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Contributions to Roth Employer Plan Accounts: What Can and Can't Be Contributed

We are frequently asked if Roth IRA accounts can be rolled into Roth employer plan accounts such as Roth 401(k)s, Roth 403(b)s or Roth 457(b) accounts. The answer is no. Here's why.

The tax code only allows the following funds to be contributed to Roth employer plan accounts:
  • Salary deferrals from your wages
  • Catch-up contributions if you are age 50 or over during the year
  • Automatic enrollment deferrals
  • Rollovers from other Roth employer plans
  • In-plan conversions from funds held in the regular portion of your account

Other contributions, such as the employer match and forfeitures allocated to your account, must go into the regular portion of your employer plan. Rollovers, transfers, or conversions from IRAs or other employer plan funds are not allowed at all.

On the other hand, you can roll your Roth employer plan funds to your Roth IRA. You should consult with an advisor who has knowledge of the rollover rules and the five-year rules for this type of rollover. They are not the same as the rollover rules for a Roth IRA to Roth IRA rollover. You can find a listing of Ed Slott trained advisors on our website, www.irahelp.com.

- By Beverly DeVeny and Jared Trexler


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Thursday's Slott Report Mailbag

Consumers: Send in Your Questions to [email protected]

Can I transfer money from my IRA to my husband's Roth IRA? I am 35, and he is 36.

Thank you!

Gail Clements

No. The only way your IRA funds can be transferred to your husband’s IRA is in a divorce or after your death. Even then, it would have to be transferred to a similar IRA, for example an IRA to IRA or a Roth IRA to another Roth IRA. In this case, you cannot transfer your IRA into your husband’s Roth IRA.