What is the Difference Between Transfer vs. Rollover IRA?

By | November 1, 2022

You might think of rolling your old IRA from one institution to another for higher returns. Or other reasons could be the investment selection or the services offered by the institution is better. But when thinking of doing so, one needs to know about the existing ways to fund your IRA, like rollover, contribution, and transfer. People should be clear on transfer vs rollover, as they use these terms interchangeably. So here is a clear, quick guide to differentiate between the two. 

IRA Transfer

You must be cautious since IRA regulations can be complex, and some have even changed over time. Otherwise, you risk paying income tax and penalties. The most frequent transfer is the direct transfer of assets from one IRA to another. Both accounts must have the same type of account. 

For instance, you may transfer money from a traditional IRA held by one financial institution to a traditional IRA held by another financial institution. An exception to this rule needs to be considered: a transformation from a SIMPLE IRA to an old IRA or vice versa as soon as the two-year waiting period for the SIMPLE IRA has been met. 

So as assets are never rendered payable to the taxpayer or transferred to them, transfers are not taxed and are not reported to the IRS. The assets are being transferred directly between two IRAs. There are no restrictions on the number of transfers that may be made annually or per IRA.

Rollover Transfer

The majority of pre-retirement payments that you get from a retirement plan or an IRA can be “rolled over” by depositing them in any other retirement plan or an IRA under 60 days. Additionally, you can request a direct transfer from your financial institution or plan to an IRA or another scheme. A dividend from an IRA or retirement plan may be rolled over to another plan or IRA within 60 days of the distribution date. If you missed the deadline due to events outside your control, the IRS may, sometimes, waive the 60-day rollover requirement.

Why Should You Roll Over?

A payout from a retirement plan that you roll over often isn’t taxed until you take money from the new plan. Rolling over allows you to continue growing your money tax-deferred while saving for the future. Unless you qualify for one of the exceptions to the 10% extra tax on early distributions, your payment will be taxable (apart from qualifying Roth distributions and any previously taxed amounts). You could also be liable to tax further if you don’t roll it over.

You are not compelled to accept rollover contributions into your retirement plan. To find out if they are permitted and, if so, what kinds of contributions are accepted, speak with your new plan administrator.


Whatever the cause, financial advisers should be aware of the precise guidelines for various forms of money movement to ensure that their clients’ accounts are shielded from unneeded taxable outflows. You should distinguish transfer vs rollover to choose the right one for your requirement. You have a clear distinction between the two in this guide, so now you can take further help from professionals who have been working and advising people for many years.


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About Joanna Tan

Joanna Tan is the Senior Editor at VOIVO Infotech. She looks after the editing work of the blog. She has previously worked in National Newspaper in Abu Dhabi. She has worked with various popular agencies globally. To get in touch with Joanna for news reports you can email her on joanna@voivoinfotech.com or reach her out on social media links given below.