As a contributor to a Roth IRA, you’re likely looking forward to a retirement chock full of tax-free income from your account. However, paying income taxes now and eliminating them later doesn’t mean you won’t submit and receive tax forms throughout the years. Like any other tax-advantaged account, Roth IRA account holders receive tax forms that include information you must file with the IRS. You can also work with a financial advisor who can take care of tax planning for all of your retirement accounts.
What Is a Roth IRA?
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that holds post-tax dollars. Because you deposit income that the government has already taxed, Roth IRA deposits don’t create tax deductions for the present year. However, you can withdraw money at age 59.5 or older without incurring taxes. In addition, the government does not tax Roth IRA gains.
Roth IRAs offer several more benefits. First, you can deposit money into your Roth IRA at any age. Plus, Roth IRAs have no required minimum distributions (RMDs), meaning you can leave as much money as you’d like in your account during retirement. Because there are no mandatory withdrawals, your account can accumulate more gains throughout your life.
Lastly, inheritors of Roth IRAs don’t have to pay income taxes for the account. In other words, if you leave your Roth IRA to heirs or beneficiaries, they won’t owe taxes for withdrawals.
Roth IRA Taxation Explained
The federal government passed a law instituting Roth IRAs in 1997. Before that time, Americans could only use traditional IRAs with pre-tax dollars. As a result, Roth IRAs introduced different taxation for retirement accounts.
If you have a traditional IRA, you allocate a specific portion of every paycheck toward your account. After deducting this amount, the government taxes the remainder. So, traditional IRA taxation rules mean you can lower your taxable income through your pre-tax contributions. Then, when you retire, you’ll pay income taxes on withdrawals.
A Roth IRA uses after-tax money, unlike a traditional IRA, where you defer income taxes until you withdraw money during retirement. Therefore, although a Roth IRA won’t give you a tax deduction for the current year, income taxes won’t apply years down the road when you receive distributions.
Do You Get Tax Forms for Your Roth IRA?
Over the course of owning a Roth IRA, you’ll receive one to two tax forms annually. Form 5498 is a record of your annual contributions. The company managing your IRA will send a copy to you and the IRS every year. However, form 5498 doesn’t have tax implications; it’s for recordkeeping purposes. As a result, you don’t need to submit form 5498 with your tax return.
You’ll receive Form 1099-R, the second form, during the years you take distributions from your Roth IRA. The IRS requires you to submit Form 1099-R when you file taxes. If you took a distribution before age 59.5 or before owning the Roth IRA for at least five years, you’d pay taxes on the income. Otherwise, you’ll receive Form 1099-R but won’t owe taxes because Roth IRAs use post-tax dollars.
Tax Forms for Your Roth IRA
Depending on your Roth contributions and distributions, you’ll use a couple of tax forms to report monetary transfers. Plus, changing your IRA type has tax implications reflected on specific forms. Here are significant features of IRAs and their related tax forms:
- Contributions: Every year, you’ll receive Form 5498 stating your IRA contributions. You don’t have to file the form with your federal tax return, but the amount stated on the form is significant for your personal records. The form is a helpful way to document how much you contributed to your account for every tax year. Form 5498 contains relevant information for Roth IRAs in Box 10, which shows what you deposited into your Roth IRA for the year.
- Conversions: You can change your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA if you’d rather pay income taxes now than in retirement. In addition, if you are a high-income individual, you can circumvent Roth IRA income restrictions by creating a traditional IRA and converting it into a Roth. You’ll report the money in the account on Form 1099-R and likely use Code G in Box 7 to signify a direct rollover. In addition, you’ll include the balance on your income taxes and pay accordingly. As a result, you then won’t pay taxes on distributions during retirement.
- Recharacterizations: Recharacterizations switch your contribution from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA or vice versa for a given tax year. Generally, you would recharacterize for the same reasons as converting a traditional IRA to a Roth. For example, if you decide you want tax advantages during retirement or realize your income is low enough to qualify for a Roth, you would recharacterize your contributions when filing taxes using Form 8606. If you recharacterize to a Roth, you’ll owe taxes on your contributions for that year.
- Distributions: If you receive distributions from your Roth IRA, you can report them using Form 8606 when you file taxes. However, the IRS doesn’t require this filing unless the distributions are unqualified. Specifically, distributions before age 59.5 or before owning the IRA for five years are unqualified, meaning the government will apply income taxes plus a 10% penalty. Therefore, it’s a good idea to report Roth IRA income using form 8606 even if you think the distributions aren’t taxable.
The B0ttom Line
Roth IRAs offer a distinct tax advantage over traditional IRAs by letting you pay taxes upfront. Because of this feature, tax Forms 5498 and 1099-R frequently don’t cause tax implications. However, early distributions will impute a tax penalty. In addition, converting your IRA and recharacterizing contributions to the Roth type will incur income taxes. Forms 1099-R and 8606 will help you report these changes properly and comply with tax regulations.
Tips on Roth IRA Tax Forms
- Filing taxes can be confusing, especially when you have multiple forms from Social Security, pensions, IRAs and more. A financial advisor can help organize your finances and help you file taxes correctly. If you don’t have a financial advisor, finding one doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Roth IRAs allow you to withdraw money during retirement tax-free. However, this feature is not the only one to consider when deciding which IRA to create. Your desired income in retirement is also crucial, so use this guide to understand the average Roth IRA return.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Eva-Katalin, ©iStock.com/Goodboy Picture Company, ©iStock.com/ljubaphoto