What are the rules for IRA contributions?


It depends on what kind of IRA you're talking about. Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are each subject to different contribution rules.

You're allowed to contribute up to $6,000 to a traditional IRA in 2021 (unchanged from 2020), as long as you're under age 70½ and you have earned income. In addition, if you're age 50 or older, you can make an extra "catch-up" contribution of $1,000 in 2021. You can make your annual contribution up to April 15 of the following year, either in a series of payments or in one lump sum. The beauty is that practically anyone who has a paying job can set up and contribute to a traditional IRA. Also, if you meet certain conditions, you may be able to contribute an additional $6,000 in 2021 to an IRA in your spouse's name (plus an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution if your spouse is age 50 or older), even if your spouse has little or no income. However, whether or not you can deduct your traditional IRA contributions will depend on several factors, such as your income, your tax filing status, and whether you or your spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored plan. You may be able to deduct all, a portion, or none of your contribution for a given year. You may even qualify for a partial tax credit.

Roth IRAs are in some ways the opposite of traditional IRAs. Contributions to Roth IRAs are never tax deductible, but a tax credit may be available and qualifying distributions will be tax free. Also, even though the same dollar caps on yearly contributions apply to Roth IRAs ($6,000 in 2021, $1,000 catch-up contribution if age 50 or older), not everyone will qualify to take full advantage of a Roth IRA. The amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA (if anything) will be based on your income and filing status. If you do qualify, you may be able to continue contributing to a Roth IRA after age 70½--a feature traditional IRAs don't offer. As with traditional IRAs, you may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA on behalf of your spouse. However, your contribution to a Roth IRA for any tax year must be reduced by contributions made to other IRAs during the same year. For example, your combined annual contribution to all of your IRAs in 2021--Roth and traditional--cannot exceed $6,000 ($7,000 if you're age 50 or older).

Important Note: Equitable believes that education is a key step toward addressing your financial goals, and this discussion serves simply as an informational and educational resource. It does not constitute investment advice, nor does it make a direct or indirect recommendation of any particular product or of the appropriateness of any particular investment-related option. Your unique needs, goals and circumstances require the individualized attention of your financial professional. 

Information provided has been prepared from sources and data we believe to be accurate, but we make no representation as to its accuracy or completeness. Data and information is not intended for solicitation or trading purposes. Please consult your tax and legal advisors regarding your individual situation. Neither Equitable nor any of the data provided by Equitable or its content providers, such as Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc., shall be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for the actions taken in reliance therein. By accessing the Equitable website, a user agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of the site including not redistributing the information found therein.

Please be advised that this article is not intended as legal or tax advice. Accordingly, any tax information provided in this article is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer. The tax information was written to support the promotion or marketing of the transactions(s) or matter(s) addressed and you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (NY, NY). Securities are offered through Equitable Advisors, LLC, NY, NY 212-314-4600 (member FINRA / SIPC).  Equitable and Equitable Advisors are affiliated companies, do not provide legal or tax advice and are not affiliated with Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc.

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