Whether you're looking to move your individual retirement account because you're not happy with the investment options, returns, or fees, or you just want to consolidate your retirement accounts, a transfer offers a quick method of moving it to a new bank. Transfers offer several advantages over using a rollover: You don't have to worry about the 60-day deadline for putting the money in the new IRA or having money withheld from your transfer. You can even use a transfer to convert money from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, but you'll owe taxes on the conversion.
Open an IRA at the bank to which you want to transfer the existing IRA and complete a transfer request form. You'll have to provide your name, address and Social Security number and the account information of your existing IRA. You'll also have to specify what fund you want to invest in.
Submit the forms to the new bank. Once you've turned in the forms, your work is done (at least in terms of the transfer). The bank will automatically transfer the money on your behalf.
Report the transfer on your income tax return only if you are converting from a traditional IRA -- which is funded with tax-deductible contributions -- to a Roth IRA,. contributions to which are made with after-tax money.
- You can perform as many transfers between IRAs as you want each year. There is no waiting period like there is with a rollover.
Mark Kennan is a writer based in the Kansas City area, specializing in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."