How to Withdraw Excess Roth IRA Contributions

Having a Roth IRA lets you save money for retirement in the United States. IRA may stand for Individual Retirement Account or Individual Retirement Annuity. The distinction depends on whether you have an account at a bank or another Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-approved institution or bought an annuity or endowment contract from a life insurance company. You can contribute a certain amount of money to a designated Roth IRA for each tax year based on your income, marital status and age. Try these ways to withdraw excess Roth IRA contributions.


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    Determine the maximum amount of money you can or should have contributed to your Roth IRA.
    • Calculate or look up your modified adjusted gross income (AGI). Use the tax worksheet specified by the IRS to help you find your modified AGI.
    • Calculate or look up your income for the tax year where you made excess contributions. This includes money from wages, bonuses, tips, combat pay, self-employment, alimony, etc.
    • Subtract any income from Roth IRA conversions and rollovers as directed on your tax forms from your adjusted gross income. Add any applicable deductions or exclusions listed on the tax forms, such as for student loans or foreign housing, to the figure. The total will be your modified AGI.
    • Take into account any changes in your marital status that affected how you filed taxes. An example is getting married and filing taxes jointly with your spouse instead of as a single person.
    • Consult the IRS website, an accountant, or tax software to find your maximum contribution amount based on your modified AGI, marital and tax filing status, and age.
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    Figure out the amount of money to withdraw. This may be any amount over your maximum contribution limit that does not include money properly and timely rolled over from another Roth IRA or retirement plan or converted from a traditional IRA.
    • Calculate a previous year's excess amount to withdraw in another way. Subtract your total contributions to all IRAs for the year from the year's maximum contribution amount. Add that figure to any distributions you made from your Roth IRA(s). Subtract the total from the excess amount you contributed for that year to find how much you need to withdraw.
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    Withdraw the excess amount before or on the due date for filing your taxes. The due date for taxes is usually around April 15 in the United States.
    • Access your Roth IRA online or in person at the place where you opened your account. Withdraw the money as directed.
    • Withdraw any earnings you received for the excess amount as well. The withdrawn money will not be treated as a contribution for that tax year.
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    Get the excess amount of money back if you already filed your taxes in a timely manner. You have 6 months since the filing due date for taxes, not counting extensions, to have your extra money returned.
    • File an amended tax return with the IRS. Report any earnings related to your Roth IRA and explain the withdrawal you are making.
    • Write "Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2" at the top of the return. Make any other changes you need to on the return.
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    Apply the excess money to a future year's contributions. If a following year's Roth IRA contributions are less than the maximum amount you are allowed, you can add your excess contributions to that year's amount.
    • Move the necessary amount of money as directed by the financial institution or website where you can access your Roth IRA.


  • Have a professional accountant help you with your taxes or your Roth IRA if necessary.
  • You can make contributions to a Roth IRA for a year at any time during that year. To make contributions for 2009, you could do so at any time during 2009.
  • You can also contribute money up to the due date of your tax return for that year without extensions. For example, you would have until April 18, 2011 to make contributions for your 2010 taxes.
  • A traditional IRA is any IRA that is neither a Roth IRA nor a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA.


  • Be aware that tax regulations can change from year to year.
  • You must pay a 6 percent excise tax for an excess contribution made to a Roth IRA.

Things You'll Need

  • Designated Roth IRA
  • Tax forms
  • Modified AGI
  • Marital and tax filing status
  • IRS website
  • Professional accountant
  • Tax software
  • Maximum contribution amount
  • Excess contribution amount
  • Bank or other IRS-approved institution
  • Financial institution's website
  • Access to withdraw or move Roth IRA money
  • Amended tax return
  • Excise tax payment

Article Info

Categories: Retirement