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How to transfer your IRA to Vanguard

Transferring an IRA is tax-free and pretty much carefree too. When you gather what you need up front, you can do it online in 1-2-3.

A word about IRA transfers & taxes

You can transfer an IRA from one financial company directly into a new or existing IRA at another company (a "trustee-to-trustee" transfer) as often as you need to without any tax consequences. These transfers are convenient electronic transactions with typically no checks involved. If you have a special situation that may not allow for an easy direct transfer, we recommend that you consult a tax advisor.

Transfer your IRA online

Even though an IRA transfer is similar to any account transfer, before you start the process, you may have to fulfill certain requirements for the company holding your IRA.

Step 1

Do the prep work

  • Call your current company to find out if you need to complete any forms or provide any information before you begin the transfer.
  • Have handy a current account statement from the company holding your IRA.
  • Know whether you want to transfer a Roth IRA, traditional IRA, or SEP-IRA. If you have a traditional IRA and want to convert it to a Roth IRA, there are some factors to consider.
  • Get your list of beneficiaries ready. You want your savings to go to those you choose.
  • Keep your Vanguard account number close by (if you have an existing Vanguard IRA).

Step 2

Start your transfer online

You'll get useful tips along the way, but you can call us if you have a question.

You'll need to:

  • Enter the account information requested. From that point on, your instructions will depend on the company holding your account and your account information. Not all IRA transfers follow the same process, so we'll ask only for the information needed to complete your particular transfer.
  • Enter your personal information, such as your birth date and Social Security number, or confirm the information that we've been able to prefill for you if you're already a Vanguard client.
  • Review your information and click Submit. (Note that for some transfers, you may have to download, complete, and print a form or call one of our investment professionals.)

Want an idea of how long a transfer could take?

Step 3

Track your transfer

  • As soon as you initiate your IRA transfer, you'll receive an e-mail that explains how to track the status of your transfer online.
  • Once your IRA transfer is complete, you'll receive an e-mail confirmation from us.

Satisfy your RMD more easily

Nearing age 72? You’ll soon need to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs)—which could be much simpler to plan for if you keep your accounts with one provider.

Due to the CARES Act of 2020, if you've reached RMD age, you do not have to take your RMD for 2020 if you don't want to.

Start your transfer online

We're here to help

Talk with an experienced investment professional.

Call 800-416-5827

Monday to Friday
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern time


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Required minimum distributions (RMDs)

Under federal tax law, most owners of IRAs (except Roth IRAs) and employer-sponsored retirement plans—like 401(k)s and 403(b)s—must withdraw part of their tax-deferred savings each year, starting at age 72 (age 70½ if you attained age 70½ before 2020) or after inheriting an account. If you withdraw less than your RMD, you may owe a 50% penalty tax on the difference.