Posted by Elliot Kravitz, ATP

An Insight into Individual Retirement Accounts

An Insight into Individual Retirement Accounts

Individual retirement accounts are saving plans that come with various restrictions. It stands out with the ability to allow taxpayers to defer tax payment on the proceeds and earnings from their saving till they withdraw the funds. 

However, there is also a penalty for people who withdraw from the account before they get to age 59.5. IRA comes in several types with distinct features and tax implications:


Traditional IRAs

Contributing money to an IRA qualifies you to claim a deduction. This deduction brings down your taxable income, which means there is no income tax payment on the funds reserved in the account. When the saving grows, it is tax-deferred, meaning that your annual tax return will not reflect dividends, interests, capital gains, or others.

After withdrawing the money, you will include your IRA distribution as part of your taxable income. The tax rate that applies to it is the ordinary income tax. Many retirees discovered that they were in a lower tax bracket compared to what they had while working, which means the taxes on your distribution might send you to a lower tax rate. 

Withdrawing from your IRA before retirement means you must pay income tax alongside an extra 10% levy on the early distribution as long as you withdraw the money before getting to 59.5 years. 

One needs to withdraw the money inside a traditional IRA the year after turning 72, on the first of April. It is essential to take the required minimum distribution (RMD) every year. Not doing this will translate to a 50% tax of the RMD that was not withdrawn.

Based on your situation, you might qualify for deductions with your contributions. The persons allowed to take a deduction on traditional IRA are restricted. For instance, if a taxpayer or the wife/husband has a retirement plan covering at work, it could lead to limitation of the deduction or inability to deduct any of the contributions.


Nondeductible Traditional IRAs

While a nondeductible IRA is also a traditional IRA, they are not tax-deductible contributions since the funds used are an after-tax dollar. This is a worthy option when you consider that the contributions will grow with the tax deferred till withdrawal. Of course, the principal distribution amount is tax-free since you already paid taxes on them when you earned it. The tax only applies to the interest. 

Some people prefer going for this option when they are in some definite financial situations like any of the following:

  • There is an employment plan by the employer that covers them.

  • They have a high income, which disqualifies them from deducting from their traditional IRA.

  • They are not qualified to send funds to a ROTH IRA.

  • They need an extra saving targeted at retirement using a tax-deferred account.

The main difference between a traditional Ira and a nondeductible IRS is how the tax affects the initial contribution. As a result, a nontraditional IRA is also bound by the rules that bound the traditional type.


Roth IRA

This is also one of the retirement accounts that give a tax-free distribution and savings. It differs from a traditional IRA in that users do not get a deduction for their contribution to making them. Even though it is a little similar to a nondeductible IRA, there are some notable differences in the distribution's taxation.

  • Contributions cannot be deducted.

  • Earnings and growth of saving inside a Roth IRA have no income tax.

  • Provided one meets some conditions, the distribution from a Roth IRA is tax-free.

  • Your coverage by a retirement plan at your workplace does not stop you from having a ROTH IRA.


Simplified Employment Pension IRAs (SEP-IRA)

SEP-IRAs are a part of the family's retirement plan. The employer sets up the SEP-IRA plan and contributes to a traditional IRA established under the SEP-IRA. Many self-employed individuals use these plans since their contribution limit is higher compared to regular IRAs.

Otherwise, the treatment of SEP IRAs is pretty similar to a traditional IRA. You contribute the funds without tax, and there will be tax on the distributions as ordinary income with penalties for early distributions.


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Elliot Kravitz, ATP
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