Rollover mistake

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Q. I’m a recent federal retiree and was attempting to rollover my Thrift Savings Plan account to an IRA. I filled out the proper forms and had the financial institution where I’m rolling over the funds complete its section (Page 4), as well. I faxed the TSP withdrawal form as instructed. After a couple of weeks, I received a check (minus federal taxes) in the mail. I called the TSP hotline and they said that they received all of the pages of my form except for Page 4. They said that Page 4 was missing but the pages following Page 4 were received. I’ve asked repeatedly on how we can fix this problem but haven’t gotten a good answer yet. It’s been two weeks now and I haven’t cashed the check yet. I would like to give it back and have the full amount rolled over to the IRA. Is there someone I can talk to other than the people in the call center? What are my options?

A. You should engage a CPA as quickly as possible for advice on how to handle this. If you have a check in your possession, payable to you, you have constructive receipt of the money and the clock is ticking for the rollover. Not cashing the check will not prevent the money from being considered a taxable distribution if the rollover time limit expires.

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