The most important rules governing IRA turnovers include the stipulations that the account owner can transfer the funds himself or execute a trustee-to-trustee transfer and that rollovers can only be performed once within a 12-month period, according to the IRS. The laws and rules governing IRA rollovers are available on IRS.gov.
If the IRA account owner chooses to transfer funds himself, he must deposit them into the new account within 60 days of withdrawing, the IRS notes. Ten percent of the amount is withheld as taxes (with exceptions in some situations), and the owner has to cover that amount from another source of funding. A tax event is triggered if the owner misses the 60-day deadline. Sometimes, if the owner can prove he was prevented by circumstances beyond his control from depositing funds within 60 days, this requirement may be waived. Alternatively, the owner may choose to execute a trustee-to-trustee transfer, in which the funds are never released to him and no taxes are withheld on the transferred amount.
As of 2015, an owner can make an IRA rollover only once within a 12-month period, the IRS explains. Additionally, funds cannot be rolled over from an IRA that has received a distribution within the last 12 months. Some types of rollover are exempt from this rule. These include trustee-to-trustee transfers between IRAs, conversions from a traditional to a Roth IRA, and rollovers from an IRA to another plan or vice versa.