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I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

 
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I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

Make sure you do it right.  If you are rolling over $100,000 (for example), you might be subject to mandatory withholding of 20% so you would get a check for $80,000.  But you must deposit the entire amount ($100,000) in the new account, making up the difference from your other funds.  Then you will get the withholding back when you file.  IF you only deposited the $80,000, the other $20,000 is deemed a distribution and will be taxed as income plus a 10% penalty.

If you did a direct transfer from custodian to custodian this would not be a problem.

You will get a 1099-R form showing the distribution. You will enter it in Turbotax and answer some questions to confirm this was a rollover.  No tax will be owed as long as you do it right.

If you have no other income in box 7, you may be blocked from e-filing, so print your tax return and mail it in.

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5 Replies

I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

Yes, you must file in order to document the rollover.  Did you do any other rollovers in 2017?
No other income of any type in 2017?

I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

Thank you !.... i had hoped for automatic matching! Oh well... 🙂

I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

Make sure you do it right.  If you are rolling over $100,000 (for example), you might be subject to mandatory withholding of 20% so you would get a check for $80,000.  But you must deposit the entire amount ($100,000) in the new account, making up the difference from your other funds.  Then you will get the withholding back when you file.  IF you only deposited the $80,000, the other $20,000 is deemed a distribution and will be taxed as income plus a 10% penalty.

If you did a direct transfer from custodian to custodian this would not be a problem.

You will get a 1099-R form showing the distribution. You will enter it in Turbotax and answer some questions to confirm this was a rollover.  No tax will be owed as long as you do it right.

If you have no other income in box 7, you may be blocked from e-filing, so print your tax return and mail it in.

I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

Also also, if you have no other taxable income this year, this would be a very good time to convert some or all of the proceeds to a Roth IRA.  @dmertz knows more about this than I do.

Suppose you are single with no other taxable income.  You have a $10,400 personal exemption + standard deduction.  If you converted $10,000 of the 401(k) to a Roth IRA, it's all taxable income, but you pay no tax because it is less than your exemptions.  Then since it is in a Roth IRA, you also pay no tax when you withdraw the money in retirement.  (There is no 10% penalty for early withdrawal if you are under age 55 either, if it is a Roth conversion.)  And if you converted $20,000, you would only pay 5% income tax ($10,000 tax free and the next $9500 taxed at 10%.)

You might have to roll over from the 401(k) to a private IRA first, then convert part of the IRA to a Roth IRA.  @dmertz will know more.
dmertz
Level 15

I am rolling over a 401K disbursement delivered to me by a check, within 60 days. I have no other income. Do I have to file a 1040A, a 1040EZ, or nothing?

If the check is made out to your new retirement account, say to an IRA at a particular financial institution for your benefit, even though the check is given to you for forwarding to the financial institution, it constitutes a direct rollover and would not be subject to mandatory withholding.  It would also not be subject to the 60-day rollover deadline, but there is no good reason to delay forwarding the check.  If it's a direct rollover, it needs to be deposited to the type of account that you specified when you requested that the 401(k) plan make the direct rollover.  Depositing the distribution to a Roth IRA when the request was for a direct rollover to a traditional IRA would be improper if the check is made payable to a traditional IRA (but it does happen from time to time and complicates reporting).

If the check was made payable to you personally, you do have the concerns about substituting other funds to complete the rollover of the portion withheld for taxes and the 60-day deadline.

A distribution from a Roth IRA that comes from a taxable conversion (a conversion that adds to AGI) *is* subject to a 10% recapture penalty unless held for 5 years or you reach at 59 1/2.
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