How Much Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA?

It mostly depends on your age and your income

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Roth IRAs are designed around the idea that you’d rather pay more in taxes in your younger years, while you’re still working, than in your older years when you’re living off your retirement savings. You can’t deduct your Roth contributions as you can with traditional IRA contributions, but you can take the money out tax-free in retirement, including its earnings in many cases.

Roth IRA contributions may qualify for a tax credit at the time you make them, but the credit and your contributions are both capped based on your income and filing status. You can only contribute a certain amount to an IRA each year. Learn more about how to maximize the contributions you choose to make to a Roth IRA.

Key Takeaways

  • Roth IRAs share a $6,000 contribution limit with traditional IRAs as of 2022. It’s a collective limit for all IRAs of either type.
  • The contribution limit for a Roth IRA increases to $7,000 for taxpayers who are age 50 or older.
  • Your contribution amount can decrease or even be eliminated entirely if your earnings exceed a certain number.
  • The limits for Roth 401(k) plans are much more generous.

Roth IRA Contribution Limits

Roth IRA contributions are limited to $6,000 a year as of 2022, unless you’re age 50 or older. You can make a “catch-up” contribution of an additional $1,000 a year in this case, or $7,000 annually, as you count down your years to retirement.

But there’s a catch. The limit is less if you don’t earn at least $6,000 or $7,000 a year. The Internal Revenue Code provides that you can contribute up to these amounts, depending on your age or your taxable income for the year, whichever is less.

Roth IRA contribution limits don’t apply to rollover contributions from one retirement account to another.

Your contributions are also capped if you earn over a certain threshold. The amount you can save each year is reduced based on your modified adjusted gross income. Here’s how that works out in tax year 2022:

Filing Status Modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)  Roth IRA Contribution Limit
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) Up to $204,000 Up to the limit ($6,000/$7,000)
Married filing jointly  or qualifying widow(er) $204,000 to $214,000 Reduced amount
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) More than $214,000 No contribution
Married filing separately Less than $10,000 Reduced amount
Married filing separately $10,000 and above No contribution
Single, head of household, or married filing separately Less than $129,000 Up to the limit ($6,000/$7,000)
Single, head of household, or married filing separately $129,000 to $144,000 Reduced amount
Single, head of household, or married filing separately Over $144,000 No contribution

The married filing separately limits apply only if you lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year. You can contribute up to the limits for a single individual if you and your spouse lived separate and apart, even if you haven’t legally divorced yet.

Married taxpayers who file joint returns get a bit of a break when it comes to the rule that annual earnings have to exceed these limits. You can contribute up to the amount of your combined earnings (or $6,000/$7,000, whichever is less) if your spouse worked, even if you didn’t earn any income.

Roth 401(k) Plans

The “Roth” designation on any account indicates that your contributions aren’t tax-deductible in the year you make them. This rule applies to employer-sponsored 401(k) plans as well. Earnings on these accounts are typically tax-free in retirement.

The limits for these Roth 401(k) savings plans are much more generous than for Roth IRAs: $20,500 in 2022. The catch-up contribution limit for those who are age 50 or older is $6,500, for a total of $27,000.

Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA Contributions

The $6,000 or $7,000 limit or the cap of the amount of your taxable income does not apply to each IRA account individually. You might have a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, but you can’t contribute $6,000 to each of them. The cap applies to all your IRAs collectively.

Keep in mind that traditional IRAs are tax-deferred savings plans. You’re simply delaying paying taxes on the money you contribute. The earnings of the money you contributed is taxable, too, unlike with the Roth IRA option.

The Saver’s Tax Credit

Traditional and Roth IRAs share another common feature: The Saver’s Tax Credit is available to those who contribute to either of these types of IRAs. The credit is equal to 50%, 20%, or 10% of your contributions up to $2,000 in 2022, or up to $4,000 if you’re married and filing a joint return. Your tax credit would be $1,000 if you’re single and you qualify for the 50% credit.

There are income limits to this tax credit, too, and these are much more stringent than those that apply to your contributions. The percentages are based on the following adjusted gross incomes:

Filing Status Adjusted Gross Income  Contribution Percentage
Married filing jointly Up to $41,000 50%
Married filing jointly $41,001 to $44,000 20%
Married filing jointly $44,001 to $68,000 10%
Head of household Up to $30,750 50%
Head of household $30,751 to $33,000 20%
Head of household $33,001 to $51,000 10%
All other filers Up to $20,500 50%
All other filers $20,501 to $22,000 20%
All other filers $22,001 to $34,000 10%

Married taxpayers who file separate returns fall into the “all other filers” category, as do qualifying widow(ers) and single taxpayers.

You must be at least age 18 to claim the Saver’s Credit, and you can’t be a student or claimed as a dependent on anyone else’s tax return.

What To Do if You Contribute Too Much to Your Roth IRA

The rules for contributions are multilayered enough that it can be easy to surpass your contribution limit. If you do, the IRS will tax 6% of the overage for as long as the money remains in your IRA, up to 6% of the value of all your IRAs combined as of the end of the tax year.

You can avoid the tax if you realize your mistake and act quickly enough. You have until the due date for that year's tax return to take the money out again, along with any earnings on that money while it was in your Roth IRA. You would have until April 2023 to pull back excess 2022 contributions, or until October 2023 if you ask the IRS for an extension of time to file your tax return.

Any excess contribution to a Roth IRA is treated as though you never made it in the first place if you withdraw the money in time. You will, however, have to pay tax on any earnings as regular income.

You also have the option of allocating the excess contribution to the current or previous year’s limit if you made it from January through April.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When will Roth contribution limits increase?

Contributions limits have been adjusted to keep pace with inflation since 2009, but they don’t always increase every year. The limit was $5,500 (or $6,500 for those age 50 or older) from 2015 through 2018. It increased to the $6,000/$7,000 limit in tax years 2019 through 2022.

How much of a Roth contribution is tax deductible?

Only contributions to traditional IRAs are tax-deductible in the year you make them. Roth IRAs don’t share this feature, but they’re tax-free when you take the money back in retirement.

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