On August 24, the Internal Revenue Service provided a self-certification procedure designed to help recipients of retirement plan distributions who inadvertently miss the 60-day time limit for properly rolling these amounts into another retirement plan or individual retirement arrangement (IRA).
In Revenue Procedure 2016-47, posted today on IRS.gov, the IRS explained how eligible taxpayers, encountering a variety of mitigating circumstances, can qualify for a waiver of the 60-day time limit and avoid possible early distribution taxes. In addition, the revenue procedure includes a sample self-certification letter that a taxpayer can use to notify the administrator or trustee of the retirement plan or IRA receiving the rollover that they qualify for the waiver.
Normally, an eligible distribution from an IRA or workplace retirement plan can only qualify for tax-free rollover treatment if it is contributed to another IRA or workplace plan by the 60th day after it was received. In most cases, taxpayers who fail to meet the time limit could only obtain a waiver by requesting a private letter ruling from the IRS (under Revenue Procedure 2003-16).
A taxpayer who missed the time limit will now ordinarily qualify for a waiver if one or more of 11 circumstances, listed in the revenue procedure, apply to them:
- An error was committed by the financial institution receiving the contribution or making the distribution to which the contribution relates;
- The distribution was made in the form of a check, but, that check was misplaced and never cashed;
- The distribution was deposited into an account that the taxpayer mistakenly thought was an eligible retirement plan and the funds remained in that account;
- The taxpayer’s principal residence was severely damaged;
- A member of the taxpayer’s family died;
- The taxpayer or a member of the taxpayer’s family was seriously ill;
- The taxpayer was incarcerated;
- Restrictions were imposed by a foreign country;
- A postal error occurred;
- The distribution was made on account of a levy under Internal Revenue Code Section 6331, and the proceeds of the levy have been returned to the taxpayer; or
- The party making the distribution to which the rollover relates delayed providing information that the receiving plan or IRA required to complete the rollover despite the taxpayer’s reasonable efforts to obtain the information.
Note that relief is not available if the IRS has previously denied a rollover request.
Ordinarily, the IRS and plan administrators and trustees will honor a taxpayer’s truthful self-certification that they qualify for a waiver under these circumstances. Moreover, even if a taxpayer does not self-certify, the IRS now has the authority to grant a waiver during a subsequent examination. Other requirements, along with a copy of a sample self-certification letter, can be found in the revenue procedure.