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You Can Still Score a 2022 Tax Break With Pretax IRA Contributions — Here's How to Qualify

Enes Evren
  • There's still time to contribute to your individual retirement account for 2022 through the tax deadline — and possibly score a deduction.
  • But eligibility for the tax break depends on your filing status, income and workplace retirement participation.
  • Even if you qualify, you need to weigh whether a pretax IRA contribution makes sense for your goals, experts say.

There's still time to make a pretax individual retirement account contribution for 2022 — and possibly trim your tax bill or boost your refund — if you qualify.

For 2022, the IRA contributions limit was $6,000, with an extra $1,000 for investors age 50 and older, and the tax deadline this year is April 18 for most Americans.

You can make your 2022 IRA contribution through the April tax deadline in 2023, as long as you designate the deposit for tax year 2022. But you need to know the IRA deductibility rules before making a contribution, experts say.

"The deductibility rules for pretax IRA contributions can be confusing," said certified financial planner Kevin Brady, vice president at Wealthspire Advisors in New York.

That's because eligibility depends on three factors: your filing status, modified adjusted gross income and workplace retirement plan participation, he said.

How to know if you qualify for the tax break

Eligibility is simplest for a married couple filing together when both spouses don't participate in a workplace retirement plan, according to Julie Hall, a CFP at Vision Capital Partners in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

"They can both deduct and it doesn't matter what their income is," which may be appealing to higher earners, she said.

However, it gets more complicated if either partner has retirement plan coverage at work and participates in the plan. "Participation" may include employee contributions, company matches, profit-sharing or other employer deposits.

Depending on your filing status and income, you may be able to deduct all, part or none of your IRA contributions.

The 2022 income thresholds for IRA deductibility

"It's important to understand there are deductibility limitations," said Malcolm Ethridge, a CFP and executive vice president of CIC Wealth in Rockville, Maryland. With a workplace plan, some or all of your contributions may not be deductible, depending on earnings.

For 2022, single investors with a workplace retirement plan may claim a tax break for their entire IRA contribution if their modified adjusted gross income is $68,000 or less.

Although there's a partial deduction before reaching $78,000, the tax break disappears after meeting that threshold.

Married couples filing together can get the full benefit with $109,000 or less in income, and they can receive a partial tax break before hitting $129,000.

You can see the full IRS chart for 2022 on IRA deductibility here.

"Even if you maxed out the plan at your current company, your income could still be low enough to make a tax-deductible [IRA] contribution," Ethridge said.

How to know if a pretax IRA contribution makes sense

Of course, just because you qualify for a deduction doesn't mean you should make the pretax IRA contribution, Hall said.

Before making the deposit, investors need to weigh their investment goals, along with their current tax brackets versus expected tax bracket in retirement, she said.

Plus, you may consider your other buckets of retirement savings — and the tax consequences upon withdrawal, such as capital gains, regular income taxes or tax-free income. 

"Yes, you can benefit from the deduction today," Hall said. But you may opt for further tax diversification by adding more to another type of account, she said.

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