Can the IRS waive the 60-day IRA rollover deadline?
If you take a distribution from
your IRA intending to make a
60-day rollover, but for some
reason the funds don't get to
the new IRA trustee in time,
the tax impact can be significant. In general,
the rollover is invalid, the distribution becomes
a taxable event, and you're treated as having
made a regular, instead of a rollover,
contribution to the new IRA. But all may not be
lost. The 60-day requirement is automatically
waived if all of the following apply:
- A financial institution actually receives the funds within the 60-day
- You followed the financial institution's procedures for depositing funds into
an IRA within the 60-day period.
- The funds are not deposited in an IRA
within the 60-day rollover period solely
because of an error on the part of the
- The funds are deposited within one year from
the beginning of the 60-day rollover period.
- The rollover would have been valid if the
financial institution had deposited the funds
If you don't qualify for this limited automatic waiver, the IRS can waive the 60-day requirement
"where failure to do so would be against equity
or good conscience," such as a
casualty, disaster, or other event beyond your
reasonable control. However, you'll need to request a private letter ruling from the IRS, an expensive proposition — the filing fee alone is currently $10,000.
Thankfully, the IRS has just introduced a third way to seek a waiver of the 60-day requirement: self-certification. Under the new procedure, if you've missed the 60-day rollover deadline, you can simply send a letter to the plan administrator or IRA trustee/custodian certifying that you missed the 60-day deadline due to one of 11 specified reasons. To qualify, you must generally make your rollover contribution to the employer plan or IRA within 30 days after you're no longer prevented from doing so. Also, there is no IRS fee.
The downside of self-certification is that if you're subsequently audited, the IRS can still review whether your contribution met the requirements for a waiver. For this reason, some taxpayers may still prefer the certainty of a private letter ruling from the IRS.