You Can Still Grow Your 2008 Nest Egg

Patrick from Cash Money Life makes a good observation in his blog today: Even though 2008 is over, you can still contribute to your 2008 IRA until tax day – April 15, 2009.

An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is a common retirement plan account that provides certain tax advantages for retirement savings in the United States. Contributions are often tax deductible, but withdrawals may or may not be, depending on the type of IRA.

It's Not Too Late To Grow Your 2008 Nest Egg
It's Not Too Late To Grow Your 2008 Nest Egg

Between January 1 and April 15, 2009, you can contribute to both your 2008 and 2009 IRAs. During this time, you will need to specify which tax year your are contributing to, but many people don’t know the overlap exists at all. So for those who thought they had missed their deadline, they may be in luck.

The maximum you can invest in a Traditional or Roth IRA for 2008 and 2009 is $5,000 if you are under age 50. Those who are age 50 and older are eligible for catch-up contributions and can contribute up to $6,000 in 2008 and 2009.

It is important to note that you can only contribute up to the maximum limit across all individual IRA accounts (self-employed retirement plans may have different rules). I am under 50 years old, so I would be able to contribute any combination of $5,000 between any IRAs I decide to open. For example – $2,500 in a Traditional and a $2,500 Roth IRA, or $3,000 in a Roth IRA + $2,000 in a Traditional IRA, etc. so long as it does not exceed $5,000.

If you are married, you can also open an IRA in his or her name and contribute to that as well to increase (double) your overall IRA.

Tax Tip: IRS Pension Plan Limitations Announced

Internal Revenue Service Tax Tips on Shoeboxed Blog

The Internal Revenue Service announced on October 16, 2008 cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for tax year 2009.

Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. It also requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost-of-living increases.Section 415 of the Internal Revenue Code provides for dollar limitations on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans. It also requires that the Commissioner annually adjust these limits for cost-of-living increases.

Many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2009 because the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment. However, for others, the limitation will remain unchanged. For example, the limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $15,500 to $16,500. This limitation affects elective deferrals to Section 401(k) plans and to the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan, among other plans.

Effective Jan. 1, 2009, the limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Section 415(b)(1)(A) is increased from $185,000 to $195,000. For participants who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2009, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant’s compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2008, by 1.0530.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Section 415(c)(1)(A) is increased from $46,000 to $49,000.

The Code provides that various other dollar amounts are to be adjusted at the same time and in the same manner as the dollar limitation of Section 415(b)(1)(A). These dollar amounts and the adjusted amounts are as follows:

  • The limitation under Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Section 402(g)(3) is increased from $15,500 to $16,500.
  • The annual compensation limit under Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is increased from $230,000 to $245,000.
  • The dollar limitation under Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $150,000 to $160,000.
  • The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee under Section 414(q)(1)(B) is increased from $105,000 to $110,000.
  • The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan other than a plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over is increased from $5,000 to $5,500. The dollar limitation under Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Section 401(k)(11) or Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over remains unchanged at $2,500.
  • The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost-of-living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $345,000 to $360,000.
  • The compensation amount under Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) is increased from $500 to $550.
  • The limitation under Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts is increased from $10,500 to $11,500.
  • The limitation on deferrals under Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is increased from $15,500 to $16,500.
  • The compensation amounts under Section 1.61-21(f)(5)(i) of the Income Tax Regulations concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation purposes is increased from $90,000 to $95,000. The compensation amount under Section 1.61-21(f)(5)(iii) is increased from $185,000 to $195,000.
  • The limitation on wages under Section 45A regarding individuals eligible for the Indian employment credit is $40,000 for tax years beginning in 2008 and will increase to $45,000 for tax years beginning in 2009. The termination date of section 45A was recently extended from Dec. 31, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2009, by Section 314 of Division C of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, P.L. 110-343.

The Code also provides that several pension-related amounts are to be adjusted using the cost-of-living adjustment under Section 1(f)(3). These dollar amounts and the adjustments are as follows:

  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for married taxpayers filing a joint return is increased from $32,000 to $33,000; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $34,500 to $36,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), from $53,000 to $55,500.
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for taxpayers filing as head of household is increased from $24,000 to $24,750; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $25,875 to $27,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), from $39,750 to $41,625.
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(A) for determining the retirement savings contribution credit for all other taxpayers is increased from $16,000 to $16,500; the limitation under Section 25B(b)(1)(B) is increased from $17,250 to $18,000; and the limitation under Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D), from $26,500 to $27,750.
  • The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(i) for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return or as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $85,000 to $89,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(3)(B)(ii) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $53,000 to $55,000. The applicable dollar amount under Section 219(g)(7)(A) for a taxpayer who is not an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant is increased from $159,000 to $166,000.
  • The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(I) for determining the maximum Roth IRA contribution for married taxpayers filing a joint return or for taxpayers filing as a qualifying widow(er) is increased from $159,000 to $166,000. The adjusted gross income limitation under Section 408A(c)(3)(C)(ii)(II) for all other taxpayers (other than married taxpayers filing separate returns) is increased from $101,000 to $105,000.

Administrators of defined benefit or defined contribution plans that have received favorable determination letters should not request new determination letters solely because of yearly amendments to adjust maximum limitations in the plans.