You may be able to treat a contribution made to one type of IRA as having been made to a different type of IRA. This is called recharacterizing the contribution.
To recharacterize a contribution, you generally must have the contribution transferred from the first IRA (the one to which it was made) to the second IRA in a trustee-to-trustee transfer. If the transfer is made by the due date (including extensions) for your tax return for the tax year during which the contribution was made, you can elect to treat the contribution as having been originally made to the second IRA instead of to the first IRA. If you recharacterize your contribution, you must do all three of the following.
Include in the transfer any net income allocable to the contribution. If there was a loss, the net income you must transfer may be a negative amount.
Report the recharacterization on your tax return for the year during which the contribution was made.
Treat the contribution as having been made to the second IRA on the date that it was actually made to the first IRA.
No deduction allowed. You cannot deduct the contribution to the first IRA. Any net income you transfer with the recharacterized contribution is treated as earned in the second IRA. The contribution will not be treated as having been made to the second IRA to the extent any deduction was allowed for the contribution to the first IRA.
Conversion by rollover from traditional to Roth IRA. You receive a distribution from a traditional IRA in one tax year. You then roll it over into a Roth IRA within 60 days of the distribution from the traditional IRA but in the next year. For recharacterization purposes, you would treat this transaction as a contribution to the Roth IRA in the year of the distribution from the traditional IRA.
Effect of previous tax-free transfers. If an amount has been moved from one IRA to another in a tax-free transfer, such as a rollover, you generally cannot recharacterize the amount that was transferred. However, see Traditional IRA mistakenly moved to SIMPLE IRA below.
Recharacterizing to a SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA. Roth IRA conversion contributions from a SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA can be recharacterized to a SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA (including the original SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA).
Traditional IRA mistakenly moved to SIMPLE IRA. If you mistakenly roll over or transfer an amount from a traditional IRA to a SIMPLE IRA, you can later recharacterize the amount as a contribution to another traditional IRA.
Recharacterizing excess contributions. You can recharacterize only actual contributions. If you are applying excess contributions for prior years as current contributions, you can recharacterize them only if the recharacterization would still be timely with respect to the tax year for which the applied contributions were actually made.
You contributed more than you were entitled to in 2015. You cannot recharacterize the excess contributions you made in 2015 after April 18, 2016, because contributions after that date are no longer timely for 2015.
Recharacterizing employer contributions. You cannot recharacterize employer contributions (including elective deferrals) under a SEP or SIMPLE plan as contributions to another IRA. SEPs are discussed in chapter 2 of Pub. 560. SIMPLE plans are discussed in chapter 3 of Pub. 560.
Recharacterization not counted as rollover. The recharacterization of a contribution is not treated as a rollover for purposes of the 1-year waiting period described earlier in this chapter under Rollover From One IRA Into Another . This is true even if the contribution would have been treated as a rollover contribution by the second IRA if it had been made directly to the second IRA rather than as a result of a recharacterization of a contribution to the first IRA.