Still time to set up Roth IRA for tax year 2000

Q: I know I qualify for a Roth IRA. But by what date do I have to have it set up? Is it the same as for a traditional IRA? Should I call one of my current mutual-fund providers and have them set it up for me? S.R., via e-mail

A: According to a spokesman for Fidelity Investments in Boston, you have until April 15 of this year to set up your Roth to accept contributions for the tax year 2000. That is the same as for a traditional IRA.

You can also make dollar contributions into the account until April 15. If you are transferring money from an existing traditional IRA to a Roth, however, you would have had to set up the account by Dec. 31, 2000, to qualify for the year 2000 tax form.

As for where to set up the account, it's a matter of taste - usually based on where you can get the best earnings. Many investors, for purposes of simplicity, set up their IRA with their main mutual-fund provider.

Q: I am concerned about a bank account I have. It has been inactive for seven months. I set up a credit line to co-exist with my bank account. Could the bank close my account if I only have a minimum amount of money in the account? If so, how would I regain my account's active status with the co-existing credit line? B.T., Tracy, Calif.

A: According to cursory interviews with several randomly selected banks, your account might possibly be subject to closure, or delinked from the credit line, if it falls below a preset minimum or fails to meet other requirements such as insufficient activity. Usually the bank will contact you first, however. Call your bank for details.

Q: My wife takes in some money working at home, but it is more of a hobby than a job. It costs me more than she makes. What is the best way to go about filing the income information. I understand I can't declare a home-business loss indefinitely. D.O., Sarasota, Fla.

A: Check out IRS publication 587, "Business Use of Your Home." You can download it from the Internal Revenue Service's website at

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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