Can Someone Else Contribute to Your Roth IRA?

What you should know about receiving Roth IRA contributions from someone else

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Roth IRAs are individual retirement accounts that offer tax benefits in retirement. While you won’t get the contribution deductions you get with traditional IRAs, you typically don’t have to pay taxes on your withdrawals after the age of 59 ½. 

So, what if someone is willing to help you build your Roth IRA? Can they contribute money to your account? The short answer is yes. But there are some rules you’ll have to keep in mind. Here’s what you should know. 

Key Takeaways

  • Another person can contribute to your Roth IRA but you’ll need to qualify to make Roth IRA contributions yourself.
  • You must have taxable income equal to or greater than the contribution amount.
  • You also can’t make too much income which disqualifies you from Roth IRA contributions.
  • Gift taxes won’t apply on contributions alone as they don’t exceed the gift tax exclusion limit. 

How To Contribute to Someone Else’s Roth IRA

If someone wants to contribute money to your Roth IRA, there are two ways they can do so. They can simply give the money to you so you can add it to the account, or you can give them the details needed to add money directly into the account. 

Each financial institution has its own instructions on how to fund a Roth IRA. For example, if your Roth IRA is at Schwab, you can fund the account with a wire transfer, a check deposit, or an electronic funds transfer (EFT). 

Recipients Must Qualify for Roth IRA Contributions

While it is possible to gift Roth IRA contributions, not every recipient will be eligible. They’ll need to qualify for Roth IRA contributions. That means you must earn some taxable compensation but can’t earn more than the maximum limit for Roth IRA contributions. 

Taxable compensation refers to income such as wages, salaries, bonuses, tips, self-employment income, and professional fees. Income not counted by the IRS includes profit from owning a property such as rental income, as well as income from interest, dividends, annuities or pensions. Another person won’t be able to contribute more to your Roth IRA than you make in taxable compensation during the year. 

For example, if you make $5,000 in 2022, another person would only be able to contribute up to $5,000 to your Roth IRA, even though the maximum contribution limit set by the IRS is $6,000.

Contributions over the allowed limit will be subject to a 6% penalty tax on the excess amount for each year that it remains in the account. 

You also can’t make too much income. You will only be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, or have someone contribute on your behalf, if you make under a certain amount. The limits vary depending on a taxpayer’s filing status as follows:

Filing Status Modified AGI Contribution Limit
Married filing jointly Less than $204,000 $6,000 or $7,000, depending on age
Married filing jointly $204,000-$213,999 Reduced contribution limit
Married filing jointly $214,000 or more Not eligible
Married filing separately (while living with a spouse) $0 to $10,000 Reduced contribution limit
Married filing separately  (while living with a spouse)
$10,000 or more Not eligible
Single, head of household, married filing separately (not living with spouse) Less than $129,000 $6,000 or $7,000, depending on age
Single, head of household, married filing separately (not living with spouse) $129,000 to $143,999 Reduced contribution limit
Single, head of household, married filing separately (not living with spouse) $144,000 or more Not eligible

Minors Will Need a Custodial Roth IRA Account

It is possible to contribute to a Roth IRA account for a minor as there is no age requirement to open a Roth IRA. However, minors will need a custodial account and will still need to meet the income requirements. A custodial account is an account set up by a parent or legal guardian on behalf of the child. The funds belong to the child and become available to them once they turn 18 years old (or 21 in some states).

Contributing to Your Spouse’s Roth IRA Account

If you’re married and filing taxes jointly but your spouse is not earning any income, you may be able to contribute to their individual Roth account using a spousal Roth IRA

Typically, a person needs to have earned income to be eligible for a Roth account in most cases, including those for minors. For a spousal Roth IRA, your spouse doesn't need to have earned income as long as you do.

Annual contribution limits apply to all IRAs, including spousal Roth IRAs.

Gift Taxes Could Apply

If someone contributes to your Roth IRA, it will count as a gift for tax purposes. The giver doesn’t have to pay gift taxes as long as they haven’t gifted you more than the exclusion amount for the year ($16,000 per person in 2022). So if someone contributes the maximum of $6,000 to your Roth IRA, there won’t be any taxes. However, if they gift other amounts to you in the same year that exceed the $16,000 limit, they would pay taxes on the amount over the excluded amount.

There’s also a lifetime gift tax exclusion, which limits the total amount you can gift to people. In 2022, the limit is $12.06 million.

What To Know About Contributing to Someone Else’s Roth IRA

If someone is willing to contribute to your Roth IRA account, it’s fairly easy for them to do so. However, make sure you qualify for those contributions first to avoid penalties and other issues. 

Asking friends or family members for Roth IRA contributions can be a smart move, especially in your younger years when it’s difficult to save for retirement yourself. A gift of Roth IRA  is a gift that keeps on giving, which can set you up for a more comfortable financial future. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can you contribute to a Roth IRA?

With Roth IRAs, you can continue to make contributions as long as you have taxable income. They don’t have the cut-off date at 70 ½ like traditional IRAs.

What happens if you contribute too much to a Roth IRA?

If you exceed the contribution limit on a Roth IRA and don’t fix it before the date your tax return is due, you will be charged a 6% penalty on the excess amount. That penalty will continue for each year that you leave the excess contribution in the account.

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