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I am 61 years old single with no income (no W2 nor 1099). I would like to roll over some of my 401k into a ROTH IRA. I was wondering if there is an income threshold that exempts one from filing an income tax? Long ago someone told me single individuals with income of less than $10k are exempt from filing an income tax?

Thanks in advance

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The IRS has an interactive website to answer the question of whether or not you need to file. But in general, without any special circumstances, for a 61-year-old single filer, you don't have to file if your income is less than the standard deduction, which is $12,550 in 2021. So assuming it's your only income, you could rollover that much from your pre-tax 401(k) to your Roth IRA and owe no tax and also not be required to file a return. You want to make sure no taxes are withheld in the rollover so you don't have to file to get them refunded.

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You can find the thresholds and other considerations in the relevant tax year's Form 1040 instructions, in the section called "Do You Have To File?" (for 2020 1040 instructions, on page 9).

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One area of concern can be social security. If you are receiving social security, and you have too much income, then some (50% to 85%) of your social security checks can become taxable.

You didn't say if you are receiving social security, but some people start receiving it at 62. The conversion could make those social security checks taxable. That would of course require you to file tax forms. Therefore you may want to do this conversion in a year where you don't have social security income.

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  • Thanks mhoran, good point about the social security income, although, I do not receive any social security at the moment.
    – Anthony
    Jun 2 at 21:23
  • ** Therefore you may want to do this conversion in a year where you don't have social security income** I thought about what you said and I am wondering if you are suggesting, I should convert all my 401k to Roth-IRA before applying for social security? If so, wouldn’t I face a big tax bill?
    – Anthony
    Jun 3 at 13:08

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