When one spouse in a married couple is not earning compensation, the couple may not be able to save as much as they need for a comfortable retirement. In general, an IRA contribution is allowed only if a taxpayer earns compensation. However, there’s an exception involving a “spousal” IRA. It allows contributions to be made for a spouse who is out of work or who stays home to care for children, elderly parents or for other reasons, as long as the couple files a joint tax return.
For 2023, the amount that an eligible married couple can contribute to an IRA for a nonworking spouse is $6,500, which is the same limit that applies for the working spouse.
Benefits of an IRA
As you may know, IRAs offer two advantages for taxpayers who make contributions to them:
- Contributions of up to $6,500 a year to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible, and
- The earnings on funds within the IRA aren’t taxed until withdrawn. (Alternatively, you may make contributions to a Roth IRA. There’s no deduction for Roth IRA contributions, but, if certain requirements are met, future distributions are tax-free.)
As long as a married couple has a combined earned income of at least $13,000, $6,500 can be contributed to an IRA for each spouse, for a total of $13,000. (The contributions for both spouses can be made to either a regular IRA or a Roth IRA, or split between them, as long as the combined contributions don’t exceed the $13,000 limit.)
Higher contribution if 50 or older
In addition, individuals who are age 50 or older can make “catch-up” contributions to an IRA or Roth IRA in the amount of $1,000. Therefore, for 2023, a taxpayer and his or her spouse, who have both reached age 50 by the end of the year can each make a deductible contribution to an IRA of up to $7,500, for a combined deductible limit of $15,000.
However, there are some limitations. If, in 2023, the working spouse is an active participant in one of several types of retirement plans, a deductible contribution of up to $6,500 (or $7,500 for a spouse who will be 50 by the end of the year) can be made to the IRA of the nonparticipant spouse only if the couple’s AGI doesn’t exceed a certain threshold. This limit is phased out for AGI between $218,000 and $228,000.
If you’d like more information about IRAs or want to discuss retirement planning, contact us.
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If one spouse in a married couple doesn’t earn compensation, the couple may not be able to save as much as they need for retirement. An IRA contribution is generally only allowed if you earn compensation. But an exception exists. A spousal IRA allows a contribution for a spouse who doesn’t earn compensation. For 2023, an eligible couple can contribute $6,500 to an IRA for each spouse ($7,500 if the spouse will be 50 by the end of the year). However, if the working spouse is an active participant in an employer retirement plan, a deductible contribution can be made to the nonparticipant spouse’s IRA only if the couple’s adjusted gross income doesn’t exceed a certain threshold.