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Having trouble with an IRA? Read on . . .

Q. I have been asking a brokerage firm to close two individual retirement accounts for more than a year. I wish to deposit the value of those accounts in another active IRA I have elsewhere.

The brokerage does not even acknowledge my requests. What action can be taken to get this done?

A. The easy way should be through a trustee-to-trustee transfer. Using that method, you deal only with the outfit where you have your other IRA, be it a brokerage, bank, savings and loan association, insurance company or whatever.

That IRA trustee will give you forms to sign, instructing that negligent brokerage to send along the money in the two accounts.

The "net worth" entries in the statements you enclosed in your letter show there is $309 in one account and $125.49 in the other _ both in money market mutual funds. So, the transfer should be accomplished in short order _ certainly no more than a week or two.

If it's not, file a complaint. The brokerage, one of the nation's largest, is a member of the New York Stock Exchange. Your gripe should be directed to the Exchange; the address is 11 Wall St., New York, N.Y. 10005.

Q. My IRA, which has a current value of $21,033.15, is with a large brokerage firm. A bank in Boston had been the IRA trustee. I received a letter, dated Dec. 13, informing me that a "successor trustee" has been named: a bank in Denver.

That bank's fees are much higher than the fees I previously paid. Based on the value of my account, the annual administration fee would be $141.14.

The letter also lists a partial withdrawal fee of 1 percent, with a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $100. It says this fee will not apply to "distributions in the event of death, disability, retirement on or after age 59{ or for annuitized payments." Big deal!

Besides that, there is a 1 percent termination fee, with a $100 minimum and $300 maximum.

The fees, which went into effect Jan. 1, seem extremely excessive. It appears the bank is the only one profiting. Can I reduce these fees? If so, how?

A. You get no argument from me. The entire fee schedule, which you sent along, is outrageous. You can lower your costs by transferring your IRA.

Each retirement plan sponsor and trustee sets its own fees. Those charges vary widely. My blue-eyed-finance officer and I pay $10 annual fees on each of our IRA and Keogh retirement plans.

At this point, you will probably be stuck with those higher 1992 fees. However, you can argue that you did not receive the letter informing you of the higher charges until too late to move your retirement nest egg before the end of 1991.

Q. I need to know the rules covering taking money out of my IRA after I reach 59{. What restrictions apply?

A. None whatsoever, as far as taxes are concerned. Once you turn 59{, you can take any amount you please out of your IRA _ in a lump sum or in installments as you see fit.

You will, of course, have to pay regular income tax. If you took tax deductions for the annual contributions you made to the IRA, every dollar, dime and penny you withdraw will be subject to income tax. If you made non-deductible contributions, the withdrawals coming from that source will be non-taxable. But the earnings on non-deductible contributions will be taxable, just like deductible contributions.

After you pass age 70{, you will be required to make IRA withdrawals, based on your life expectancy or the joint life expectancy of you and your beneficiary.

If your IRA is in certificates of deposit and you take money out before a CD reaches its maturity date, the bank might or might not levy a penalty. That's separate from taxes.

William Doyle welcomes written questions, but will be able to give answers only through the column. Address questions to William Doyle, King Features Syndicate, 235 E 45th St., New York, N.Y. 10017.

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