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I have a traditional IRA with Vanguard that originated as a 401k rollover (so they call it a Rollover IRA). This year I have a lot of self-employment income, and I am qualified to make a SEP IRA contribution of about $20,000 for the previous tax year. Is it possible to make the contribution into my traditional IRA but just "mark" it somehow as a SEP contribution vs. a traditional one? I seem to remember having done this in the past. Vanguard did not respond to my emailed request for information and put me on a long and then sent me to someone's voicemail when I called them.

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    The phrasing at, e.g., this IRS page suggests a SEP-IRA has to be a separate account, but we'll see if anyone has a definitive answer. – BrenBarn Mar 14 '16 at 18:34
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    Adding to the comment by @BrenBarn, my understanding is that not only does the SEP-IRA need to be a separate account, you need to formally establish a SEP plan separate from the SEP-IRA accounts the hold the money, using, for example, Form 5035-SEP. You don't have to report on the SEP performance, but the trustee (in your case Vanguard) does, so they need to know which money is SEP money not just for you but for any of your employees. (Sounds like you have no employees, but I doubt that they can assume that you have none.) – user32479 Mar 14 '16 at 19:09
  • Keep calling Vanguard until you get through--this time of year it takes patience. I'm sure you can accomplish your objective. The question is whether you have to create a SEP, fund it, and then roll it into your IRA, or whether they can do these steps for you so that it feels like one step to you. I would expect the former but I may be wrong. – farnsy Mar 16 '16 at 8:29

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