Friday, September 17, 2010

Senate Passes Roth 401(k) Rollover Provision!

Today, the Senate passed a small-business jobs bill, H.R. 5297, which among other things would allow employers to amend their 401(k) plans immediately to allow participants to roll over pre-tax account balances into Roth 401(k) plan accounts.

The House has not yet acted on the proposal, and it remains to be seen if this will make into law. However, this step by the Senate is a very encouraging sign that this feature will at some point make it into law whether attached to this bill or some other.

According to the bill, it would also allow for some spreading of immediate tax over several years. For example, if a participant were to convert their pre-tax deferrals to a Roth 401(k) this year, taxation could be elected to be paid in 2011 and 2012.

We see this as a big step in increasing tax flexibility to be in line with what is currently available in IRAs. Additionally, another very real benefit is that in 401(k)s, often times the institutional pricing structure of the underlying investments makes this a better deal than for those in IRAs where mutual funds and the like are generally retail priced and thus more expensive. If passed, this could be a strong incentive for investors to finance their retirement from their 401(k) Plans rather than rolling to IRAs and financing that way. Every bit helps especially with the coming wave of retiring baby boomes.

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