What Are the Rules for IRS Contributions?


Saving for retirement can be hard work, but the good news is that you can take advantage of tax-advantaged savings plans like an IRA. When you put money in a traditional IRA, you are not taxed on the invested amount. It can help you save money both on taxes and for your retirement. You are instead taxed when you withdraw the money during retirement. However, there are rules for IRA contributions for each year. This guide will help you understand the rules and how they apply to you.

Traditional vs. Roth IRAs

There are two types of IRA accounts. A traditional IRA allows you to contribute money pre-tax, but you pay taxes when you withdraw later. A Roth IRA allows you to contribute money that has already been taxed, but when you withdraw you don’t pay taxes on the amount you get.

Who can open an IRA account? Anyone can. You’ll want to look around at different companies like Vanguard or Fidelity to see who has the best IRA accounts for you. Many people love Roth IRAs because the increase in value is not subject to taxes. When it comes to IRA contribution rules, the IRS groups both traditional and Roth IRAs together.

2019 Contribution Limits for IRAs

The IRS adjusts the contribution limits each year. Sometimes the changes are large, and sometimes they decide to not change anything. In 2019, the maximum you can contribute all traditional and Roth IRAs combined is $6,000 ($7,000 if you’re 50 or older) or your taxable compensation for the year.

In other words, if you have a business with a lot of write-offs and manage to get your taxable compensation down to $4,000, you cannot contribute more than $4,000 to your IRAs. You can have a variety of types of investments in your IRA. You might choose a mix of stocks and mutual funds, or select an IRA CD. With a CD, you’ll benefit from higher interest rates on IRA accounts. You can manage your IRA with an online IRA account or directly through an investment advisor.

Roth IRA Limits Related to Income

The general limit applies to both traditional and Roth IRAs. However, there are additional IRA contribution rules for Roth IRAs. The IRS looks at your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) to see if your Roth IRA limit will be lower.

For married filing jointly, if your AGI is below $193,000, you can do the full limit. If you have an AGI larger than $193,000 but less than $203,000, you can contribute less. If your AGI is above $203,000, you cannot use a Roth IRA to save for retirement. There are separate AGI limits for married filing separately, single, and other filing statuses. Be sure you know the exact numbers for your situation.

Age Limits on IRA Contributions

IRAs are a great tool to save for retirement, but there are limitations on how old you can be to use the traditional tax-deferred IRA. You cannot continue to use a traditional IRA to save money once you are age 70 ½ or older. However, you can still use a post-tax Roth IRA contribution no matter how old you are. Wondering how much you can get out? An IRA withdrawal calculator can help.

Why are There Limits on IRA Contributions?

The IRS sets limits on how much people can contribute to traditional and Roth IRAs to keep the wealthy from benefiting more than the average worker. IRA contributions can significantly decrease taxable income, and the IRS wants to make sure that folks who can afford to put large amounts into this type of “tax haven” aren’t able to take an unfair advantage. The purpose of an IRA is to save for retirement. For most people, the existing limits will not hinder the ability to save appropriately for the future.