Rollover of 401k funds

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Received a letter suggesting to move my 401k funds out from previous employer. They are changing from fidelity to someone else.
I am going to move funds to my current employer plan with ING. To that effect i already asked Fidelity to send the check addressed to ING.
They sent me a check FBO with my name and also a distribution letter(looked like a statement to me). Now my ING rollover form says i need to submit Letter of Determination, along with the check, which will be provided by previous plan sponsor.

When i talked to previous employer HR she says she never heard about it and don't know how to give one. I am currently stuck as ING and Fidelity says the plan sponsor will give the letter but they are not giving one. What do i do with this check. I know i have limited time to deposit it in the new plan.

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Typically you cannot rollover money from a 401k while you are still employed with the same employer. I am unaware of special rules that may exist if the employer establishes a new 401k custodian. You may very well have to rollover into their new 401k plan.

However if they already cut you a check with no penalty and nothing withheld, simply deposit the check at a new IRA custodian such as Vanguard within 60 days and you should be fine.

If it's not too late, I would change gears and roll this over into an IRA rather than a 401k. You are extremely limited with your 401k, unless you are one of the lucky few that gets either really good choices or a completely self directed 401k.

Just one thought: If you are planning on converting some traditional IRAs that contain non-deductible contributions to Roth IRAs (which will be allowable with no income limits next year), then you do NOT want to roll this 401(k) money into an IRA right now. The reason is that you cannot pick and choose which assets you convert to a Roth IRA, they do it on a percentage basis: That is, if you have a $4,000 IRA with non-deductible contributions in it and a $6,000 IRA with deductible contributions (this includes amounts rolled over from a 401(k) to an IRA), then 60% of all of your IRA money is from deductible contributions. So, even if you just want to roll over the $4,000 IRA with non-deductible contributions to a Roth IRA, you'd have to pay taxes on 60% of the amount you transfer. If you had no IRAs with deductible contributions in it, then you wouldn't have to pay any taxes on the amount you convert from a non-deductible IRA to a Roth IRA. The theory / reasoning is that you pay taxes BEFORE you put money in a Roth IRA, so with non-deductible IRA contributions you've already paid taxes on that money, but with deductible IRA contributions you haven't paid taxes on that money yet. Why the aggregate all of your IRA money is anyone's guess.

If the above doesn't make sense, just do some google searches. The bottom line, though, is that if you are planning to convert some traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs, you should wait until after you convert to rollover 401(k) money.

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