Contribute to an IRA by April 17, claim it for 2017; Things to Remember when Considering Early Withdrawals from Retirement Plans

WASHINGTON —The Internal Revenue Service reminded taxpayers today that it’s not too late to contribute to an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) and still claim it on a 2017 tax return. Anyone with an IRA may be eligible for a tax credit or deduction on their 2017 tax return if they make contributions by April 17, 2018.

This is the sixth in a series of nine IRS news releases called the Tax Time Guide, designed to help taxpayers navigate common tax issues. This year’s tax-filing deadline is April 17.

An IRA is designed to enable employees and the self-employed to save for retirement. Most taxpayers who work are eligible to start a traditional or Roth IRA or add money to an existing account.

Contributions to a traditional IRA are often tax deductible, but distributions are generally taxable. Contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible, but qualified distributions are tax-free. To count for a 2017 tax return, contributions must be made by April 17, 2018. In addition, low- and moderate-income taxpayers making these contributions may also qualify for the Saver’s Credit.

Generally, eligible taxpayers can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA. For someone who was 50 years of age or older at the end of 2017, the limit is increased to $6,500. The same general contribution limit applies to both Roth and traditional IRAs. However, a Roth IRA contribution might be limited based on filing status and income. An individual can’t make regular contributions to a traditional IRA in the year they reach 70½ and older. However, they can still contribute to a Roth IRA and make rollover contributions to a Roth or traditional IRA regardless of age.

If neither the taxpayer nor their spouse was covered for any part of the year by an employer retirement plan, they can take a deduction for total contributions to one or more traditional IRAs up to the contribution limit or 100 percent of the taxpayer’s compensation, whichever is less.

For 2017, if a taxpayer is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is generally reduced if the taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income is between:

  • $0 and $10,000; married filing separately
  • $62,000 and $72,000; single and head of household
  • $99,000 to $119,000; married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er)
  • $186,000 to $196,000; married filing jointly where the IRA contributor is not covered by a workplace retirement plan but is married to someone who is covered

The deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA is claimed on Form 1040, Line 32, or Form 1040A, Line 17. Any nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA must be reported on Form 8606.

Even though contributions to Roth IRAs are not tax deductible, the maximum permitted amount of these contributions is phased out for taxpayers whose modified adjusted gross income is above a certain level:

  • $0 to $10,000; married filing separately
  • $118,000 to $133,000; single and head of household
  • $186,000 to $196,000; married filing jointly

For detailed information on contributing to either Roth or Traditional IRAs, including worksheets for determining contribution and deduction amounts, see Publication 590-A, available on IRS.gov.

Also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, the Saver’s Creditis often available to IRA contributors whose adjusted gross income falls below certain levels. Eligible taxpayers get the credit even if they qualify for other retirement-related tax benefits. Like other tax credits, the Saver’s Credit can increase a taxpayer’s refund or reduce the taxes they owe. The amount of the credit is based on several factors, including the amount contributed to either a Roth or traditional IRA and other qualifying retirement programs.

For 2017, the income limit is:

  • $31,000; single and married filing separate
  • $46,500; head of household
  • $62,000; married filing jointly.

Taxpayers should use Form 8880 to claim the Saver’s Credit, and its instructions have details on figuring the credit correctly.

Taxpayers can find answers to questions, forms and instructions and easy-to-use tools online at IRS.gov 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No appointments required and no waiting on hold.

Early Withdrawals

Many taxpayers may need to take out money early from their Individual Retirement Account or retirement plan. Doing so, however, can trigger an additional tax on early withdrawals. They would owe this tax on top of other income tax they may have to pay. Here are a few key points to know:

  • Early withdrawals. An early withdrawal is taking a distribution from an IRA or retirement plan before reaching age 59½.
  • Additional tax. Taxpayers who took early withdrawals from an IRA or retirement plan must report them when they file their tax return. They may owe income tax on the amount plus an additional 10 percent tax if it was an early withdrawal.
  • Nontaxable withdrawals. The additional 10 percent tax doesn’t apply to nontaxable withdrawals, such as contributions that taxpayers paid tax on before they put them into the plan.
  • Rollover. A rollover happens when someone takes cash or other assets from one plan and puts it in another plan. They normally have 60 days to complete a rollover to make it tax-free.
  • Exceptions. There are many exceptions to the additional 10-percent tax. Some of the rules for retirement plans are different from the rules for IRAs.
  • Disaster Relief. Participants in certain disaster areas may have relieffrom the 10-percent early withdrawal tax on early withdrawals from their retirement accounts.
  • File Form 5329. Taxpayers who took early withdrawals last year may have to file Form 5329,  Additional Taxes on Qualified Plans (including IRAs) and Other Tax-Favored Accounts, with their federal tax returns.

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