Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

From TaxAlmanac, A Free Online Resource for Tax Professionals
Note: You are using this website at your own risk, subject to our Disclaimer and Website Use and Contribution Terms.

From TaxAlmanac

Jump to: navigation, search

An individual retirement arrangement, or IRA, is a personal savings plan which allows you to set aside money for retirement, while offering you tax advantages. You may be able to deduct some or all of your contributions to your IRA. Amounts in your IRA, including earnings, generally are not taxed until distributed to you. IRA's cannot be owned jointly. However, any amounts remaining in your IRA upon your death can be paid to your beneficiary or beneficiaries.

To contribute to a traditional IRA, you must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year and you, or your spouse if you file a joint return, must have taxable compensation, such as wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, or net income from self-employment. In addition, taxable alimony and separate maintenance payments received by an individual are treated as compensation for IRA purposes.

Compensation does not include earnings and profits from property, such as rental income, interest and dividend income or any amount received as pension or annuity income, or as deferred compensation.

The most you can contribute to your traditional IRA for 2004 is the smaller of $3,000 or your taxable compensation for the year. For 2004, the $3,000 is increased to $3,500 if you are 50 or older. Keep in mind that contributions on your behalf to a traditional IRA reduce your limit for contributions to a "Roth IRA". If neither you nor your spouse is covered by a qualified retirement plan at any time during the year, your allowable contributions to a traditional IRA will be fully deductible.

If you, your spouse, or both of you are covered by a qualified retirement plan, your IRA deduction may be reduced or eliminated, depending on the amount of your Modified Adjusted Gross Income and your filing status.

Figure your deduction using the worksheets in the Form 1040 Instructions or Form 1040A Instructions or in Publication 590. You cannot claim an IRA deduction on Form 1040EZ (PDF); you must use either Form 1040A or 1040. Form 8606 (PDF) should be attached to your return if any of your IRA contributions are not deductible. If both you and your spouse qualify, each of you may contribute to separate IRAs.

If you file a joint return and your taxable compensation is less than that of your spouse, the most that can be contributed for the year to your IRA is the smaller of the following two amounts:
  1. $3,000 for 2004 or $3,500 for 2004 if you are 50 or older, or;
  2. The total compensation includable in the gross income of both you and your spouse for the year, reduced by the following two amounts: a) Your spouse's IRA contribution for the year to a traditional IRA, and b) Any contributions for the year to a Roth IRA on behalf of your spouse. This means that the total combined contributions that can be made for the year to your IRA and your spouse's IRA can be as much as $6,000 for 2004 or $6,500 for 2004 if only one of you is 50 or older, or $7,000 for 2004 if both of you are 50 or older.

The deadline for making a contribution to a traditional IRA for the year is the due date of your return, not including any extensions of time to file.

You may choose to take the deduction on a return filed before the contribution is actually made, provided you make the contribution by the due date of that return, not including extensions.

Amounts you withdraw from your IRA are fully or partially taxable in the year you withdraw them. If you made only deductible contributions, withdrawals are fully taxable. If you made any non-deductible contributions, withdrawals are partially taxable. Use Form 8606 to figure the taxable portion of withdrawals.

Amounts you withdraw before you reach age 59 1/2 may be subject to a 10% additional tax. You also may owe an excise tax if you do not begin to withdraw minimum distribution amounts by April 1st of the year after you reach age 70 1/2. These additional taxes are figured and reported on Form 5329 (PDF). Refer to Form 5329 Instructions for exceptions to the additional taxes. For information on Roth IRA contributions or distributions, refer to Roth IRA Contributions and Roth IRA Distributions. For information on conversions from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, refer to Publication 590.

More information on IRAs, including information on tax-free transfers and rollovers, is available in Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).


Personal tools