Traditional IRAs inherited from spouse


Q. I have inherited my spouse’s traditional IRAs. My spouse died in May 2015 and was not subject to RMDs. Can this type of inherited IRA be transferred to my TSP account? Also, I have already taken my RMDs from my IRAs and TSP account for 2015. Do I now have to take an RMD for 2015 from the inherited IRAs, whether or not they are transferred to my TSP account?

A: Since you have the option of treating an IRA that is inherited from your spouse as your own, you may transfer it into your TSP account, subject to the restriction that only pre-tax money can be moved into the TSP. If the IRA contains any after-tax money (from non-deductible contributions), you may transfer the pre-tax money to your TSP and then convert the remainder to a Roth IRA. This will relieve you of the need to track the basis in the IRA for the rest of its life.

The RMD question is too complex to answer definitively here, but any RMD that is due from an account must be satisfied by the due date, each year. There are cases where the RMD for one account can be satisfied with withdrawals from another account, but it depends on the circumstances. If you’re not sure how to handle all of this, you should engage a CPA to prepare your tax return for the year and ask them for guidance.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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