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How to get a tax break for individual retirement account contributions


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There’s still time to make a pretax individual retirement account contribution for 2022 — and possibly trim your tax bill or boost your refund — if you qualify.

For 2022, the IRA contributions limit was $6,000, with an extra $1,000 for investors age 50 and older, and the tax deadline this year is April 18 for most Americans.

You can make your 2022 IRA contribution through the April tax deadline in 2023, as long as you designate the deposit for tax year 2022. But you need to know the IRA deductibility rules before making a contribution, experts say.

More from Smart Tax Planning:

Here’s a look at more tax-planning news.

“The deductibility rules for pretax IRA contributions can be confusing,” said certified financial planner Kevin Brady, vice president at Wealthspire Advisors in New York.

That’s because eligibility depends on three factors: your filing status, modified adjusted gross income and workplace retirement plan participation, he said.

How to know if you qualify for the tax break

The 2022 income thresholds for IRA deductibility

“It’s important to understand there are deductibility limitations,” said Malcolm Ethridge, a CFP and executive vice president of CIC Wealth in Rockville, Maryland. With a workplace plan, some or all of your contributions may not be deductible, depending on earnings.

For 2022, single investors with a workplace retirement plan may claim a tax break for their entire IRA contribution if their modified adjusted gross income is $68,000 or less.

Although there’s a partial deduction before reaching $78,000, the tax break disappears after meeting that threshold.

Even if you maxed out the plan at your current company, your income could still be low enough to make a tax-deductible [IRA] contribution.

Malcolm Ethridge

Executive vice president of CIC Wealth

Married couples filing together can get the full benefit with $109,000 or less in income, and they can receive a partial tax break before hitting $129,000.

You can see the full IRS chart for 2022 on IRA deductibility here.

“Even if you maxed out the plan at your current company, your income could still be low enough to make a tax-deductible [IRA] contribution,” Ethridge said.

How to know if a pretax IRA contribution makes sense

Of course, just because you qualify for a deduction doesn’t mean you should make the pretax IRA contribution, Hall said.

Before making the deposit, investors need to weigh their investment goals, along with their current tax brackets versus expected tax bracket in retirement, she said.

Plus, you may consider your other buckets of retirement savings — and the tax consequences upon withdrawal, such as capital gains, regular income taxes or tax-free income. 

“Yes, you can benefit from the deduction today,” Hall said. But you may opt for further tax diversification by adding more to another type of account, she said.

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