What is the difference between a nondeductible ira and a roth ira?

You won't owe income taxes on the non-deductible amount you contributed to the account, just the investment gains. Contributions to the Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, and withdrawals during retirement will not be taxable. To be eligible for a Roth IRA, your income cannot exceed certain IRS limits. The main difference between a non-deductible IRA and a traditional or Roth IRA is that you can contribute to a non-deductible IRA no matter how much you earn.

Roth and traditional IRAs, on the other hand, are subject to strict income limits. Once your income reaches a certain level, the eligibility to contribute gradually starts to disappear and then disappears completely. This doesn't happen with a non-deductible IRA. When you make contributions to a Roth, you do so with after-tax money.

When you convert non-deductible IRA contributions to a Roth one, you're also converting after-tax money. And once the conversion is complete, any investment growth within the account can be withdrawn as a qualified tax-free distribution. If you now want to convert your non-deductible IRA into a Roth one, you'll have to pay income tax on part of it. Withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free if you've had a Roth account for at least five years and are 59 and a half years old or if you qualify for an exception.

However, to inform the IRS that you have contributed money after taxes, you must declare your non-deductible IRA contributions each year using the IRS Form 8606.In addition, regardless of your participation in a work plan, income above a certain threshold makes you ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA at all. To determine if you're limited to a non-deductible IRA, start by calculating your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If you want to contribute to a Roth IRA and your income is too high to do so, using a non-deductible IRA can also allow you to benefit from the favorable tax rules associated with a Roth IRA. Contributions to a traditional non-deductible IRA are the first step in making contributions to a clandestine Roth IRA and are most commonly used for this strategy.

Contributing to a non-deductible IRA on the way to a clandestine Roth conversion could be a great way to protect some or all of your retirement savings from taxes. The basic mechanisms for making non-deductible investments and keeping track of the base are described on the traditional IRA page, and that page describes details about using a traditional non-deductible IRA to make a contribution to a Roth Backdoor IRA. If your IRA savings are comprised entirely of non-deductible IRAs, you can convert them to a Roth IRA relatively easily. However, if you also have assets in a traditional IRA, part of the converted funds must be included in your taxable income.

In both cases, contributions are made after tax, but all future growth and withdrawals from a Roth IRA are tax-free, while the withdrawal of growth from a traditional non-deductible IRA is subject to taxes as income. If your income excludes you from the Roth option, you can simply contribute to a non-deductible IRA and then convert it to a Roth IRA. It is not a standalone type of account; rather, a feature of a traditional IRA is that contributions can be deducted from income (subject to income limits) or not deducted, at the investor's choice.

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