The Internal Revenue Code determines the income limit for Roth IRA account holders based on their tax-filing status. Currently, only one kind of taxpayer can’t open a Roth IRA account if he earns over $100,000 annually. The IRS typically changes the maximum income limit for Roth IRA account holders from one year to the next. Always consult the current tax guide to see what the cap is.
Modified Adjusted Gross Income
A taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income is the basis the tax code uses to set the Roth IRA income contribution limits. The IRS provides a worksheet in Publication 590 for you to calculate your modified AGI. First, go through the steps laid out in Form 1040 to find your adjusted gross income. Then, deduct from your AGI the amount of any IRA-to-Roth rollovers you made in that tax year. Add to the total any student loan interest, tuition and school fees, and the cost of domestic production activities you are allowed to claim as write-offs in your federal tax return. To that subtotal, add the following exclusions if you also claim them as tax deductions: foreign earned income, savings bond interest and adoption benefits provided by your employer. The total is your modified adjusted gross income. Use this figure to find out whether you fall within the legal income limits to contribute to a Roth IRA.
Married Filing Jointly
If you are married filing a joint federal tax return -- or if your spouse died but you still qualify to file a joint return for the tax year -- you may make contributions to a Roth IRA account if your modified adjusted gross income is $178,999 or less for the year.
Married Filing Separately
If you are married filing separately, you are subject to two Roth IRA income limits: If you didn't live with your spouse at any time in the year, you may deposit into a Roth IRA if your annual modified AGI is less than $122,000. On the other hand, if you lived with your spouse any time during the year and file separate returns, your income limit for contributions is $9,999 or less. This is the only instance when you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA if you make more than $100,000 in one year.
Other Filing Statuses
If you file your return as a single taxpayer or as the head of your household, your modified adjusted gross income has to be less than $122,000 in the year for you to make deposits into a Roth IRA.
Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.