Author Topic: After-Tax Contributions in 401k Conversion Questions  (Read 305 times)

fiwithme

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After-Tax Contributions in 401k Conversion Questions
« on: November 28, 2017, 10:42:15 AM »
I have been researching the 'Mega backdoor Roth', and similar strategies and have a few questions I have been unable to wrap my head around..

Situation:
  • Current employeer offers 401k/R401k/AT contributions.
  • Currently max 401k, and contribute to the AT portion.
They allow:
  • In plan conversion of AT+earnings into a separate tracked Roth IPC bucket.  -OR-
  • Rollover of these funds into a rIRA.

I have already done a few conversions into the Roth IPC bucket inside the 401k, but upon further research I have both confused myself and questioned whether or not that is the ideal situation.

Questions:

  • I am fairly certain the AT-contributions which are rolled into a RIRA can be pulled out before 59 1/2 as long as they meet the 5 year holding period. Correct?
  • How does this work for the funds in my Roth 401k and Roth IPC buckets? From my understanding, I cannot access any of this in the 401k, but if I leave employment and turn it into a rIRA, I can access the contribution into the 401k after 5 years, what about the Roth IPC conversion? Can this be pulled out penalty free as well?
  • If I can pull out the above, I would essentially need to keep my 401k intact until I finish the Roth IRA ladder from t401k->rIRA, then move the R401k into a rIRA to start the 5 year timing before I could access these funds, if I understand correctly.

I have done some preliminary planning, and I will need the majority of contributions and conversion in my R401k/AT contributions/conversions + taxable accounts + t401k to survive until I can get to the meat of my rIRA accounts at 59 1/2 penalty free. I have recently started these conversions/contributions, so if I need to shift slightly toward taxable accounts now is the ideal time to do so.

Thanks
Keep calm and FI on

Aggie1999

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Re: After-Tax Contributions in 401k Conversion Questions
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 02:25:22 PM »
Your after tax contributions in the 401k that are transferred to the rIRA can be withdrawn at any time tax free, penalty free. You already paid taxes on those funds.  The 5 year roll over rule is if the funds came from a tIRA that you deducted on taxes. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

No clue on the Roth IPC as I don't know what that is.

seattlecyclone

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Re: After-Tax Contributions in 401k Conversion Questions
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 02:28:06 PM »
  • I am fairly certain the AT-contributions which are rolled into a RIRA can be pulled out before 59 1/2 as long as they meet the 5 year holding period. Correct?

Yes, these count as "conversions" in the Roth IRA and can be withdrawn completely tax free after five years. Note that the 10% early withdrawal tax on early withdrawals of conversions within five years only applies to the amount you paid tax on at the time of the conversion. If, as an example, you contributed $1,000 to your after-tax 401(k) and it grew to $1,050 by the time you got around to moving it to the IRA, only this $50 of growth is taxable at the time of conversion. Therefore you could withdraw the entire $1,050 the week after you put it in your Roth IRA and you would only owe 10% * $50 = $5 in taxes.

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  • How does this work for the funds in my Roth 401k and Roth IPC buckets? From my understanding, I cannot access any of this in the 401k, but if I leave employment and turn it into a rIRA, I can access the contribution into the 401k after 5 years, what about the Roth IPC conversion? Can this be pulled out penalty free as well?

Withdrawals directly from a Roth 401(k) are treated a bit differently from Roth IRA withdrawals. The Roth IRA withdrawals have a special ordering to allow you to take out the tax-free money first. Roth 401(k) withdrawals are prorated between tax-free principal and taxable earnings, so there's generally no way to take a tax-free early withdrawal directly from your Roth 401(k). A workaround to this is to first roll your Roth 401(k) into your Roth IRA and then withdraw from the IRA.

When you do this rollover, everything that would not have counted as income if you had moved the 401(k) money to your checking account instead of an IRA  counts as "contributions" in the IRA and comes out first. This includes any direct contributions to the Roth 401(k) plus any amount converted from your pre-tax or after-tax traditional buckets. Everything that would count as income (generally any growth that happened within the 401(k)) will count as growth in the Roth IRA.

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  • If I can pull out the above, I would essentially need to keep my 401k intact until I finish the Roth IRA ladder from t401k->rIRA, then move the R401k into a rIRA to start the 5 year timing before I could access these funds, if I understand correctly.
I'm not aware of any reason why you would need to wait five extra years here. You can roll your Roth 401(k) into a Roth IRA and take tax-free distributions of the principal the next day if you want.
I made a blog! https://seattlecyclone.com/

The Roth IRA was named after William Roth, who represented Delaware in the US senate from 1971-2001. "Roth" is a name, not an acronym. There's no need to capitalize the final three letters.

fiwithme

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Re: After-Tax Contributions in 401k Conversion Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2017, 11:38:50 AM »
Thanks for the replies and clarificarion. Sometimes I just need a sanity check.

Biggest confusion was after-tax contributions then being converted(distributed/whatever) not being tracked as a contribution. Since I can keep the contribution basis of the AT contributions, it is just a matter of planning and determining where to convert these funds to. Next months my 401k options potentially change with some plan changes so I will reevaluate at that point in time. However, now I at least understand the conversion/contribution verbiage in regards to this particular process.

Keep calm and FI on