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  • 2010 IRA Contribution and Deduction Limits

    The rules regarding contributions to and disbursements from individual retirement accounts change from year to year based on what Congress does; here's what you need to know for 2010.

    If you are under 50 at the end of 2010, you can contribute either $5,000 or your total taxable income for 2010, whichever is less. This limit applies to both traditional and Roth IRAs; you may split the money between them, but the total contribution must be no more than the numbers above. If you are fifty years old or older, the limit is raised to the lesser of $6,000 or your total taxable compensation for 2010, with the same restriction as above.

    The income limits for claiming the deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA were raised for 2010, as follows. Note that all numbers refer to the modified adjusted gross income.

    If your filing status is single or head of household, you can take the full deduction for contributions to a traditional IRA provided that you made (an adjusted) $56,000 or less; you're entitled to a partial deduction provided your adjusted gross income was less than $66,000. If you are married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er), those numbers increase to $89,000 and $109,000. However, if you are married filing separately, you're entitled to only a partial deduction and only if your AGI was less than $10,000, unless you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year, in which case the rules for single filers apply.

    The above numbers apply if you are covered by a retirement plan at work. If not, and you are single, head of household, a qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly, or married filing separately with a spouse who isn't covered by a plan at work, then you can take the full deduction regardless of your AGI. If your spouse is covered by a plan at work, then your limit is $167k for the full deduction, $177k for a partial deduction if filing jointly, $10k for a partial deduction if filing separately.

    For a Roth IRA (which doesn't come with a tax deduction), your AGI may affect how much you can contribute. If you are single, head of household, or married filing separately and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year, you can contribute up to the limits discussed above provided your modified AGI is less than $105k, and a reduced amount as long as it is under $120k. If you're married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year, you can contribute a partial amount if you made less than $10k. If you are married filing jointly or a qualifying widow(er), you can contribute the full amount if you make under $167k and a partial amount if you make less than $177k.

    Another change for 2010 is the elimination of the filing status requirements for converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, and the provision for extra catch-up contributions for certain employer bankruptcies no longer applies. Additionally, the provision allowing tax-free distributions from IRAs for charity is expiring and is no longer available.

    The IRA distribution rules for 2010 state that if you made contributions to an IRA in 2009, you could withdraw them tax free at any time up until your tax return was due (either the original due date or the extended due date, if you filed for an extension); however, you may not take a deduction for the contribution and must withdraw any interest earned on that amount (in case of a loss, the amount of interest may be negative).

    You must begin receiving distributions from your IRA by April first of the year after you reach age 70 1/2. However, there is an exception in 2010: if you reached this age last year, you do not have to begin taking disbursements at the normal time, but must take the first one by December 31, 2010.

    You may take more than the required minimum, if desired, but this does not reduce the amount that you must take in future years. (The exception is that you can count money withdrawn in the year you turn 70 1/2 against the next year, when you would have your first minimum disbursement). The minimum required distribution varied based on the account balance and can be found by referring to the table provided by the IRS. Failure to withdraw the correct amount or more subjects you to an excise tax.

  • Retirement Calculator – Australia

    While this site is primarily aimed at a US audience (and anyone in another country should carefully double check any advice that depends on tax law), it seemed worthwhile to include some information for our friends overseas as well. However, retirement calculations really aren't that complicated: take the amount of money you're going to invest, figure out how long you're going to invest it for, and use a simple formula to determine how much money you'll have at retirement!

    The main country-specific item to consider (aside from the differences in available retirement plans) is the Age Pension available in Australia. The age pension provides income for elderly persons who do not make sufficient money to live on; as the numbers will change from year to year, you should refer to the Australian government website for the latest information.

    With that in mind, please refer to our other retirement calculators.