COVID-19 Relief for Retirement Plans and IRAs
Information on this page may be affected by coronavirus relief for retirement plans and IRAs.
These frequently asked questions and answers provide general information and should not be cited as legal authority. Because these answers do not apply to every situation, yours may require additional research.
There are many requirements to make a valid rollover contribution including the 60-day requirement. Assuming other requirements are satisfied, you have 60 days from the date you receive a distribution from an IRA or retirement plan to roll it over to another plan or IRA. If you don’t roll over your payment, it will be taxable (other than qualified Roth distributions and any amounts already taxed) and you may also be subject to additional tax unless you’re eligible for one of the exceptions to the 10% additional tax on early distributions. The IRS may waive the 60-day rollover requirement in certain situations if you missed the deadline because of circumstances beyond your control. These frequently asked questions address when the 60-day rollover requirement may be waived.
Yes, you can make a late rollover contribution – rollover after the expiration of the 60-day period - if you:
- Are entitled to an automatic waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement,
- Request and receive a private letter ruling waiving the 60-day requirement,
- Qualify for and use the self-certification procedure for a waiver of the 60-day requirement.
There are three ways to obtain a waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement:
- You qualify for an automatic waiver,
- You request and receive a private letter ruling granting a waiver, or
- You self-certified that you met the requirements of a waiver and the IRS determines during an audit of your income tax return that you qualify for a waiver.
You qualify for an automatic waiver if all of the following apply:
- The financial institution receives the funds on your behalf before the end of the 60-day rollover period.
- You followed all of the procedures set by the financial institution for depositing the funds into an IRA or other eligible retirement plan within the 60-day rollover period (including giving instructions to deposit the funds into a plan or IRA).
- The funds are not deposited into a plan or IRA within the 60-day rollover period solely because of an error on the part of the financial institution.
- The funds are deposited into a plan or IRA within 1 year from the beginning of the 60-day rollover period.
- It would have been a valid rollover if the financial institution had deposited the funds as instructed.
If you do not qualify for an automatic waiver, you can apply to the IRS for a waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement or use the self-certification procedure to make a late rollover contribution.
You can request a private letter ruling according to the procedures outlined in Revenue Procedure 2003-16 and Revenue Procedure 2020-4. The appropriate user fee of $10,000 must accompany every request for a waiver of the 60-day rollover requirement (see the user fee chart in Revenue Procedure 2020-4, Appendix A).
There is no IRS fee for using the self-certification procedure.
You would complete the Model Letter in the appendix to Revenue Procedure 2016-47 or a substantially similar letter and present it to the financial institution receiving the late rollover contribution. You will be entitled to a waiver if ALL of the following are true:
- The rollover contribution satisfies all of the other requirements for a valid rollover (except the 60-day requirement).
- You can show that one or more of the reasons listed in the Model Letter prevented you from completing a rollover before the expiration of the 60-day period.
- The distribution came from an IRA you established or from a retirement plan you participated in.
- The IRS has not previously denied your request for a waiver.
- The rollover contribution is made to the plan or IRA as soon as practicable (usually within 30 days) after the reason or reasons for the delay no longer prevent you from making the contribution.
- The representations you make in the Model Letter are true.
No, a self-certification is not a waiver by the IRS of the 60-day rollover requirement. However, if you qualify for a waiver, you can use the Model Letter to make a late rollover contribution to another plan or IRA. If the IRS subsequently audits your income tax return, it may determine that you do not qualify for a waiver, in which case you may owe additional taxes and penalties.
No, a particular financial institution is not required to accept a late rollover to an IRA. However, you can use the self-certification procedure and Model Letter to assure a financial institution that it can rely on the Model Letter in accepting and reporting receipt of a rollover contribution.
In determining whether to issue a favorable letter ruling granting a waiver, the IRS will consider all of the relevant facts and circumstances, including:
- Whether errors were made by the financial institution, i.e., the plan administrator, or IRA trustee, issuer or custodian;
- Whether you were unable to complete the rollover within the 60-day period due to death, disability, hospitalization, incarceration, serious illness, restrictions imposed by a foreign country, or postal error;
- Whether you used the amount distributed; and
- How much time has passed since the date of the distribution.
Note: The IRS can waive only the 60-day rollover requirement and not the other requirements for a valid rollover contribution. For example, the IRS cannot waive the IRA one-rollover-per-year rule.
No. If the IRS has previously declined to issue a favorable letter ruling granting a waiver, you cannot use the self-certification procedure.
Anyone who has received a distribution from his or her plan or IRA, their surviving spouses or their legal representatives are eligible to request a private letter ruling for an extension of the 60-day rollover period. A non-spouse beneficiary of a deceased person’s plan or IRA is not eligible to roll over a distribution received from the plan or IRA.
You can use the sample letter ruling request format in Appendix D, Revenue Procedure 2020-4. Appendix E of this Revenue Procedure contains a checklist of information that you should submit with the ruling request. You should supply the following additional information when making a request for a waiver:
- If the distribution is made from a plan, the full name of the plan and the name of the employer that sponsors the plan;
- If the distribution is made from an IRA, the full name of the IRA owner, the IRA account number and the name of the trustee/custodian of the IRA making the distribution;
- If the request is being made on behalf of a surviving spouse (beneficiary) of a deceased IRA owner or plan participant, a copy of the beneficiary designation and a copy of the death certificate;
- The amount(s) of the distribution(s);
- The date(s) the distribution(s) was/were made;
- The amount of federal and/or state taxes, if any, withheld from the distribution;
- A copy of the Form 1099-R, if available;
- A statement as to why the distribution(s) was/were made, indicating what was intended to be done with the distribution and what was actually done with the distribution (provide the name of the financial institution where the distribution was deposited, if applicable);
- A detailed explanation as to why the 60-day rollover requirement was not met and copies of all supporting documents.
- Evidence that you have not used the distributed funds (for example, copies of bank statements, etc.);
- The name of the plan or IRA trustee/custodian where you intend to make the rollover if a waiver is granted;
- If the waiver request involves an IRA-to-IRA rollover, a statement regarding whether you have made an IRA-to-IRA rollover in the past 12 months (not counting rollovers from traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs).
Note: If a waiver is granted, you have 60-days from the date the letter is issued to complete the rollover.
The IRS processes private letter ruling waiver requests in the order received. However, the IRS will not process and will return any requests that do not include the appropriate user fee and/or that do not comply with the procedural requirements described above.
The text of letter rulings is generally open to public inspection. The IRS makes deletions before it is made available to the public. To help the IRS make any necessary deletions, a request for a letter ruling must be accompanied by a statement indicating the deletions desired ("deletions statement"). If you only want names, addresses and identifying numbers to be deleted, you should state this in the deletions statement.
You should send the private letter ruling request with the appropriate user fee to the IRS at the following address:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EP Letter Rulings
7940 Kentucky Drive
TE/GE Stop MS 31A Team 105
Florence, KY 41042
Letter ruling requests will not be accepted via fax.
The primary differences are that under the self-certification procedure you:
- Do not have to file a request with the IRS;
- Do not have to pay a fee to the IRS;
- Do not have to wait to receive a letter ruling from the IRS before making the late rollover contribution; and
- Do not have a guarantee that you qualify for a waiver. You may wish to contact a tax advisor to be sure you satisfy the requirements for a waiver of the 60-day requirement and the other requirements for a valid rollover.
Here are some additional resources:
- Rollovers of Retirement Plan and IRA Distributions
- YouTube video - IRA/Retirement Plan 60-Day Rollover Waivers (.57 secs.)
- YouTube video - Retirement Plan and IRA Rollovers (1.20 mins.)
- Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
- Publication 560, Retirement Plans for Small Business (SEP, SIMPLE, and Qualified Plans)
- Publication 571, Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans (403(b) Plans)