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I have a Variable Annuity IRA from which I am taking distributions which exceed my RMD. That excess distribution has been previously rolled over into my Roth IRA. Is it allowable to roll over these excess funds into my wife's Roth IRA?

My annuity is inside my IRA and I am taking lifetime guaranteed income from the variable annuity which exceeds my present RMD. The excess is a rolled over to my Roth. Neither my wife nor I have any earned income to allow further contributions to our Roth IRAs.

  • Is the annuity actually inside an IRA? Or was it a pension payout or some other plan? Holding an annuity within an IRA is unusual since it grows tax-deferred anyways. And are you doing an actual rollover or just making a contribution to your Roth from the excess distribution? – D Stanley Jul 17 '17 at 18:33
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No. The "I" stands for individual. Funds cannot be transferred between spouse's IRAs with 2 exceptions that I know. After death, the surviving spouse can take the funds into her name, or upon divorce, a judge can issue a QDRO directing such a transfer.

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If the distribution is actually a distribution that you then re-invest into your Roth IRA (as a contribution) then you should be able to just contribute to your spouse's IRA instead of your own, provided that she is eligible to contribute to an IRA, meaning either of you had enough earned income (but not too much) to contribute. It should be equivalent to you just taking a cash distribution and her making a cash contribution to her IRA.

As with any answer on this site, though, take it at face value and consult a tax professional with the specifics of your situation.

That said, holding an annuity within a traditional IRA is unusual, since they grow tax-deferred anyways, so I suspect you may have some incorrect terminology in your question, which might change the correct answer.

  • Sellers of annuities are happy to sell you one within your IRA. It's not unusual, but it should be illegal. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 17 '17 at 20:21

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