A rollover is a tax-free withdrawal of cash or other assets from one retirement plan and its reinvestment in another retirement program. The amount rolled over is excluded from gross income in the year of the transfer. Generally, a rollover must be completed within 60 days after a distribution is received in order to ensure non-taxability. The 60-day rule can be waived by the IRS if a delay is caused by a financial institution and certain conditions are met or caused by an event out of the control of the taxpayer and the IRS issues a waiver. Only one rollover from a Traditional IRA to another Traditional IRA is permitted within a 12-month period. However, there is no limit on the number of direct transfers from one financial institution to another. If a distribution is taken from an employee pension plan, the company will withhold 20% of the distribution even if the taxpayer plans a rollover. In that case, the taxpayer would need to make up the difference from other funds in order to have a fully tax-free rollover. This problem can be avoided by having the funds transferred directly to other retirement programs.
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