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IRA deduction limits for 2019–2020

Find out if you qualify for a full or partial deduction.

Updated

Fact checked

The IRS has a long list of rules surrounding who qualifies for the IRA deduction. If you’ve contributed to an IRA this year, read on to find out if you qualify.

What is the IRA deduction?

The IRA deduction reduces your taxable income dollar for dollar. Anyone can contribute to an IRA, but whether or not you can take the deduction depends on your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) and whether you or your spouse have an employer-sponsored retirement plan — such as a 401(k), 403(b) or pension.

Generally, your deduction limit is lower if you have a higher income and greater access to an employer-sponsored plan.

If you qualify for the deduction, it will reduce your taxable income dollar for dollar. You can claim it using the standard or itemized deduction. The IRS doesn’t require you to choose one or the other as it does with most deductions.

How much is the IRA deduction worth in 2019?

IRA deductions depend on your income, filing status and whether you or your spouse have a retirement plan at work. You can find your deduction amount in the chart below:

IRA deduction contribution limits 2019

If your filing status is…And your modified AGI is…Then you can take…
Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly or separately and neither spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • Any amount
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
Married, filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) and you’re covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $103,000
  • $103,001 to $122,999
  • $123,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married, filing jointly and your spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $193,000
  • $193,001 to $202,999
  • $203,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Single or head of household and you’re covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $64,000
  • $64,001 to $73,999
  • $74,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married, filing separately and either spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • N/A
  • Up to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction

How much is the IRA deduction worth in 2020?

You can find your deduction amount in the chart below for taxes due in April 2021:

IRA deduction contribution limits 2020

If your filing status is…And your modified AGI is…Then you can take…
Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly or separately and neither spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • Any amount
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
Married, filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) and you’re covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $104,000
  • $104,001 to $123,999
  • $124,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married, filing jointly and your spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $196,000
  • $196,001 to $205,999
  • $206,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Single or head of household and you’re covered by a plan at work.
  • Up to $65,000
  • $65,001 to $74,999
  • $75,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married, filing separately and either spouse is covered by a plan at work.
  • N/A
  • Up to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $6,000 or $7,000 if you’re at least 50 years old
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction

Limits

The IRA deduction has these limits:

How much was IRA deduction worth in previous years?

The chart below shows how much the IRA deduction was worth the past three years:

IRA deduction contribution limits 2018

If your filing status is…And your modified AGI is…Then you can take…
Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly or separately and neither spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Any amount
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) and you’re covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $101,000
  • $101,001 to $120,999
  • $121,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing jointly and your spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $189,000
  • $189,001 to $198,999
  • $199,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing separately and either spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • N/A
  • Up to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction

IRA deduction contribution limits 2017

If your filing status is…And your modified AGI is…Then you can take…
Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly or separately and neither spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Any amount
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) and you’re covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $99,000
  • $99,001 to $118,999
  • $119,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing jointly and your spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $189,000
  • $189,001 to $198,999
  • $199,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Single or head of household and you’re covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $62,000
  • $62,001 to $71,999
  • $72,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing separately and either spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • N/A
  • Up to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction

IRA deduction contribution limits 2016

If your filing status is…And your modified AGI is…Then you can take…
Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing jointly or separately and neither spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Any amount
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) and you’re covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $98,000
  • $98,001 to $117,999
  • $118,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing jointly and your spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $184,000
  • $184,001 to $193,999
  • $194,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Single or head of household and you’re covered by a plan at work
  • Up to $61,000
  • $61,001 to $70,999
  • $71,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction
Married filing separately and either spouse is covered by a plan at work
  • N/A
  • Up to $9,999
  • $10,000 or more
  • A full deduction — $5,500 or $6,500 if at least 50
  • A partial deduction
  • No deduction

Who qualifies for the IRA deduction?

You qualify for the IRA deduction as long as:

  • You contributed to an IRA this year
  • You have earned income
  • Your modified AGI falls within the limits listed in the chart above

How to calculate the IRA deduction

Follow these three steps to calculate your IRA deduction:

  1. Find out how much you contributed to your IRA this tax year. Your IRA custodian should send you a statement for tax purposes. Or you can log in to your account to view the amount.
  2. Find out if you or your spouse were offered an employer-sponsored retirement plan this year.
  3. Locate your AGI on Form 1040, line 8b. Calculate your modified AGI by adding back in certain deductions and accrued tax-exempt interest, such as:
    • Student loan interest
    • Tuition expenses
    • Self-employment tax
    • IRA contributions
    • Social Security payments
    • Income from a US savings bond
    • Rental losses
    • Foreign housing deduction
  4. Use the information in steps 1 to 3 to determine whether you qualify for the IRA deduction based on the income limits in the chart above.

You’ll receive a statement from your IRA custodian stating how much you contributed to your IRA this tax year. From there, you’ll need to calculate your modified AGI to see if you qualify for a full or partial deduction.

If you contributed to a retirement plan this year, you may qualify for:

  • Retirement saver’s credit. Qualifying taxpayers who contributed to an IRA or ABLE account may receive a credit worth up to $1,000 depending on their filing status and AGI.

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Bottom line

Simply because you qualify for IRA contributions doesn’t mean you qualify for the IRA deduction. Your eligibility hinges on your income and whether or not you or your spouse have a workplace retirement plan.

The good news is, if you qualify, you don’t have to itemize your taxes to claim it. You can still take the standard deduction if that saves you the most money.

Figuring out which deductions you do and don’t qualify for can be a headache. Streamline the process by hiring a professional or shopping around for an online service that can help you file your return.

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