Still Time to Make 2016 IRA Contributions

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

By: Samantha L. Pahlow

Even though we just moved our clocks ahead, in the world of IRAs time stands still (at least for a little while yet), because there's still time to make a 2016 regular IRA contribution. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2016 ($6,500 if you were age 50 by December 31, 2016). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2016 is April 18, 2017.

 

You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don't exceed the annual limit (or, if less, 100% of your earned income). You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2016, even if your spouse didn't have any 2016 income.

Traditional IRA

You can contribute to a traditional IRA for 2016 if you had taxable compensation and you were not age 70½ by December 31, 2016.   However, if you or your spouse was covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2016, then your ability to deduct your contributions may be limited or eliminated depending on your filing status and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) (see table below). Even if you can't deduct your traditional IRA contribution, you can always make nondeductible (after-tax) contributions to a traditional IRA, regardless of your income level. However, in most cases, if you're eligible, you'll be better off contributing to a Roth IRA instead of making nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA.

 

2016 income phase-out ranges for deductibility of traditional IRA contributions:

Your IRA deduction is reduced if your MAGI is: 

Your IRA deduction is eliminated if your MAGI is:

1. Covered by an employer-sponsored plan and filing as:

 

 

Single/Head of household

$61,000 to $71,000

$71,000 or more

Married filing jointly

$98,000 to $118,000

$118,000 or more

Married filing separately

$0 to $10,000

$10,000 or more

2. Not covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but filing joint return with a spouse who is covered by a plan

$184,000 to $194,000

$194,000 or more

 

Roth IRA

You can contribute to a Roth IRA if your MAGI is within certain dollar limits (even if you're 70½ or older). For 2016, if you file your federal tax return as single or head of household, you can make a full Roth contribution if your income is $117,000 or less. Your maximum contribution is phased out if your income is between $117,000 and $132,000, and you can't contribute at all if your income is $132,000 or more. Similarly, if you're married and file a joint federal tax return, you can make a full Roth contribution if your income is $184,000 or less. Your contribution is phased out if your income is between $184,000 and $194,000, and you can't contribute at all if your income is $194,000 or more. And if you're married filing separately, your contribution phases out with any income over $0, and you can't contribute at all if your income is $10,000 or more.

 

2016 income phase-out ranges for determining  ability to contribute to a Roth IRA:

Your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is reduced if your MAGI is:

Your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is eliminated if your MAGI is:

Single/Head of household

$117,000 to $132,000

$132,000 or more

Married filing jointly

$184,000 to $194,000

$194,000 or more

Married filing separately

$0 to $10,000

$10,000 or more

 

Even if you can't make an annual contribution to a Roth IRA because of the income limits, there's an easy workaround. If you haven't yet reached age 70½, you can simply make a nondeductible contribution to a traditional IRA, and then immediately convert that traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Keep in mind, however, that you'll need to aggregate all traditional IRAs and SEP/SIMPLE IRAs you own — other than IRAs you've inherited — when you calculate the taxable portion of your conversion. (This is sometimes called a "back-door" Roth IRA.)

Finally, keep in mind that if you make a contribution to a Roth IRA for 2016 — no matter how small — by your tax return due date, and this is your first Roth IRA contribution, your five-year holding period for identifying qualified distributions from all your Roth IRAs (other than inherited accounts) will start on January 1, 2016.

 


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