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Handy retirement plan rollover chart

Individual retirement accounts get extra attention this time of year since contributions for the previous tax year can be made until April 15.

In 2010, many owners of traditional IRAs also are considering whether to convert those accounts to Roth IRAs.

But moving retirement money from one plan to another is not limited to any particular time frame.

Done properly, rollovers can help you maximize your retirement dollars. Even better, they can be accomplished without costing you any added taxes or penalties.

To help you make the best moves, the IRS created this handy retirement plan rollover chart with tips on what kind of plans can be moved where.

Retirement plan rollover chart

Click on the chart (or here) for a larger version. Once there, you can use the included links to IRS publications to get more information on rolling over your retirement money.

Rollover reminders: There are two ways to complete a rollover, indirectly and directly.

With an indirect rollover, you actually get the money from your old account. But you don't get it all; 20 percent is withheld to cover taxes.

That could cause some big problems, since you're required to deposit your retirement plan's full amount, including the 20 percent that was withheld, into a new plan within 60 days. If you don't, you'll face more taxes and penalties.

So an indirect rollover means you must come up with that withheld amount to go with the rest of your retirement money in the new account.

That's why a direct, or trustee-to-trustee, rollover is better.

Not only is it faster, but since the manager of your old plan sends your retirement money to your new plan, directly and without you touching the cash, you don't lose that 20 percent off the top.

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