In April, I mistakenly deposited my wife's 2017 IRA contribution to her Roth IRA, rather than to her Traditional IRA. This happened as follows: I called my broker and told his associate that I wanted to make a Traditional IRA contribution for my wife. My broker then left voice-mail for me and gave me the account number to write on my check and where to mail it. Unfortunately, I did not check the account number. I filed my 2017 tax return on April 17 which characterized the contribution as going to a traditional IRA. A few days ago, I received a form 5498 from my broker which indicated the contribution as going to her Roth IRA. I called the IRS but they don't answer IRA questions after April 17. What do I need to do to get the contribution recharacterized as a Traditional IRA contribution for 2017. My Broker says that they can only reverse the Roth contribution, and make a 2018 Traditional IRA contribution. But I don't want it for 2018. I want the broker to make the contribution to the Traditional account and mark it as a 2017 contribution. They seem not willing to do that because it is after the April 17 deadline. Isn't there some way to correct a stupid error like this? This mistake will cost me $1500.00 if I can't get it fixed.

1 Answer 1


For 2017, your IRA provider should be able to recharacterize it as a Traditional IRA contribution up until October.

From the IRS: IRA FAQS - Recharacterization of IRA Contributions

To recharacterize a regular IRA contribution, you tell the trustee of the financial institution holding your IRA to transfer the amount of the contribution plus earnings to a different type of IRA (either a Roth or traditional) in a trustee-to-trustee transfer or to a different type of IRA with the same trustee. If this is done by the due date for filing your tax return (including extensions), you can treat the contribution as made to the second IRA for that year (effectively ignoring the contribution to the first IRA).

The extension referred to is the extension to October 15th; you do not need to have actually requested this extension, though you may need to amend to file a Form 8606.

Bogleheads: IRA recharacterization

If you filed your tax return by April 15 of the year following the contribution (or applied for an extension at the time), you may recharacterize until October 15 of that year. If you recharacterize after April 15, write "Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2" on your amended return.

Vanguard: IRA recharacterizations

When to complete your IRA contribution recharacterization

Your contribution must be recharacterized on or before your tax-filing deadline for the year for which it was made.

The IRS generally provides an extended time frame—until October 15—to complete your recharacterization. (You may be required to file an amended return at that time.)

Investopedia: Recharacterizing Your IRA Contribution or Roth Conversion

The deadline for recharacterizing a Roth conversion or IRA contribution is your tax-filing deadline plus extensions. If you file the tax return on time (generally by April 15), you receive an automatic six-month extension, which means your deadline to recharacterize a 2016 contribution is October 15, 2017.

Note that the rules for conversions (as opposed to recharacterizations) have changed in 2018; although you can still recharacterize a conversion made in 2017 up until October 15th, you will not be able to recharacterize conversions made January 1st, 2018 forwards:

From the IRS: IRA FAQS - Recharacterization of IRA Contributions

A Roth IRA conversion made in 2017 may be recharacterized as a contribution to a traditional IRA if the recharacterization is made by October 15, 2018. A Roth IRA conversion made on or after January 1, 2018, cannot be recharacterized. For details, see “Recharacterizations” in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

  • "Note that the rules for conversions (as opposed to recharacterizations) have changed in 2018" That isn't relevant to this question; nobody is trying to undo a conversion here.
    – user102008
    Commented May 27, 2018 at 20:24

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