The standard individual retirement account (IRA), which has been regarded for a long time by many Americans as an essential component of their overall retirement preparation efforts, has a possible competitor in the form of the Roth IRA, which provides a potentially appealing option. This is because a Roth IRA enables you, the account holder, to possibly receive tax-free withdrawals of your retirement assets in exchange for contributions that are not tax deductible.
What is an IRA Contribution?
You may put money into an individual retirement account in various ways, including cash, a check, or a direct transfer (one-time or periodically) from your bank or another retirement account. If your company participates in an IRA-based retirement plan, another option is to have money deducted from your paycheck regularly.
Both traditional and Roth IRAs restrict the amount of money that may be contributed each year. Contributions to a traditional IRA are not constrained by yearly income. Depending on your tax filing status, the maximum amount you may contribute to a Roth IRA is determined by your MAGI (modified adjusted gross income).
How Does a Roth IRA Differ from a Traditional IRA?
The tax status of a Roth IRA and a regular IRA is the primary distinction between the two types of IRAs, even though several laws govern each form of account.
- To a limited extent, you can deduct from your taxes the amount of money you put into a traditional IRA. After that, you will be responsible for paying taxes on distributions when you reach retirement age.
- Contributions to a Roth IRA are subject to current income tax at the time of the contribution, but after retirement, withdrawals from the account are tax-free (as long as you stay within the rules and limits of the account).
Basics of a Roth IRA
Because they are made using money already taxed, contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible. The timing of when taxes are paid is the primary distinction that can be made between a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. When contributing to a Roth IRA, the taxes are deducted from your earnings as they occur.
When you reach retirement age, all distributions considered qualifying, including earnings, are exempt from taxation. A qualifying distribution is made at least five years after you have established and contributed to your Roth IRA, at or after the age of 59 ½, your death, or the fact that you are disabled. With a Roth IRA, you can take your contributions whenever you choose without being subject to any penalties for early withdrawal; however, penalties from your bank may still apply.
In addition, the maximum amount that may be contributed to a Roth IRA is determined by the taxpayer’s income. Please visit www.irs.gov if you would like further information on contributions. A maximum annual income can be contributed to a Roth IRA as well. A person is not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA if they have an annual income of more than $139,000 (single or head of household in 2020).
Pros and Cons of a Roth IRA
One of the few strategies available to accumulate wealth free of taxation is using Roth accounts. The Roth individual retirement account is an option for individuals who want to reduce or eliminate their tax liability. The most significant disadvantage is the Roth IRA contribution limits. With an annual income too high, you won’t be able to contribute to a Roth IRA. One might take a couple of different routes to avoid this: You may be eligible to make contributions to a Roth Account through your 401(k) plan, and you are allowed to switch from a regular IRA to a Roth IRA regardless of your income level.
Calculate your reduced Roth contribution
Even though your income limits your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA, it may still be in your interest if you are otherwise qualified.
If you take distributions from your Roth IRA in accordance with the guidelines, you won’t have to pay taxes on the growth of your investments. Even if your contribution is at a lower value, your money will still be donated after taxes, and when you retire, you can get tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA. This is true even if your contribution is at a reduced amount.
In retirement, you’ll also be able to benefit from some significant tax diversification: Because distributions from a Roth IRA aren’t counted as part of your income in retirement, taking money out of that account in addition to a traditional IRA or 401(k) could keep you in a lower tax bracket. This could result in a decrease in taxes withheld from your Social Security benefits and a reduction in your Medicare premiums, which rise in proportion to your income.
Excess Contribution to a Roth
Contributions made to a Roth IRA more than the yearly contribution restrictions might result in a penalty from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has the potential to nullify any investment profits completely.
The good news is, however, that you are permitted to go back in time. If you discover your error before submitting your tax return, you can cancel the extra contributions and any gains you made on them. If you have already submitted your taxes, you can erase any surplus or earnings and submit an updated tax return within the first six months. There are taxes on the earnings, but no penalty will be assessed.
The choice is to lower the contribution for the next year by the amount that was donated in excess; however, you will be subject to a penalty equal to six percent of the excess amount that was contributed if it is allowed to remain in the account.
Keep accurate records of your contributions to your Roth IRA, especially if you have more than one Roth IRA account. Get assistance from an experienced tax professional if you want clarification about the disposal of surplus cash or if you have any issues regarding this matter.
The Bottom Line
Many firms are allowing workers to contribute to Roth accounts through the 401(k) plans they provide for their employees. The wonderful thing about this is that you can contribute any amount up to the 401(k) salary deferral limit, which is a far higher sum than the maximum contribution that may be made to a Roth IRA.