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NUA

Net Unrealized Appreciation

This widely misunderstood section of the IRS code can be quite a benefit – if it happens to fit your situation. Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) refers to the increase in value of your company’s stock held within your 401(k), either due to a company match or your own investment in the company stock within the 401(k). Other company-sponsored deferred accounts can apply here as well, but the primary type of account is the 401(k), so we’ll refer to all company-sponsored tax-deferred accounts as 401(k)’s for the purpose of this discussion. In order to take advantage of the Net Unrealized Appreciation provision, first of all you must hold your company’s stock in your 401(k), and you must be in a position to roll over the account. That is, either you must have separated from service by leaving employment (voluntarily or involuntarily), or the 401(k) plan is being terminated. As you consider […]

To Roll or Not to Roll?

At some point in almost everyone’s lifetime they have gone through the process of changing jobs. Many times those jobs offered retirement plans such as 401(k)s 403(b)s, etc. Conventional wisdom would say that for most employees it may make sense to roll their employer sponsored plan into an IRA. Based on a request from a reader (thanks David!), I thought I would go over some of the issues to consider before rolling your employer sponsored plan to an IRA.

IRS Notice 2014-54: Will This Clarify NUA Basis Allocation?

Recently the IRS issued a Notice, 2014-54, which details some information regarding the allocation of pre-tax funds from a qualified plan (such as a 401(k) plan) into a Roth IRA. This is a clarification of a question that has been on the minds of folks in the financial services industry for some time, and it’s a good result. Now the question becomes: does this help to clarify NUA basis allocation strategies? If you’d like additional detail on Notice 2014-54, you can find the actual text of the Notice by clicking this link. What I find interesting about this Notice is that this is the first time that the IRS has used this interpretation of the rules referenced specifically in IRC Section 402(c)(2), which is the code section I’ve referenced before regarding allocation of basis for Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) treatment for employer stock. (See more information in this most recent […]

Net Unrealized Appreciation is not subject to the 3.8% surtax

When you take advantage of the Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) treatment for stocks transferred from your employer retirement plan, you need to fully understand the tax treatment both when you transfer the stocks and when you eventually sell the stock. Stock that you’ve chosen to treat with NUA tax treatment has three potential tax components – The basis of the stock – this is the original purchase cost of the stock, which is subject to ordinary income tax the year when you transfer the stock from the employer’s plan into your brokerage account. The Net Unrealized Appreciation – this is the difference in the total value of the stock minus the basis (from #1 above) on the date that you transfer it from your employer’s plan. This amount is not taxable until you sell the stock, and then it is taxed at long-term capital gains rates, no matter how long […]

NUA Allocation Twist – Not as Easy as it Looks

I’ve written much about the Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) treatment for company stock in a 401(k) plan – this is the provision that allows you to pull out company stock as part of a full distribution from the plan and get favorable tax treatment for the gain on the stock.  More about NUA can be found in this article about Net Unrealized Appreciation Treatment. One of the factors in that article speaks to a special way to allocate the basis (original cost) of the stock.  Specifically, if handled correctly, the ordinary income tax on the NUA move can be minimized or eliminated, and the capital gains treatment maximized. However. (As you know, there’s always a however in life!) The problem with this move is that you absolutely must get the 401(k) administrator to go along with your plan – in order to make sure that the 1099R generated by your […]

What Is Net Unrealized Appreciation?

We’ve discussed how to utilize the Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) treatment of distributions from your qualified retirement plan (also known as QRP, meaning 401(k), 403(b), and other plans) – one of the earlier articles on Net Unrealized Appreciation can be found at this link. Even though the process is explained in the earlier article, we didn’t discuss just what exactly can be treated with the NUA option.  How do you determine what part of the distribution can be treated with capital gains treatment? In order to determine what is to be treated as unrealized appreciation, we need to define what has to be treated as ordinary income from such a distribution.  Briefly, the way that the NUA option works is that you take a complete distribution of your QRP account within one tax year – and you have the option to treat a portion of your account distribution with capital […]

Net Unrealized Appreciation Treatment

Image by paddynapper via Flickr When you have a 401(k) plan that contains stock in your company, there is a special provision in the tax law that may be beneficial to you. This special provision is called Net Unrealized Appreciation, or NUA, treatment. It allows you to take advantage of potentially lower tax rates on the growth, or unrealized appreciation, of the stock in your company. When your company stock is withdrawn from the account, you pay ordinary income tax only on the original cost of the stock. Then later when you sell the appreciated stock at a gain, you pay capital gains tax (at a lower rate) on the growth in the value of the stock. The Way It Works The distribution from your 401(k) must be a total Lump Sum Distribution in a single calendar year.  This means that your entire 401(k) balance, including not only the stock, […]

NUA and the Roth Conversion

You may or may not be familiar with the concept of Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) as it relates to company stock owned in your 401(k) plan.  Click the link to get a rundown on it if you’re not familiar with NUA. Briefly, when you take distribution from your 401(k) you can rollover everything but the company stock (your company) to an IRA, and then put the company stock in a taxable account.  By doing this, you pay tax only on the basis of the company stock, and in the future you will only have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of the company stock, rather than ordinary income tax as you would if the company stock (or the proceeds) were in a traditional IRA. Now, let’s toss in the Roth Conversion concept – you pay tax on the amount that would be otherwise taxable if the distribution were […]

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