Trying to figure out the maze of retirement options? Don’t worry — you’re actually in great company. A lot of people are often stuck on what they’re supposed to really do in order to make their retirement years a little more golden. However, we have news for you — it’s not really as hard as you think. What you need to do is figure out how you made all of those contributions to your taxes in the first place. If you’re worried about taxes in the future, you might be surprised to find that not all of your money will be taxed at retirement.
If you have made nondeductible contributions, that money is not taxed. However, the remaining monies — the IRA distributions that come from a Roth IRA conversion would be taxed. If you have 401(k) rollovers, those are going to be taxed as well.
You’ll have to get your sleuth on a little bit more. What you can do is go to your IRA administrator and get Form 5498, which will give you the amount of each contribution and whether or not it was for a traditional or a Roth IRA. From there, you can take the info and match it up against your tax records.
What if you don’t have your old tax records? You’ll need to order them from the IRS. They’re $57 each, which is a little spendy but you’ve got a lot more tax at stake than that! If you really need those old returns, you’re going to have to order them. This is why some people now recommend that you never throw away your tax returns or any supporting information with them — you never know what you’re going to need. We think that digital copies don’t hurt anything. After all, they’re going to be stored forever if you have the right system set up.
If you haven’t already set up Form 8606, you will need to file that right away. The IRS holds the right to assess a $50 fee for each year you didn’t file the form. You might want to contact the IRS and explain your situation — they might have some mercy on you after all.
Getting your tax bill in shape can take some time, but it’s definitely worth doing. Make sure that you really take as much time as possible to ensure your taxes are done right the first time around, because it really can take up a lot more of your time than you think when it comes time to get them fixed later on!