INDIVIDUAL RETIREMENT ARRANGEMENT (IRA)

An IRA is a personal savings plan that offers you tax advantages for setting aside money for your retirement.  There are two types of IRAs: traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs.  Which IRA you choose for your own retirement plan will depend on the amount and type of income you have now and what you expect to receive when you retire.

Contributions to traditional IRAs may be fully or partially deductible or not deductible at all. This depends on your income level and whether you are covered by your employer’s retirement plan, such as a 401(k).  Generally, amounts in your traditional IRA, including earnings and deductible contributions, are not taxed until they are distributed.

On the other hand, Roth IRA contributions are not deductible in the year contributed; however, qualified Roth IRA withdrawals, including the earnings, are not taxable in the year distributed.

The contribution limit to a traditional IRA and/or a Roth IRA is generally up to $5,500 for each taxpayer.  Taxpayers age 50 or over can contribute up to $6,500.  The maximum an individual can contribute to any type of IRA is $5,500 (or $6,500 if age 50 or over).

Contributions to a Roth IRA will reduce the amount that can be contributed to a traditional IRA and vice versa.  The amount contributed to any IRA must be equal to or less than the amount of earned income on the individual or joint return.  Earned income includes wages, salaries, commissions, self-employment income, and, only for the purpose of IRAs, any alimony received.

 

TRADITIONAL IRAs

No contributions are allowed to a traditional IRA in and after the year you turn age 70 1/2.  At that age, there is a required minimum distribution (RMD) that must be withdrawn each year.

When you are already covered by an employer retirement plan, deductibility of your allowed contribution amount is phased out based on the filing status and AGI.  At the higher amount, no deduction is allowed but nondeductible contributions can still be made.

The AGI phase-out range has increased for 2013 to:
• $95,000 - $115,000 for married persons filing jointly and qualifying widow(er)s
• $0 - $10,000 for married persons filing separately (if lived with spouse during the year)
• $59,000 - $69,000 for persons filing single and head of household

Special limits apply if you are not covered by an employer retirement plan but your spouse is. If you are not covered by an employer plan, your traditional IRA contribution is fully deductible.

 

ROTH IRAs

The Roth IRA contribution can be up to $5,500 (or up to $6,500 if you are age 50 or over). There is no deduction allowed on the tax return.  Your contribution amount to a Roth IRA is limited when your adjusted gross income reaches $110,000 ($173,000 for MFJ or QW).  Unlike a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA can be made after age 70 ½ and you are not required to take distributions at any age.

 

COMBAT PAY IS ELIGIBLE FOR IRA CONTRIBUTIONS

Members of the armed forces who have served in a combat zone can make contributions to their IRAs even if the compensation on which the contribution is based is excluded from gross income.  This retroactive provision also allows these military taxpayers to make IRA contributions for tax years 2004 and 2005, based on their excluded combat zone compensation for those years.

 

CONVERTING A TRADITIONAL IRA TO A ROTH IRA

If you are not married filing separately and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $100,000 or less, you can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. You must pay taxes on all of the distribution that you convert, except on any nondeductible contributions you may have made to the traditional IRA.

 

WITHDRAWALS FROM TRADITIONAL IRAs

Generally, if you are under age 59 ½, you must pay a 10% additional tax on money you withdraw from your traditional IRA. This tax is in addition to regular income tax you pay on the distribution amount that is included in your income.

Some exceptions to the 10% additional tax include: paying unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income, receiving a decedent’s IRA as a beneficiary, using the distribution to buy, build or rebuild a first home (up to $10,000), paying qualified education expenses or due to total and permanent disability.

As the owner of a traditional IRA, you must start receiving distributions by April 1 of the year following the year you reach age 70 ½. If the required minimum distribution amount is not distributed, a 50% excise tax is charged.

 

WITHDRAWALS FROM ROTH IRAs

You are not required to take distributions from your Roth IRA at any age. Qualified distributions, including earnings, from your Roth IRA are not included in your income. A qualified distribution is one made after the Roth IRA has been established for 5 tax years and made on or after the date you reach age 59 ½, made because you are disabled, used to pay qualified first-time homebuyer expenses or other allowable exceptions. Early distributions from Roth IRAs are subject to 10% additional tax based on the taxable amount of the distribution.

 

RETIREMENT SAVINGS CONTRIBUTION CREDIT

You may be able to claim a tax credit for a percentage of your qualified retirement plan contributions, such as contributions to your traditional or Roth IRA. The credit percentage is determined by your adjusted gross income and filing status.

 

Yang & Associates, Ltd. professionals are available for your tax needs. Please call your local office for further information.