Self-Directed IRAs: Your Tax Questions Answered!

The maximum contribution for a self-directed IRA remains $5,500 per year for those who are under 50 years of age and $6,500 per year for those who are 50 or over.

Roth IRAs can also be limited depending on your income. For a Roth IRA, the more you make, the less money you are allowed to put into the account. That amount diminishes until you’ve crossed a threshold which limits your contributions to zero dollars per year.

Are My Contributions Still Tax-Deductible?

It seems like each time a new president takes office and passes their tax plan, there ends up being a great deal of confusion over what you can or cannot claim. While it’s true that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act limits the amount of deductions you can claim in property taxes, retirement accounts were left largely untouched.

So the answer for now is yes, you can still claim contributions to your retirement accounts on your taxes, but there are other changes to the tax code relevant to IRAs that are no longer deductible. Those include:

  • Costs associated with maintaining the IRA
  • Other miscellaneous fees related to the IRA

My Employer Offers a Retirement Plan, But I Want to Start My Own. Now What?

You are still allowed to make the maximum contribution of $5,500 per year to your self-directed IRA. This is true regardless of whether or not you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, even if it is an IRA. There may, however, be a limitation regarding whether or not you’re allowed to claim these funds as a deduction on your tax return.

I Filed a Joint Return with My Spouse, But Only One of Us Works. Now What?

Both you and your spouse can make separate contributions to your IRA regardless of the fact that only one of you works and thus has taxable revenue. So long as the combined amount does not exceed the limit of $5,500, Uncle Sam doesn’t care where the money came from. You can also write off the contribution on your joint tax return.

I Filed a Joint Return with My Spouse. How Does This Affect Our Roth IRA?

Roth IRAs are capped for both single and married couples. For married couples, the threshold begins at $181,000 of cumulative gross income. Once that threshold is crossed, the amount you are allowed to contribute diminishes until it reaches zero. The IRS provides a formula for calculating this amount.

Converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth IRA

Before 2018 there was a loophole that allowed people to make contributions to their traditional IRA and then characterize the account as a Roth IRA. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act closed this loophole, at least partly. You can no longer convert your traditional IRA back to a Roth. Nonetheless, the new tax bill lowered the amount of taxes you would have to pay in order to transfer funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth.

Remember, Roth IRAs are built on contributions that are taxed on their way in, while traditional IRAs are taxed on their way out. In order to convert the account, you will need to pay taxes on the entire contents of your traditional IRA. For some, this will be worth it. For others, not so much.

Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. He's on a mission to help fellow investors free their time, protect their assets, and create lasting wealth.

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