Recently one of the tenets of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 came into effect, providing you with additional opportunities to set aside funds in a Roth account – not a Roth IRA, but rather a “designated Roth account”, often referred to as a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b). Designated Roth accounts are also often referred to as DRACs – just to keep the acronym train rolling.
The way the new law works is that, if you have a 401(k) or 403(b) (the traditional kind), you can roll over or convert some of your funds to a DRAC while the account is still active – as long as your plan is set up to allow in-plan distributions of this variety.
The eligible rollover distribution (ERD) must be made:
- after September 27, 2010;
- from a non-designated Roth account in the same plan, meaning your traditional 401(k) or 403(b);
- because of an event that triggers an ERD from the plan; and
- otherwise meets the rollover requirements.
Eligible Rollover Distribution
To be considered an eligible rollover distribution (ERD), the distribution is all or part of an employee’s balance in a qualified retirement plan (401(k) or 403(b)), that is not any of the following:
- A required minimum distribution (RMD)
- Part of a Series of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments (SOSEPP), also known as a §72(t) plan
- A hardship distribution
- Return of employee’s nondeductible contributions
- Loans treated as distributions
- Dividends on employer securities
- Premiums for life insurance coverage purchased under the plan
If you roll over an ERD into a DRAC, you must include first the non-taxed (deductible) funds – but this is also a distribution that is not subject to the 10% early distribution penalty (much like a Roth IRA conversion). There is no income limit on the conversion.
In addition, just like a Roth IRA conversion, for a DRAC conversion in 2010 you have the option of spreading the tax over 2011 and 2012, with a recharacterization option up to October 15, 2011.
In addition, this new law allows for sponsors of governmental 457 plans to add a DRAC option to their plans in 2011 and later. Then these plans can be amended to allow the in-plan ERD distribution to the DRAC later on.