How Much Can You Contribute to a Traditional IRA in 2019?

Contribution Limits for 2019 and How Much You Can Deduct

Retirement forms
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You can contribute $6,000—or $7,000 if you're age 50 or older—to an IRA in 2019. Contributions to a traditional IRA are tax-deferred so you won't pay income tax on the money you invest until you withdraw it and its earnings. There are contribution limits, however. 

Unlike traditional IRAs that are funded with pretax dollars, Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars. You won't have to pay income taxes on this money when you withdraw it because it was already taxed before you made your contributions.

Dollar Limits for Contributions 

You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, but the total annual contributions to all  your traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than $6,000 ($7,000 if you’re age 50 or older) or your taxable compensation for the year if your compensation was less than this dollar limit.

Contribution Requirements 

You can make regular contributions to a traditional IRA up to age 70 1/2, provided that you have earned income. If you're age 50 or older, you can make catch-up contributions of an additional $1,000 in 2019.

Roth IRAs have no age restrictions.

For IRA purposes only, earned income consists of wages reported on a W-2, self-employment income from a business or farm, and alimony. The IRS explains:

"To contribute to a traditional IRA, you must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year. You, and/or your spouse if you file a joint return, must have taxable compensation, such as wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, or net income from self-employment. Taxable alimony and separate maintenance payments received by an individual are treated as compensation for IRA purposes. Compensation doesn't include earnings and profits from property, such as rental income, interest and dividend income, or any amount received as pension or annuity income, or as deferred compensation."

Deadlines for Making Contributions

You can contribute funds to your traditional IRA at any time during the calendar year, and you can also make contributions to an IRA by the first deadline for your tax return, not counting any extensions you might take. For example, IRA contributions for tax year 2018 were due by April 15, 2019.

Where to Claim the Tax Deduction

Report your tax-deductible IRA contribution directly on the first page of Form 1040 or Form 1040A. You don't have to itemize to claim this deduction. It's an adjustment to income, so you can take it in addition to itemizing or claiming the standard deduction for your filing status.

IRA Deduction Phaseouts

Contributions to a traditional IRA might be fully deductible, partially deductible, or entirely nondeductible, depending on whether you and/or your spouse are covered by a retirement plan through your employer.

A taxpayer's income determines whether his IRA deduction will be limited if he's covered by a retirement plan at work. Retirement plans at work include 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and pensions.

You can contribute to a traditional IRA regardless of whether you participate in another retirement plan through your employer or business, but you might not be able to deduct all your traditional IRA contributions if you or your spouse participates in another retirement plan with an employer. You won't be able to deduct all your contributions if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) in 2019 is: 

  • More than $103,000 but less than $123,000 for a married couple filing a joint return or a qualifying widow(er)

  • More than $64,000 but less than $74,000 for a single individual or head of household

  • Less than $10,000 for a married individual filing a separate return

You can determine your MAGI by adding back to your adjusted gross income (AGI) any deductions you took for student loan interest, foreign earned income and housing exclusions, savings bond interest, and employer adoption benefits. Or you can simply use Worksheet 1 in Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements

Your deduction is phased out if your MAGI is more than $189,000 but less than $199,000 if you're married and your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work and you aren’t and if you live with your spouse or file a joint return. If your modified AGI is $199,000 or more, you can’t take a deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA.

Use the chart below to figure out if your IRA deduction might be limited after you've determined your MAGI.

2019 Income Limitations If Covered by Plan at Work

Head of household$64,000$74,000
Qualifying widow/er$103,000$123,000
Married filing separately and the spouses do not live apart all year-0-$10,000
Married filing separately and the spouses do live apart all year$64,000$74,000
Married filing jointly: for a spouse who is covered by a retirement plan$103,000$123,000
Married filing jointly: for a spouse who is not covered by a retirement plan and the other spouse is covered$193,000$203,000
Is your modified AGI less than the "from" amount?In between these amounts?More than the "to" amount?
Full deductionPartial deductionNo deduction