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TSP Transfers & Rollovers

Key Points:

  • Transfer/rollover – what’s the difference?

  • Requirements for transfers & rollovers


Maybe your career consists of a variety of work experiences and you have retirement accounts outside of your TSP. If that’s the case, you might decide to consolidate your retirement savings into your TSP to simplify your life and/or take advantage of compounding earnings on larger balances. Even if you’re separated from service, you can still initiate a transfer or rollover to your TSP.


Transfers/Rollovers into your TSP


You must have an existing TSP account before you can transfer funds, i.e. you can’t open your TSP with a transfer. The second requirement is that the money you intend to move must be an “eligible rollover distribution” for Federal income tax purposes. How do you know if that’s the case? Check with the administrator of the plan or IRA from which you are moving the money. Of course, you can also consult a tax advisor.


Okay, so you have an existing TSP and you’ve verified that the funds you want to move are an “eligible rollover distribution,” now what? Now you must determine where the money is headed in your TSP – traditional or Roth – and how will it get there?

The TSP will accept into the traditional balance of your TSP account both transfers and rollovers of tax-deferred funds from eligible employer plans, traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), and SIMPLE IRAs.


Qualified and non-qualified Roth distributions from Roth 401(k)s, Roth 403(b)s, and Roth 457 (b)s will be accepted via transfer (not roll over!) into the Roth balance of your TSP. If you don’t already have a Roth balance in your TSP account, the transfer will create one. Heads up…the TSP will not accept rollovers of Roth distributions already paid to you, or transfers or rollovers from Roth IRAs into your Roth TSP balance.


As for how to move money into your TSP there are two methods.

  1. Transfer money directly to the TSP – your IRA or retirement plan sends all or part of the money directly to the TSP. This is known as a transfer. Forms to accomplish a TSP transfer are TSP-60 for tax-deferred amounts and TSP-60-R for Roth money.

  2. Roll over non-Roth money into your TSP – you receive the money from your IRA or plan and deposit it into your TSP yourself. This is called a rollover. The TSP will not accept rollovers of Roth money. And you should be aware that if you decide to do a rollover, you will have 60 days to complete it, beginning on the date that you receive the funds. Any amount that you don’t roll over will be subject to Federal income tax. Form TSP-60 is used for rollover transactions.


Funds moved to your TSP via transfer or rollover will be invested according to your latest contribution allocation. To learn more about transfers and rollovers, visit Methods for Moving Your Money into Your TSP Account at the TSP site.


Action Step:

  • Check out the TSP video on transfers and rollovers here

The information contained herein constitutes general information and is not directed to, designed for, or individually tailored to, any particular individual or circumstance. This article is not intended to be a client-specific analysis or recommendation. Do not use this article as the sole basis for any financial decisions. Consider all relevant information. Information should not be considered as tax or legal advice. You should consult with your tax advisor and/or attorney regarding your individual circumstances.

© 2019 Tangerine Foundation. All rights reserved.


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