notified the IRS that you would be putting off the tax bill. Report the amount on line 15b of Form 1040.

For more information, see the Instructions for Form 1040 and IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements, especially if you have taken IRA distributions since then.

You can still convert money from a traditional IRA to a Roth, regardless of your income. But you’ll need to pay the taxes when you file your return for the year of the conversion. (If you converted a traditional IRA to a Roth in 2012, for example, you’ll need to report the full conversion when you file your 2012 taxes this year.) See our Roth IRA Special Report for more information about Roth conversions and help deciding whether it’s a good move for you.

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