Roth IRAs help you save for retirement with after-tax dollars, but you might be unsure whether or not you qualify to contribute until after you've filed your income tax return. However, just because you've already filed your income taxes doesn't necessarily mean you've missed your opportunity to contribute to a Roth IRA for the year.
Can Contribute After Taxes
The deadline for contributing to a Roth IRA is your tax filing deadline, regardless of when you file your income taxes. You must typically file your income taxes by April 15, but some years the deadline is extended if the deadline falls on a weekend or holiday. For example, if you file your taxes on March 1 and realize you qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA, you can contribute as long as you deposit the contribution before the tax filing deadline.
Must Meet Qualifications
Whether you want to contribute to a Roth IRA before or after you file your taxes, you have to meet the eligibility requirements. To contribute, you must have at a minimum as much earned income as your contribution, but your total income can't exceed the annual limits. Your earned income only includes the money you're paid to work, such as your salary, commissions or self-employment income. The income limit varies depending on your filing status. However, unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs don't impose an age limit.
No Extensions to Contribute
If you take advantage of an extension to file your taxes, you can't contribute to a Roth IRA after you file your taxes because the filing extension does not extend the deadline to contribute to a Roth IRA. For example, if you file your tax return after the regular tax filing deadline, even if have an extension, you've missed the deadline to contribute to a Roth IRA.
Benefits of Contributing
Besides having to be at least 59 1/2 years old, your Roth IRA has to be open for at least five years before you're eligible to take qualified distributions. If the contribution is your first Roth IRA contribution, your five tax years start counting from Jan. 1 of the previous year. For example, if you make your Roth IRA on April 10, 2014, after you've already file your 2013 return, your five-year holding period starts Jan. 1, 2013.
Based in the Kansas City area, Mike specializes in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."