Fidelity Investments Transmits Video Series on IRAs to Television Stations as Tax Deadline Approaches

By Sudo, Philip T. | American Banker, April 8, 1986 | Go to article overview

Fidelity Investments Transmits Video Series on IRAs to Television Stations as Tax Deadline Approaches


Sudo, Philip T., American Banker


Fidelity Investments Transmits Video Series on IRAs To Television Stations as Tax Deadline Approaches

NEW YORK -- Of B-rolls, basis, and broken commitments as the IRA deadline nears:

Fidelity Investments transmitted a three-part series on individual retirement accounts via satellite last Thursday, designed to aid independent and local television stations in their IRA coverage as the April 15 tax deadline approaches.

The transmission covered the basic functions of an IRA, transfer and rollover rules, and how to determine one's investment personality.

The production did not overtly promote Fidelity, Fidelity products, or mutual funds, said Peggy Malaspina, a spokeswoman for the Boston-based mutual fund group.

"We consider it a consumer service," Ms. Malaspina said. "We're seeing a lot of customers who are being told to open an IRA who don't understand what they're getting themselves into."

The transmission was designed flexibly, she said, so that it could run on its own or allow local and independent stations to develop their own reports using extra interview "bites" (material not included in the main transmission) and "B-roll" (stock footage without any voice-over) that includes such pictures as a Fidelity Investor Center and the stock exchange trading floor.

The production includes "interviews" with Jane Jamieson, Fidelity vice president for retirement products, Paul O'Leary, vice president of Fidelity Brokerage Services, and William Donoghue, publisher of Money Letter.

"To be honest with you, we don't give every investment option the same amount of time, but they're not pushing mutual funds," Ms. Malaspina said. "If someone has a conservative investment personality, they point out that CDs [certificates of deposit] are the safest choice.

Ms. Malaspina said Fidelity had no indication of how many stations would pick up the transmission though the firm had received several inquiries in advance and had plans for a monitoring service to track the program's usage.

California taxpayers should be aware of the differences between California and federal tax laws governing IRAs, according to Thomas F. Boxler, tax department head with the Sacramento office of Grant Thornton, a national accounting and management consulting firm.

"California legislators have made alterations in the laws governing IRA contributions, making them much more restrictive than federal laws," he said. "While these changes are easy to understand, a mistake can cost the taxpayer time and money."

He cited some key differences:

* Under California law, taxpayers may deduct from gross income the lesser of $1,500 or 15% of their earned income ($1,750 if the IRA also covers a nonworking spouse) paid into an IRA.

* Because of the lower California contribution limitations -- federal laws allow a $2,000 deduction and $2,250 for a spousal IRA -- the $500 potential difference is used to form a "basis." The basis grows with each IRA contribution until retirement age. As the money is withdrawn, the income on the IRA is taxes, less the amount of the accumulated basis. …

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