Individuals may contribute up to $5,500 to a traditional and a Roth IRA for 2016. This is the same limit as 2015. An individual age 50 and older can make a catch-up contribution of an additional $1,000 for the year. The contribution is limited to the taxpayer’s taxable compensation for the year, minus contributions to all non-Roth IRAs.

Taxpayers can contribute to a Roth IRA as long as the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for the year is less than:

  • $193,000 for married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er),
  • $131,000 for single, head of household, or married filing separately and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year, and
  • $10,000 for married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year.

Unlike traditional IRAs, the owner of a Roth IRA can make contributions to the IRA after turning age 70 ½ and does not have to begin taking contributions at that age. The mandatory distribution rules that normally begin at age 70 ½ do not apply until the owner dies.

Although contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible, income accumulates tax-free and “qualified” distributions will also be tax-free, if certain conditions are satisfied:

  • The distribution must be made after the owner turns 59 ½, unless the owner is disabled or the payment is made to a beneficiary after the owner’s death; and
  • The amount contributed must be held in the Roth IRA for at least five years.

Taxpayers can also roll over benefits from an eligible retirement plan to a Roth IRA, without the rollover being counted against the annual contribution limit, provided the payment from the retirement plan is an eligible rollover distribution. The retirement plan can be qualified plan, 401(k) plan, tax-sheltered annuity, or governmental deferred contribution plan. The payment will still be taxable, since contributions to a Roth IRA are not deductible and must be made with after-tax dollars.