How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Bill Your Own Question
Bill, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3151
Experience:  EA, CEBS - 35 years experience providing financial advice
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Bill is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am a 75 year old person with a traditional ira which i would

This answer was rated:

I am a 75 year old person with a traditional ira which i would like to convert to a Roth ira. I have no wage income, only ss and a pension plus earned income from investments.

I have been told that this can not be done . Please advise.

Thank you

It may not be a good idea for you to convert. Here is why:




"You might have to pay higher Medicare premiums or have your Social Security payments taxed if you do a Roth IRA conversion. That can happen if you are receiving these benefits and do a Roth conversion, Slott said.


"In general, Social Security benefits are excluded from the gross income of a taxpayer and are therefore not taxed," he said. "However, depending on how much other income an individual has, anywhere from 50% all the way up to 85% of their Social Security income can be included in gross income, resulting in a higher tax bill for that year."

What's more, he said, "Medicare Part B premiums are based on income. For 2010, joint taxpayers will remain at the lowest premium levels as long as they have income of $170,000 or less ($85,000 for those filing single). From there, premiums progressively increase until joint taxpayers have above $428,000 in income ($214,000 for those filing single). Conversion of a large IRA or plan balance could move you into a higher premium bracket, potentially costing a couple around $6,000 extra in Medicare premiums for 2010."


So, this may be why your advisers are indicating you should not convert to a ROTH IRA.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
my question is not whether I should convert a portion of my tradition IRA to a Roth but can I do this under the current tax law considering I have no wage income..

Thank you for clarifying what you were asking.


No, you cannot.


"Question: Are contributions to Roth IRAs limited by "earned" income in the same manner that contributions to traditional IRAs are?


Answer: Yes. You must have earned income at least equal to the amount you contribute to Roth accounts for the year. Net income from self-employment counts just the same as wage or salary income. If you file jointly, you and your spouse can each contribute $5,000 for 2010 as long as one spouse (or both) has at least $10,000 of earned income. As explained above, you can contribute another $1,000 if you are age 50 or older as of 12/31/2010.


This is from this article:

Roth IRAs: You Wanted to Know at


If your question is can you convert to a Roth IRA rather than can you make a Roth IRA contribution then the answer is yes. You do not have to have earned income from working in order to be eligible to convert to a Roth IRA. Anyone can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA at any age and regardless of whether they have earned income or not.

Edited by Bill on 4/1/2010 at 10:49 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't want to contribute to an existing Roth IRA, I want to create a Roth IRA and convert a portion of an existing traditional IRA to it. Isn't that different from a contribution?
Yes that is different. And yes you can convert to a Roth IRA.

Pages 28 - 29 of IRS Publication 590 discusses conversions -


Edited by Bill on 4/1/2010 at 11:06 PM EST
Bill, Enrolled Agent
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 3151
Experience: EA, CEBS - 35 years experience providing financial advice
Bill and 2 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
< Previous | Next >
  • I really was impressed with the prompt response. Your expert was not only a tax expert, but a people expert!!! Her genuine and caring attitude came across in her response... T.G.W Matteson, IL
  • I WON!!! I just wanted you to know that your original answer gave me the courage and confidence to go into yesterday's audit ready to fight. Bonnie Chesnee, SC
  • Great service. Answered my complex tax question in detail and provided a lot of additional useful information for my specific situation. John Minneapolis, MN
  • Excellent information, very quick reply. The experts really take the time to address your questions, it is well worth the fee, for the peace of mind they can provide you with. Orville Hesperia, California
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA

Meet The Experts:

  • Wallstreet Esq.

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    10 years experience
< Last | Next >
  • Wallstreet Esq.'s Avatar

    Wallstreet Esq.

    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    10 years experience
  • Mark D's Avatar

    Mark D

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    MBA, EA, Specializing in Business and Individual Tax Returns and Issues
  • Richard's Avatar


    Tax Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    29 years of experience as a tax, real estate, and business attorney.
  • Robin D.'s Avatar

    Robin D.

    Senior Tax Advisor 4

    Satisfied Customers:

    15years with H & R Block. Divisional leader, Instructor
  • Megan C's Avatar

    Megan C

    Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed CPA, CFE, CMA, CGMA who teaches accounting courses at Master's Level
  • jgordosea's Avatar


    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    I've prepared all types of taxes since 1987.
  • R. Klein, EA's Avatar

    R. Klein, EA

    Enrolled Agent

    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 20 Years experience