By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst


Hi Ed,

First of all, I’m a big fan.  Now here’s my question:

If I do a backdoor Roth conversion with exclusively nondeductible IRA contributions, is there a 5-year clock on withdrawing the converted dollars without penalty?  In this case there are no other outstanding IRA dollars. I know there’s a 5-year clock on conversions of deductible contributions. I wouldn’t think there would be a 5-year clock on withdrawing converted nondeductible IRA contributions, but I couldn’t find anything definitive saying that it was okay.  What say you?




Hi Chris,

Thanks for the nice compliment! The 10% early distribution penalty typically applies to distributions of converted amounts if you’re under age 59 ½ and the conversion was less than five years ago. However, the penalty applies only to amounts that were taxable when the conversion was done. Since you had no deductible IRA funds, no part of your conversion was taxable. So, you don’t have to wait five years to withdraw the principal penalty-free. If you’re over 59 ½ (or some other exception, e.g., disability, applies), there is no penalty.


I have a quick question about 60 day Roth conversion rollovers.  If someone takes a distribution from their traditional IRA in December of 2019, but then within 60 days rolls it over to a Roth in 2020, is Form 8606 required to be filed for tax year 2019 or 2020?

Thanks for your help.



If the Roth conversion took place in 2020, you will file Form 8606 for 2020.