If You’re a Fan of Tax Deductions, Consider This Retirement Account

Both Roth and traditional IRAs are great tools everyone should consider to help supplement other sources of retirement income, such as a 401(k) or Social Security. The main difference between Roth and traditional IRAs is when you get your tax break. You contribute after-tax money into a Roth IRA and can take tax-free withdrawals after turning 59 1/2. Your traditional IRA contributions are also after-tax, but there’s a possibility they may be tax deductible.

The maximum amount you can contribute to an IRA, both Roth and traditional combined, is $6,000. Those 50 or older can add an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution. If you’re a fan of tax deductions, a traditional IRA could be just the account for you.

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How much you’re able to deduct

The amount you’re eligible to deduct from your taxes depends on three things: your income, your tax filing status, and if you’re covered by a retirement plan at work. Here’s how much of your traditional IRA contributions you can deduct if you are covered by a retirement plan at work:

Tax Filing Status
Income
Deduction Allowed
Single
$68,000 or less
Full amount
Single
$68,001 to $77,999
Partial amount
Single
$78,000 or more
No deduction allowed
Married, filing jointly
$109,000 or less
Full amount
Married, filing jointly
$109,001 to $128,999
Partial amount
Married, filing jointly
$129,000 or more
No deduction allowed
Married, filing separately
Less than $10,000
Partial amount
Married, filing separately
$10,000 or more
No deduction allowed

Data source: IRS.

Here’s how much of your traditional IRA contributions you can deduct if you are not covered by a retirement plan at work:

Tax Filing Status
Income
Deduction Allowed
Single
Any amount
Full amount
Married, filing jointly or separately (with a spouse not covered by a work plan)
Any amount
Full amount
Married, filing jointly (with a spouse who is covered by a work plan)
$204,000 or less
Full amount
Married, filing jointly (with a spouse who is covered by a work plan)
$204,001 to $213,999
Partial amount
Married, filing jointly (with a spouse who is covered by a work plan)
$214,000 or more
No deduction allowed
Married, filing separately (with a spouse who is covered by a work plan)
Less than $10,000
Partial amount
Married, filing separately (with a spouse who is covered by a work plan)
$10,000 or more
No deduction allowed

Data source: IRS.

When it makes sense to go with a traditional IRA

If these are your prime earning years and this is likely the highest tax bracket you’ll be in, it makes sense to go with a traditional IRA while the tax break is most valuable. Unlike a Roth IRA, you’ll owe taxes on any traditional IRA withdrawals in retirement. Since your tax bracket will likely be lower then if you’re at the height of your career now, you’re better off taking the tax deduction and paying taxes while in the lower tax bracket in retirement.

Just because you’re saving for retirement doesn’t mean you can’t get benefits in the present. Using a traditional IRA can lower your tax bill while also putting you closer to your long-term financial goals. That’s a win-win.

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