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A tale of two IRAs

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Q: I have two IRAs that I established years ago. One was started for deductible contributions when I was young; the other has nondeductible contributions. Now that I'm over age 591/2, I want to withdraw some of that money. Can I withdraw money only from the nondeductible IRA? R.R.S., Key Biscayne, Fla.

A: You can physically withdraw the funds as you want, but the withdrawal will be taxed as if it came proportionately from your collective IRAs. Say you have $75,000 in the deductible IRA and $25,000 in the nondeductible one. If you withdraw $1,000, $750 will be treated as coming from the deductible IRA and $250 from the nondeductible IRA, even if you actually withdraw all the money from the nondeductible account. So, you can't reduce the tax bite with your strategy.

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