Investing Retirement Planning IRAs Roth IRAs Can I Roll After-Tax 401(k) Funds to a Roth IRA? Yes, but there are some rules to follow By Dana Anspach Dana Anspach Twitter Dana Anspach is a Certified Financial Planner and an expert on investing and retirement planning. She is the founder and CEO of Sensible Money, a fee-only financial planning and investment firm. learn about our editorial policies Updated on March 1, 2023 Reviewed by Anthony Battle In This Article View All In This Article IRS Rules for Rolling After-Tax Funds to a Roth Penalty if You Deposit to the Wrong Account Avoiding Rollover Mistakes Other Rollover Options Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Photo: JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images Although 401(k) plans are known for their tax-deferral benefits, some allow after-tax contributions. You can roll over after-tax 401(k) money to a Roth IRA without penalty when you retire or change jobs. This can be advantageous because money held in a Roth accumulates interest, dividends, and capital gains that are often tax-free. But you must follow some rules to correctly roll over your after-tax 401(k) funds correctly. Here are some common concerns and questions about how this type of rollover works. Key Takeaways The IRS ruled in 2014 that you can roll after-tax contributions to a 401(k) into a Roth IRA.You must roll over a proportional amount of pre-tax funds along with your after-tax rollover amount.You have 60 days to deposit the rollover funds into the appropriate account or it will be considered taxable. IRS Rules About Rolling After-Tax Funds to a Roth The financial planning and tax community wasn't sure for many years whether after-tax funds in a company plan could legally be rolled into a Roth IRA. An IRS ruling clarified this in September 2014. The answer is a definite "Yes." You're permitted to roll the after-tax contributions from a qualified company retirement plan to a Roth IRA. But there's a catch. You must also roll over your pre-tax 401(k) contributions in a proportional amount based on what you've put into your fund. For example, if your 401(k) has $200,000 in it and 10% of that includes after-tax contributions, then your rollover distributions will always be 10% after-tax and 90% pre-tax. Note The only way to roll all your after-tax contributions into a Roth IRA is to simultaneously roll all of your pre-tax contributions into a traditional IRA or another eligible tax-deferred account. Your plan administrator will cut two checks to facilitate the rollover of after-tax 401(k) funds to a Roth IRA: one for the after-tax contributions and one for the pre-tax money. You can direct that the after-tax contributions go right to a Roth IRA account while the pre-tax money gets rolled into a traditional IRA. You would designate the appropriate account for each respective contribution type on your 401(k) distribution paperwork. The Penalty if You Deposit to the Wrong Account You have 60 days to deposit the funds into the appropriate account when you receive a rollover check. Your rollover won't count as a rollover if you miss the 60-day deadline. It will become taxable. Exceptions to the 60-day rollover time frame are hard to come by unless your financial services company makes a gross error. It's important to have a clear plan for where your rollover funds are going and to make sure your financial advisor or plan administrator knows exactly where to put the money. Note You can look at other ways to get money into a Roth IRA if you miss your 60-day window. You can convert an IRA to a Roth or contribute other eligible earned income to a Roth. Avoiding Rollover Mistakes Make sure you follow all of the rollover rules at retirement so you don't encounter any unpleasant tax surprises. Read all paperwork carefully before you submit it to your plan administrator, and double-check account numbers before you make deposits. You can look at your most recent 401(k) statement to see how much should be in after-tax funds. Make sure the check amount you're depositing to your Roth is approximately that same amount. Note Your after-tax rollover likely won't be exactly the same amount as what appears on your statement because the investments change in value daily. Other Rollover Options You have other options besides a Roth IRA if you're retiring or separating from a company. You could roll the funds into a traditional IRA, move them into a new company's 401(k) plan, or leave them where they are. You don't have to do anything with the money until you're ready because 401(k) plans are portable. The 60-day clock doesn't start ticking until you begin the transfer process. Take your time, talk to a financial advisor, and figure out the best way to roll the funds over before you start the process. There's no need to do it as soon as you separate from the company, especially if you have a high balance. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) How are contributions made to a 401(k) plan? A 401(k) is part of a qualified profit-sharing plan provided by employers. It's funded by pre-tax contributions from your paychecks. Your tax withholding is calculated based on the amount of your pay that's left after the contribution. Your employer can contribute to your account as well. Do 401(k) plans have contribution limits? Yes, there are limits to how much you can put in your 401(k). You can contribute up to $22,500 to a 401(k) plan in 2023. This is an increase from the $20,500 limit in 2022. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. IRS. "Rollovers of Retirement Plan and IRA Distributions." IRS. "Rollovers of After-Tax Contributions in Retirement Plans." IRS. "Retirement Plans FAQs Relating to Waivers of the 60-Day Rollover Requirement." IRS. "Retirement Topics—Termination of Employment." IRS. "401(k) Plans." IRS. "Retirement Topics—401(k) and Profit-Sharing Plan Contribution Limits."