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How is a Roth IRA Different from a Traditional IRA?

The most basic difference is that the Roth contributions are made after-tax while the Traditional IRA contributions are usually deductible from income. Both Roth and Traditional IRAs provide for tax-deferred growth of your assets. However, the contributions you make into your IRA are pretax (or, more accurately, tax-deductible), and contributions you make to your Roth IRA are after-tax. The annual contribution limits for each are usually the same, and, in fact, a person can contribute up to this amount in either of these combined in a given year. Continue reading...

How Do Deductible and Non-Deductible IRAs Differ?

It is possible to make non-deductible contributions to an IRA, even if you have a qualified plan at work. Traditional IRAs are a good place to stash retirement money because of the tax treatment. Some people will choose to make contributions even when they are not deductible, which gives us two kinds of Traditional IRAs: deductible and non-deductible. Deductible IRAs provide a way to lower your taxes because you can deduct contributions to your IRA from your income. Nondeductible IRAs do not allow you to deduct your contributions, but they still retain their tax-deferred growth. Unlike a Roth, these after-tax contributions will be taxed upon withdrawal as income. Continue reading...

What is a Traditional IRA?

A Traditional IRA holds money tax-deferred until retirement. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is an account which allows tax-deferred growth of assets. As its name implies, an IRA has to be opened in the name of the individual. A person can contribute to one, up to the annual limit, and deduct the entire amount from his or her taxes unless they are prevented from taking deductions due to participation in a workplace retirement plan and having income that exceeds certain limits. Continue reading...

What Part of the Contribution into My IRA is Tax-Deductible?

Traditional IRAs can get interesting if you or a spouse is covered by a qualified plan at work. You are able to deduct all of your contributions into a Traditional IRA as long as you (or your spouse) are not a participant in an employer-sponsored retirement program. If either of you are, there are certain regulations you should be aware of. The amount of your contribution that can be tax-deductible is determined by your (and your spouse’s) modified adjustable gross income (MAGI). Continue reading...

When are My IRA Withdrawals Penalty Free?

The surest way to make tax-free withdrawals is to wait until you are older than 59½, but there are a few other ways. If you are 59½ or older, you can make penalty-free withdrawals. Of course, you will need to pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw from your Traditional IRA. There is a 10% penalty assessed by the IRS on early withdrawals (withdrawals made before age 59½) and these are generally not a good idea. Continue reading...

What are the IRA Contribution Limits?

The IRS adjusts the contribution limits year to year to accommodate cost-of-living adjustments. There are limits to how much money you can deposit annually into your IRA, and these limits are adjusted for cost-of-living by the IRS. These limits change at least every few years, so you will want to check the current IRS tables on their website. There are full deduction limits, and there are also limitations that may make some or all of these contributions non-deductible. Continue reading...

Who Can Put Money into an IRA?

There are some income limits and contribution limits on who can contribute to an IRA. Generally speaking, as long as you or your spouse is earning taxable income, you can contribute money to an IRA, be it a Roth or a Traditional IRA. There are limits at which you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA (in 2016, the limit is $132,000 for a single filer and $194,000 for a married couple). There are also income limits at which you are no longer able to deduct contributions to a Traditional IRA, but these are only applicable if you or your spouse has a qualified retirement plan at work. Continue reading...

What is a foreign tax deduction?

Workers who earn income in foreign countries will frequently pay taxes on the income in the country in which the wages were earned. In such cases the worker may be eligible to take deductions for the amount of taxes paid so that their entire income is not subject to taxes again in their country of citizenship. Ex-patriot workers who earn income overseas are generally eligible for tax deductions, credits, or exclusions to account for the taxes that they have already paid on their income in the foreign country. Continue reading...

What is Adjusted Gross Income?

For tax purposes, Adjusted Gross Income is the basis of an individual’s income tax calculations, before “below the line” deductions. Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is Gross Income (all of an individual’s earnings for the year) minus above-the-line deductions such as retirement plan contributions, education and medical expenses, Health Savings Accounts, alimony, military exemptions, and so on. After these adjustments, a person can take the standard federal deduction or itemize their other deductions. These are known as below-the-line deductions. Continue reading...

What’s So Special about an IRA?

When compared to other methods of investing, there are benefits to using an IRA. An IRA provides tax deferred growth of your assets, and the result of such growth, over the years, can be quite remarkable in comparison with a regular savings account. Using an advanced calculator online – or asking an advisor or a CPA to run some calculations for you – can be an eye-opening experience. For most investors, mutual funds will be their best option for cost-efficient diversification. Holding mutual funds outside of an IRA or 401(k) means that the investor will have some taxes, whether long term gains or short term gains, passed on to him or her from the mutual fund company every year that the fund experiences gains. Continue reading...

What Should I Know About Roth IRAs?

Roth IRAs are a very popular and useful accumulation vehicle, and there are some things you should be aware of. Along with Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs are very important retirement tools and should be taken into careful consideration while deciding upon the account that is right for you. The first thing you’ll want to know is whether you can contribute, based on income limitations, so check the current IRS website to find out. Continue reading...

Can I Rollover My 401(k) into an IRA?

Yes, in fact this is what most people do. This is a very popular choice. Because Traditional IRAs receive the same kind of tax treatment as 401(k)s, with pretax contributions, tax-deferred growth, and taxable withdrawals, the IRS allows you to move funds over without creating a taxable event. Of course, you need to have an IRA account to do so, but it can be as easy as opening an account online and telling the custodian company the account information for your old 401(k). Continue reading...

Can I Hold Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies in an IRA?

It is becoming increasingly popular today to have an IRA just for bitcoin. If you create a Self-Directed IRA, you can hold almost anything you want within it, if you can find a custodian and trustee willing to facilitate it. This isn’t overly difficult to do since many new companies are jumping at the opportunity to facilitate bitcoin and cryptocurrency IRAs. Examples of assets that can be held within a self-directed IRA include real estate, cryptocurrencies, precious metals, intellectual property, private businesses, hedge funds, private equity, tax lien certificates, livestock, and more. Continue reading...

What are the Withdrawal Rules for My Keogh Plan?

Withdrawal rules for Keoghs will be essentially the same as rules for IRAs and 401(k)s. Once you are age 59½, you may begin to make penalty-free withdrawals and only pay income taxes on the amount you withdraw, similar to a traditional IRA. If you decide to withdraw money before age 59½, you may have to pay a 10% penalty fee in addition to income taxes on the amount of your withdrawal. Of course, there are exceptions. One exception for most qualified plans is for employees who separate from service at or after age 55: this is the early retirement exception, and the 10% penalty will not apply. Keoghs will technically use the early withdrawal rules for 401(k)s and not IRAs, which differ slightly. Continue reading...

Do I Have to Pay Taxes on My Bitcoins?

The IRS currently requires that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies be reported as personal property and capital assets. The IRS has published guidance that, yes, you do have to report gains/losses/income in the form of bitcoin and other “convertible virtual currencies.” Generally, the IRS treats bitcoin as property, instructing taxpayers to follow the existing IRS guidelines for personal property taxation. You can claim them as a capital asset, allowing you to treat them as stocks, essentially, with the ability to only pay long-term capital gains taxes on them if you hold them for a while. You can get paid in bitcoin by your employer, but employers must still withhold the usual amount of taxes, and you must report your bitcoin income the same way you would your regular income. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here This IRS Publication describes the distinction to be made between taxable income and nontaxable income. Many types of individual income are described and many sources of non-taxable income are illustrated. Gross income is usually reduced by standard or itemized deductions to arrive at a portion of income which is taxable. The amount that was left out of this equation is called nontaxable income. Continue reading...

What is IRS Publication 529 on Miscellaneous Deductions?

IRS Link to Publication — Found Here Publication 529 describes the possible deductions which can be taken in an itemized way on an individual’s tax return. Miscellaneous deductions can be filed using Schedule A of Form 1040. Someone should only take the time to fill out this form if they believe their total deductions will exceed the standard deduction amount, which is nearly $13,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Continue reading...

Who Can Contribute to a Roth IRA?

Most people will be able to contribute to a Roth, but once your income hits certain limits, you may need to find another way. Many people use Roth IRAs to make after-tax retirement contributions that will not be taxable upon withdrawal. If you have earned income under certain income limits, you can fund a Roth for yourself and even for a non-working spouse. Roth IRAs cannot be opened by everyone: the income limits are based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and marital status. Continue reading...

What are My SIMPLE IRA Investment Options?

SIMPLE IRAs will have various kinds of investment options, depending on the trustee company that holds the plan assets. SIMPLE IRA investments are determined by the financial institution at which your SIMPLE IRA is established. When opening a SIMPLE IRA, be sure to check what investment options the financial institution offers as well as the fee structure. Standard ERISA rules apply, meaning that all employees must be offered the same thing. SIMPLE IRAs can only be held at trustee companies whose business model is on the IRS’s list of approved SIMPLE Trustees. Continue reading...

What are the Contribution Deadlines for My SEP IRA?

Generally SEPs can be set up and funded by the tax filing deadline. If an employer chooses to make an annual contribution into a SEP IRA on behalf of all of his employees, it must be made by the same due date as his Federal Income Taxes. In most cases, this is April15th, but if an extension has been filed, the SEP does not have to be set up until October 15th. Because SEPs do not require continuous annual contributions, and because contributions can be added after January 1, they are very flexible and attractive to small businesses. Employees are even able to make traditional IRA contributions as part of a SEP arrangement. Continue reading...