Overpaid my Roth IRA by an astounding $1300. What to do?
February 6, 2013 7:38 PM   Subscribe

Not sure what happened, but I have a Simple Roth IRA through Fidelity that I overpaid accidentally. I'm in my 40s, so as I understand it, can put in up to $5,000 per year. Last year, I overpaid my maximum by something like $300. I didn't worry too much about it. Starting to do my taxes this year, I looked at my Fidelity statement and it looks like this year I overpaid by $1300. What are my options? How does this affect my taxes, if at all?

Tomorrow I'll check in with our office bookkeeper to find out what happened. I have not changed how much I contribute out of my paycheck in several years, so I'm not sure why there was a massive overpayment. My income did not increase that much (important to note since my company matches a tiny amount of my contributions).

I read somewhere that if I decrease my contributions this year to match my total overpayment for the last two years ($1800), then I won't be subjected to a 6% tax on the overpayment for each year those overpayments sit in my account. If I do that, am I good to go?

I'm also not exactly sure when this 6% tax is incurred if I don't do anything. Is it taxed when I finally take out money from the Roth IRA when I retire?
posted by HeyAllie to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If by "this year" you mean 2012, you should be able to withdraw the excess contributions before you file your income tax return and be good.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:40 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

So call Fidelity and ask them to take out the $300 from last year and the $1300 from this year (above I mistakenly said $1800 when I meant $1600) and refund that to me? Do they just mail me a check? Thanks for the advice!
posted by HeyAllie at 7:48 PM on February 6, 2013

For 2012, a simple withdrawal before you file should do it. 2011 might be more complicated; have you already filed a 2011 return? I would check with an accountant or tax professional.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:51 PM on February 6, 2013

Transfer them over to your 2013 account.
posted by notsnot at 9:01 PM on February 6, 2013

Fidelity has an advisor attached to your account. He or she will have the answers to your questions.

Since Roth contributions are not deductible, the implications are not as significant as they are with a standard IRA.
posted by megatherium at 4:40 AM on February 7, 2013

I am a Fidelity customer, and I did the same thing last year. It will be OK. Call Fidelity. They are nice and will not bite. They will have you recharacterize your excess contribution by filling out a form like this, and the IRS will not be mad. And BTW, good job saving for retirement!
posted by Shoggoth at 6:59 AM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

You need to fix both the 2011 and 2012 excess contributions. Letting the previous overcontribution go was not okay, because there is a 6% per year overcontribution penalty that you could be subject to -- if you just let that $300 sit there and never fixed it, it's $18 per year until you retire, which is a waste. You may have to pay one year's penalty already, I'm not sure, but Fidelity will know.

The 2012 contribution would be much worse left uncorrected because it's bigger, but since you're still in the 2012 Roth contribution cycle I think that's a no-harm/no-foul situation; it can be easily shifted to 2013.

This is the correct time of year to be checking on this stuff; definitely something to make an annual habit of.

Incidentally, the 2013 Roth contribution cap has risen to $5500 from $5000 for most investors, so you should keep that in mind when budgeting out your contributions for the next year.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:50 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just called Fidelity and I discovered, clueless me, that I don't have a Roth IRA but a Simple IRA, which allows up to $11,000 per year in contributions. Fidelity is also telling me that i don't need to even put this into any itemized areas while I'm filling out my taxes for this year.

Which means apparently I screwed up my last few years of taxes and will have to amend them.

Why isn't life simple?
posted by HeyAllie at 11:01 AM on February 7, 2013

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