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  Why does ROTH contribution have an annual income limit?
Posted by: Turnbull - 12-28-2018, 05:05 AM - Forum: Retirement - Replies (1)

I was giving a ROTH/T-IRA primer to a close relative (much younger than me) who was looking for tax-advantaged retirement plans. He was unfamiliar with the IRA. A few years ago, I had him explore his 401K options. He was initially unsure but once he realized that he was leaving money on the table (the employer contribution), he started with enough contribution to get full match. Over the years, his income increased, his wife took up a small job, and he maxed the 401K contribution. With the increased income, he had increased tax bill too. So he was looking for other suggestions.
Based on his income details, he is unable to get tax deduction for any T-IRA contribution. Their income is below the ROTH annual income limit. So I explained the benefits and constraints of ROTH IRA. He is considering opening ROTH for both and making 2018 contributions - he thinks this would be a good choice for their retirement savings given their personal income/savings situation.
Towards the end, he mentioned that his wife is hoping to get a better job next year and they would exceed the annual income limit for any ROTH contribution. This was a natural question. So I explained to him that he can still do it next year - make non-deductible contribution to T-IRA anytime even if their income is too high; subsequently use the Backdoor ROTH conversion to immediately move that to ROTH. He initially thought it was a tax-dodge, especially due to the term "backdoor". I had to pull out the New Tax Bill and highlight footnote 269 on page 289 that says " 269 - Although an individual with AGI exceeding certain limits is not permitted to make a contribution directly to a Roth IRA, the individual can make a contribution to a traditional IRA and convert the traditional IRA to a Roth IRA."

His doubt was clarified, but he asked a legitimate follow-up question - why then there is an annual income limit for ROTH contributions? If it is perfectly legitimate to contribute to ROTH IRA without being constrained by income limit, and without violating IRS Step Transaction doctrine, this would imply that ROTH contribution does not have an effective annual income limit. The question is a valid one and I count not find a satisfactory answer.

Does anyone know?

The only reason I could think of where this complication matters is for someone past 70.5 and earning above the ROTH contribution limit. AFAIK, they cannot contribute to T-IRA anymore and hence the backdoor route is not available to them. Having said that, ROTH is more powerful when used early on (the tax-free growth makes a huge difference over a longer time-horizon). For someone whose career is picking up and as a result, the annual income exceed the ROTH contribution limit at some point in the career, the annual limit seems like a purposeful effort to confuse and discourage such earners to take advantage of ROTH. It'd have been much simpler for a common person to be able to continue contributing to ROTH throughout the career, in the same manner that the person is able to contribute to an employee-sponsored 401K, without having to get confused/misled by tax laws.
Probably there is a history or valid reason here for creating a complicated scheme? I do not have much experience with ROTH/T-IRA myself, but I know several forum members are very knowledgeable in this area. I'm hoping to see some insight from them on this topic. Thank you in advance!

  What is the best investing advice you would share with beginning investors?
Posted by: firefamily - 12-19-2018, 10:27 AM - Forum: Stocks - Replies (4)

Mine is: Learn about Trailing Stop Loss (%)

  Converting to Roth - ? method to pay additional taxes
Posted by: firefamily - 12-19-2018, 10:21 AM - Forum: Taxes - No Replies

I've done the research (thank you forum members), I've run the numbers, I've made my decision, and now I'm about to pull the trigger and create a 'backdoor' Roth which will be funded by my IRA distributions over the next four years.  (Times 2, as I'll be doing the same for my wife's 401k).  I estimate I'll owe an additional $30k in taxes for 2018.  I'll cover it from a taxable account.  Question:  What is the process to pay this additional amount?   I'm hoping it's as simple as just adding it to my 4Q 1040 Estimated payment.  (And next year I can spread it over all 4 estimated payments.   Are there any 'gotcha's' in my thinking?  Something else the IRS may require?   I'm a TurboTax user as my taxes are very straightforward.  I'd like avoid involving a CPA for this seemingly simple matter.  Thanks!

  Roth conversion while in high bracket. Is it ok?
Posted by: TomTX - 12-19-2018, 10:04 AM - Forum: Taxes - Replies (1)

I know many say it is wise to do " back door" conversions to roth. They also say to convert while in a low tax bracket. How about this scenario....Suppose you are in 24% tax bracket federal and 6% state tax. Suppose you are also expected to be in the same tax bracket in retirement. Also, may be in higher bracket (if fed raises tax rates in future) Also suppose you expect to be heavily pension and traditional IRA when retired. So, almost all taxable income when retired.. My thinking - You need tax diversity when when retired. This will provide more flexibility. I know the math is overly simplistic, but $1 dollar of traditional IRA is at least close to 70 cents in a roth. The taxes on roth conversion would be paid from taxable broker account and "savings" during the year. I am not looking for a huge conversion....just small...in the name of "flexibility" in the future...

  Early Retirement Health Care
Posted by: TomTX - 12-19-2018, 10:02 AM - Forum: Retirement - Replies (1)

For those who retired early, what did you do for health insurance?

  What to do in this crazy stock market?
Posted by: TomTX - 12-19-2018, 10:00 AM - Forum: Short Term Investing (Less Than 1 Year) - Replies (3)

What is everyone doing with the high volatility we have had lately? Anyone selling, trimming?

  Will expensive home prices tank because of tax reform
Posted by: toganet - 12-19-2018, 07:28 AM - Forum: Taxes - Replies (4)

With a limit of 10k of real estate tax deductibility, will this hurt the value of high end homes and also the purchase of vacation homes given the 10 k. Limit

  I'm 75. I have a ROTH IRA. Can i still contribute to it?
Posted by: toganet - 12-19-2018, 07:25 AM - Forum: Life Events - No Replies

I'm 75.  I have a ROTH IRA.  Can i still contribute to it?

  Ignorant tax question
Posted by: Ynari - 12-19-2018, 07:22 AM - Forum: Taxes - No Replies

My wife, with her MBA, does the taxes. Me, as a lowly engineer, is tasked with creating spreadsheets projecting cash flow in retirement. My question concerns marginal Federal tax rates. The projection for 2020 includes $405K in ordinary income and $125K in qualified dividend income. When estimating taxes I assume a $24K standard deduction. What are the appropriate rates for each income group? I am assuming that the qualified dividends are taxed at 20% + 3.8% and the ordinary income $91379.00 35% over $400K  

  Social Security in a diversified portfolio.
Posted by: Ynari - 12-19-2018, 07:15 AM - Forum: Social Security - Replies (2)

Why do most financial planners not count social security as part of your diversified portfolio? (60% cash, bonds, 40% stocks. Social security should count in this 60% example)