Usually, if you want your financial actions to count for a specific tax year, you have to execute the transaction in that particular calendar year. Not so with IRA contributions. You can make your Roth IRA contributions as late as your filing deadline, not including extensions, for the next year. However, you still have to meet the standard requirements to contribute, including having compensation during the year and having your modified adjusted gross income fall below the annual limits. You can contribute up to $5,000 ($6,000 if you are 50 or older) as of 2012. However, any contributions to a traditional IRA reduce this limit.
Calculate your modified adjusted gross income. Modified adjusted gross income equals your adjusted gross income plus certain deductions and exclusions including those for tuition and fees, student loan interest, traditional IRA contributions, and employer-provided adoption benefits.Step 2
Compare your modified adjusted gross income to the annual limits for your filing status to make sure you’re eligible to contribute. These limits change annually and can be found in IRS Publication 590. For example, in 2012, if you’re single and your modified adjusted gross income exceeds $125,000, you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA at any time during the year.Step 3
Open a Roth IRA at the financial institution of your choice. You’ll need to fill out an application form with your identification, including your name, address and Social Security number. Some financial institutions even allow you to submit the application online.Step 4
Make your contribution before your tax filing deadline, not including extensions, which is usually April 15. If April 15 falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the filing deadline gets pushed back. Indicate that the contribution was for the prior tax year because if you don’t, your financial institution can assume it's for the current year.
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."