An Individual Retirement Account (IRA), as the name would imply, is not its own investment vehicle but rather simply an account. Thus, you can transfer securities into your IRA at any time, as if it were any regular investment account. However, as an IRA is a tax-deferred account, the stock deposit must be a rollover or transfer from another tax-deferred account, and not a deductible contribution, which must be made in cash.
Open an IRA account. Before you can transfer stock into an IRA, you must establish one at a financial services firm. Most banks or brokerage houses should be able to set one up for you if your provide them with basic financial information, such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and beneficiaries. Inform the firm that you wish to transfer stock into the account and ask if there are any special restrictions or requirements.
Bring your stock certificates into your financial services firm. The most secure way to transfer stock into your IRA is to simply bring the physical certificates into the firm. If you are taking your certificates from another IRA account to make your transfer, you have 60 days to make the rollover deposit to avoid taxation on the full value of your stock. Sign the back of the certificates to endorse them over to the firm for your benefit. Inform your firm that this is a transfer, and not a deposit or contribution. Ask for a receipt of your deposit.
Contact the custodian of your stock certificates and request a transfer. If you would rather transfer your stock directly, contact the firm which holds your stock on your behalf and say you want to make a trustee-to-trustee transfer. The delivering firm will request the name of the firm where your IRA is held, your account number, and other firm-specific information.
Monitor your transfer. Whether you deposit your stock in person or electronically, follow the transfer to make sure that your stock arrives in the correct account and in the correct amount. Usually, you can check your account status online, or if you haven't established such a connection with your firm, contact your financial adviser and verify the status of the transfer. You can also check your monthly statements, although you should generally check on your transfer sooner.
- IRS.gov: Tax Topic 451: Individual Retirement Accounts
- FINRA.org: Understanding the Brokerage Account Transfer Process
- IRS.gov: Publication 590: Can You Move Retirement Plan Assets?
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Transferring your Brokerage Account: Tips on Avoiding Delays.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation. “Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS).” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation. “ABOUT ACATS.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- FINRA. “Understanding the Brokerage Account Transfer Process.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- FINRA. “It Pays to Understand Your Brokerage Account Statements and Trade Confirmations.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- FINRA. “1035 Exchanges.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “Variable Annuity Surrender Charges.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- Congress.gov. “H.R.1994 - Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
- FINRA. “Regulatory Notice 09-20.” Accessed May 26, 2020.
John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served for 18 years as an investment counselor before becoming a writing and editing contractor for various private clients. In addition to writing thousands of articles for various online publications, he has published five educational books for young adults.