Yes. Earnings associated with after-tax contributions are pretax amounts in your account. Thus, after-tax contributions can be rolled over to a Roth IRA without also including earnings.
The IRS ruled in 2014 that you can roll after-tax contributions to a 401(k) into a Roth IRA. You must roll over a proportional amount of pre-tax funds along with your after-tax rollover amount. You have 60 days to deposit the rollover funds into the appropriate account.
Put contributions into a Roth
You may be able to put your after-tax contributions into a designated Roth account to ensure tax-free withdrawals during retirement. That is, as long as you wait until age 59½ to withdraw, and you make your first contribution at least five years before then.
If you roll a traditional 401(k) over to a Roth individual retirement account (Roth IRA), you will owe income taxes on the money that year, but you'll owe no taxes on withdrawals after you retire. This type of rollover has a particular benefit for high-income earners who aren't permitted to contribute to a Roth.
If converting your IRA contributions to a Roth IRA might allow you to stay in the lower tax brackets for the current tax year, it may be a viable way to manage your future taxes.
A "backdoor Roth IRA" is a type of conversion that allows people with high incomes to fund a Roth despite IRS income limits. Basically, you put money you've already paid taxes on in a traditional IRA, then convert your contributed funds into a Roth IRA and you're done.
You may not need a Backdoor Roth Conversion if you are able to meet your savings goals with the maximum retirement limit through your workplace retirement account and are not expecting a need for additional savings for your retirement plan.
Fortunately, the definitive answer is “yes.” You can roll your existing 401(k) into a Roth IRA instead of a traditional IRA. Choosing to do so just adds a few additional steps to the process. Whenever you leave your job, you have a decision to make with your 401k plan.
Converting a 401(k) into a Roth IRA gives you greater ownership and direction over your money. A 401(k) is a tax-advantaged retirement account that is managed by an employer, while a Roth IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account that is managed by you.
Mega backdoor Roth: takes it to the next level, as we describe below. It's for people who have a 401(k) plan at work; they can put up to $40,500 of post-tax dollars in 2022 into their 401(k) plan and then roll it into a mega backdoor Roth, which is either a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k).
Pre-tax contributions may help reduce income taxes in your pre-retirement years while after-tax contributions may help reduce your income tax burden during retirement. You may also save for retirement outside of a retirement plan, such as in an investment account.
Fidelity says by age 40, aim to have a multiple of three times your salary saved up. That means if you're earning $75,000, your retirement account balance should be around $225,000 when you turn 40.
After-Tax 401(k) Contributions
"Earnings on your after-tax savings grow tax-deferred and, once you separate from service, you can roll what you contributed on an after-tax basis to your 401(k) into a Roth IRA. The growth on those after-tax dollars would need to be rolled to a traditional IRA."
Reduce adjusted gross income
If you're planning a Roth conversion, you may consider reducing adjusted gross income by contributing more to your pretax 401(k) plan, Lawrence suggested. You may also leverage so-called tax-loss harvesting, offsetting profits with losses, in a taxable account.
Traditional IRA and 401(k) contributions are tax-deductible for the year when you make them, and you pay income tax on withdrawals in retirement. The money you pay in and the money it earns are both taxable. Roth IRA contributions don't offer an up-front tax break, but withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.
One key disadvantage: Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax money, meaning that there's no tax deduction in the year of the contribution. Another drawback is that withdrawals of account earnings must not be made until at least five years have passed since the first contribution.
Converting all or part of a traditional 401(k) to a Roth 401(k) can be a savvy move for some, especially younger people or those on an upward trajectory in their career. If you believe you will be in a higher tax bracket during retirement than you are now, a conversion will likely save you money.
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 five-year rule applies to everyone who contributes to a Roth IRA, whether they're 59 ½ or 105 years old.
The easiest way to borrow from your 401(k) without owing any taxes is to roll over the funds into a new retirement account. You may do this when, for instance, you leave a job and are moving funds from your former employer's 401(k) plan into one sponsored by your new employer.
The backdoor Roth IRA strategy is still currently viable, but that may change at any time in 2022. Under the provisions of the Build Back Better bill, which passed the House of Representatives in 2021, high-income taxpayers would be prevented from making Roth conversions.
Backdoor and mega backdoor Roth
In a backdoor Roth, investors make a non-deductible contribution to a traditional IRA and then quickly convert to a Roth IRA. Once the money is in a Roth IRA, it's tax-free when taken out (if you meet the holding period and age requirements).
Did you know there's a way to get up to $56,000 into your Roth IRA every year even though the contribution limit is $6,000 per year? Dubbed the “Mega Backdoor Roth,” this strategy allows taxpayers to increase their annual contributions into their Roth IRAs by as much as $56,000 (for 2019).
On April 5, you could convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. However, the conversion can't be reported on your 2021 taxes. Because IRA conversions are only reported during the calendar year, you should report it in 2022.
You can convert money to a Roth no matter how old you are. But if the conversion boosts your income, it could have taxing consequences.