why can't I contribute to an IRA when my wife has ...
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Level 2

why can't I contribute to an IRA when my wife has a SEP-IRA (but I don't)?

My wife is contributing to her SEP-IRA but I do not have one (I do have a schedule C, but I am not making a SEP contribution from it).  I'd like to contribute to a Traditional IRA instead.  But TT tells me our income is too high while being covered by a retirement plan at work.  I get that my wife's SEP means she's covered by a retirement plan at work, but why is that affecting my contribution?   Shouldn't the two be separate?

2 Replies
Level 15

why can't I contribute to an IRA when my wife has a SEP-IRA (but I don't)?

You can always contribute to a Traditional IRA if is there is sufficient joint taxable compensation.    However, it might not be deductible if your joint MAGI exceeds the limit if one spouse is covered by a retirement plan.

 

See this IRS link for Traditional IRA deduction limits when covered by a retirement plan at work.

https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/IRA-Deduction-Limits

**Disclaimer: This post is for discussion purposes only and is NOT tax advice. The author takes no responsibility for the accuracy of any information in this post.**
New Member

why can't I contribute to an IRA when my wife has a SEP-IRA (but I don't)?

The previous answer was somewhat helpful. Let me ask my specific situation. I have a job with a retirement program. Spouse is self-employed with SEP (no W-2 or 1099). Spouse has Sch C, I do not.  When letting TT/Home Business maximize the contribution it calculates to exactly what I get by doing it on paper. BUT it says spouse is not eligible because MAGI is over the threshold. (If contribution is made it would be subject to 6% penalty every year.) Combined our incomes are over the threshold but spouse MAGI alone is not over threshold. Am I wrong in my thinking here?

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