A backdoor Roth IRA is a retirement savings strategy whereby you make a contribution to a traditional IRA, which anyone is allowed to do, and then immediately convert the account to a Roth IRA.
Who Can Benefit from a Backdoor Roth? High earners who don't qualify to contribute under current Roth IRA rules. Those who can afford the taxes for a Roth conversion and want to take advantage of future tax-free growth. Investors who hope to avoid required minimum distributions (RMDs) when they reach age 72.
In 2021, single taxpayers can't save in one if their income exceeds $140,000. ... High-income individuals can skirt the income limits via a “backdoor” contribution. Investors who save in a traditional, pre-tax IRA can convert that money to Roth; they pay tax on the conversion, but shield earnings from future tax.
Backdoor Roth IRAs aren't for everyone
Generally, you should only do a Roth conversion if you 1) have enough cash to cover your conversion taxes out of pocket (since no funds are withdrawn, only converted) and 2) know you will be in a higher tax bracket in retirement when your withdrawals are completely tax-free.
As of January 2022, the Backdoor Roth IRA is still alive. Therefore, any taxpayer making more than $214,000 in income and is married and filing jointly can make an after-tax Traditional IRA contribution and then potentially do a tax-free Roth IRA conversion.
What Now? Of course, Build Back Better didn't pass in 2021. That means that it's perfectly legal to go ahead with backdoor Roth contributions for 2022, too.
Starting in 2022, the bill had proposed to end so-called non-deductible backdoor and mega backdoor Roth conversions. Regardless of income level, you'd no longer be able to convert after-tax contributions made to a 401(k) or a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
However, a backdoor Roth IRA conversion lets high-earners roll funds from a traditional 401(k) or traditional IRA into a Roth IRA.
Younger folks obviously don't have to worry about the five-year rule. But if you open your first Roth IRA at age 63, try to wait until you're 68 or older to withdraw any earnings. You don't have to contribute to the account in each of those five years to pass the five-year test.
If your federal income tax bracket is 32% or higher, doing a Backdoor Roth IRA is a terrible, terrible idea. It is highly unlikely you will be making more money, and thereby being in a higher tax bracket in retirement! It's nice to have tax-free money you can withdraw from in retirement.
If you made the mistake of attempting your first backdoor Roth and missed the December 31st date, don't worry. You can still contribute to the previous year's Traditional IRA. Then you can convert this money in the current calendar year.
Even if you're not working, you can open a Roth IRA account. Although you can't make a direct contribution to a Roth without earned income, you can convert a traditional IRA, 401(k) or similar retirement account into a Roth.
The mega backdoor Roth allows you to put up to $38,500 of after-tax dollars in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) in 2021, and $40,500 in 2022.
The IRS would receive notification of the IRA excess contributions through its receipt of the Form 5498 from the bank or financial institution where the IRA or IRAs were established.
Spousal Roth IRA
If you're married, your spouse can also do the backdoor Roth, even if he or she has no earned income. You must have at least $12,000 of earned income between the two of you (or $13,000 or $14,000 if one or both of you is at least 50 years old), but all of the income can come from one person.
A Rich Man's Roth utilizes a permanent cash value life insurance policy to accumulate tax-free funds over time and allow tax-free withdrawal later. ... The Rich Man's Roth has numerous benefits, including a reduced risk of taxes increasing over time and having to pay more later.
The Roth IRA five-year rule says you cannot withdraw earnings tax-free until it's been at least five years since you first contributed to a Roth IRA account. This rule applies to everyone who contributes to a Roth IRA, whether they're 59 ½ or 105 years old.
There is no age restriction for contributions to Roth IRAs. You can now make contributions to traditional IRAs beyond the previous age limit of 70½ years, thanks to the SECURE Act.
The main advantage of a Backdoor Roth IRA—as with Roths in general—is that you pay taxes upfront on your converted pre-tax funds and everything after that is tax-free.
You can have multiple traditional and Roth IRAs, but your total cash contributions can't exceed the annual maximum, and your investment options may be limited by the IRS.
Although most IRA accounts require the account holder to have evidence of earned income, a working spouse can open a Roth IRA account for a non-working spouse with no earned income.
A spousal IRA remains intact even if the spouse without earned income starts to receive pay for work. In this case, they can still contribute to the IRA, according to regular IRA rules.
When you go to make a distribution from the IRA in retirement, the original contribution comes out tax-free, but you'll pay taxes on the earnings. A backdoor Roth makes that IRA withdrawal shortly after the contribution, so you barely pay any taxes at all on the conversion to a Roth account.