A Roth IRA is a special retirement account where you pay taxes on money going into your account, and then all future withdrawals are tax-free. (The IRS lets you withdraw money from an IRA at any time. It’s the same as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account.) You can only withdraw money from your IRA when you reach age 59. If you are thinking about getting an IRA account, we suggest looking at this ira calculator, which calculates the balances of Roth IRA savings and compares them with regular taxable savings.

If you want to make a lump sum contribution, you need to pay tax on the amount (tax-free) that you contribute. A tax deduction, or an offset, is allowed for the rest.

The Roth IRA: What It Is and How It Works | Personal Financial Strategies

You’re taxed on the first $51,000 of the money you contribute and taxed on the amount of money left in your account.

There are different rules when you take the money out of your IRA. For example, if you withdraw the money in the year after you turn 59, you would owe taxes, but there’s no penalty for doing so.

If you are under 59, you would owe taxes. The amount withheld is prorated over your age, so if you’re under age 59, you’ll have to repay your money on a monthly basis.

There is also a 3.8% excise tax on investments in certain mutual funds with high costs. For example, a fund with an expense ratio of 0.5% and an annual fee of $12 would have a tax rate of 5.2%. If the fund has a lot of stock and doesn’t have low-cost index funds, the amount withheld is higher.

If you can’t do a penalty-free withdrawal
with a Roth, the best approach may be to rollover a large amount of assets and use your final tax rate to calculate your final withdrawal.

A tax-loss harvesting strategy with a Roth IRA has the additional benefit of allowing you to “forgive” tax penalties. When you are using an IRA for your Roth, you don’t pay tax penalties for withdrawing the money you didn’t invest in. The only penalty you pay is ordinary income tax, which is generally waived for early withdrawals.


About Ross Colquhoun

Ross Colquhoun is a visual artist, graphic designer and the director of National Collective. An alumni of Edinburgh College of Art's School of Visual Communication and founder of Human Resources, he believes that art has immeasurable power to influence people, to inspire ideas and to motivate change. He envisions a scenario in which independence would bring a new cultural confidence to Scotland.