With the April 15 tax deadline fast approaching, you probably have questions. Fortunately, we have answers. Every day until April 15, members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants have agreed to answer selected tax questions from USA TODAY readers. Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. My husband and I have state pensions. I have a part-time job and put most of my earnings in 2013 in a 401(k). We are older than 60, so we made IRA contributions (one Roth & one traditional) for 2013 at $13,000. However, I have only about $7,000 in wages after putting most in the 401(k). Is this allowed per tax law? Does part of pension count towards earrings to allow the $13,000 contribution? If not, what should we do?
A: Since you and your husband are both in the "50-plus" age category, the maximum amount the two of you combined can contribute to an IRA account (including a ROTH) for 2013 is the smaller of $13,000 or your total "taxable compensation".
Taxable compensation is defined on page 8 of IRS Publication 590 as compensation that you earn from working. Pension income is not counted as taxable compensation and neither is any income that you are allowed to exclude from income such as deductible 401(k) contributions.
Based on the information in your question, it sounds like your 2013 taxable compensation is $7,000, which means $7,000 is the maximum that you and your husband can contribute, combined.
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To fix this problem, you will need to contact your account custodian and request a withdrawal of the excess amount including any income or gains associated with the excess contributions.
If you have not yet filed your 2013 tax return, the excess contributions will not be reported on the 2013 return. However, any income or gains associated with the excess contributions will be included as taxable income on your 2013 return. I
f you have already filed the 2013 return, you will need to file an amended return (Form 1040X) in order to correct the excess contributions. Failure to withdraw the excess contributions will result in a 6% penalty for each year the excess amounts remain in the accounts.
Terry Seaton CPA, PFS, CFP, Seaton Financial Advisors, LLC