It’s Not Too Late

February 21st, 2012

It’s not too late to make an IRA and/or SEP contribution or undo a Roth IRA conversion for 2011.

Generally, after the close of the year you can no longer take steps to alter the outcome of your tax return. However, both IRA contributions and SEP contributions can be made for a year after it has closed, and if you converted a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, you can undo that conversion after the close of the year. Here are the details:

Traditional IRA Contributions – IRA contributions (tax-deductible and non-deductible) for 2011 can be made up to and including the un-extended filing due date for your 2011 tax return, which is April 17, 2012. The maximum contribution allowed is $5,000 ($6,000 if age 50 or over) for each taxpayer. The annual maximum must be allocated between traditional and Roth IRA contributions.

If you are an active participant in an employer-sponsored plan, the IRA contributions are phased out for higher income taxpayers. The traditional IRA AGI phase-outs for 2011 are: between $90,000 and $110,000 for married individuals filing jointly and individuals qualifying as a surviving spouse, $56,000 and $66,000 for unmarried individuals, and $0 to $10,000 for married individuals filing separately.

Where one spouse participates in an employer plan but the other does not, the non-participating spouse’s phase-out is between $169,000 and $179,000 for 2011.

SEP Plan Contributions – SEP plans are tax-deductible retirement plans for self-employed individuals. Contributions can be made up to and including the extended due date, which for the 2011 tax return is October 15, 2012. The maximum annual contribution to a SEP plan is the lesser of “25% of compensation” (20% of net profit after deducting the SEP contribution for the self-employed proprietor’s contribution) or $49,000. SEP plans have no AGI phase-out limitations and no catch-up contributions for older individuals.

Roth IRA Conversions – If you made a conversion from a traditional to a Roth IRA, there is a good chance the entire conversion is taxable. Generally, people plan those conversions for years with low income or when the stock market is down and the IRA value at the time of the conversion is low. However, if subsequent to the conversion conditions change, and you wish you hadn’t made the conversion, or you simply decide you can’t afford to pay the tax on the conversion, you can undo the conversion up to and including the extended due date of the return (October 15, 2012 for 2011 returns). However, don’t wait until the last minute to make that decision because it will require some paperwork on the part of the trustee (bank, broker, etc.).

Other plans – Other plans such as Simple Plans and Keogh plans also permit contributions in 2012 for 2011.

Please give us a call if you need additional information related to making retirement plan contributions after the close of the tax year.  We’ll be happy to help!

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