Catherine M. Censullo CPA
One Minute Tax Tip


Did you know that IRAs are different than all other assets when it comes to ownership?

Back in June, we talked about beneficiary designations and related issues that apply to IRAs.

Today, we will talk about how the ownership of an IRA is different from all other assets.

You cannot own your IRAs jointly with your spouse or other individuals.  While you are living, your IRA belongs to you and your spouse's IRA belongs to your spouse.  These assets cannot be titled jointly.

You cannot transfer your IRAs to a trust during your lifetime.  This is different from other assets you may hold.

You also cannot gift or transfer your IRA to someone else during your lifetime.  There is only one exception to this rule.  You can make a qualified charitable distribution directly to a charity under the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  This provision allows you to transfer up to $100,000 directly to a qualifying charity tax free if you are age 70 1/2 or older.

Your IRAs cannot change ownership during your lifetime.  If you change the ownership of your IRA, it would immediately trigger a complete distribution of your IRA and subject you to any tax and penalties that may apply.

If you would like to discuss these issues in more detail and how they apply to your personal situation, please give me a call.


Catherine M. Censullo, CPA

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