Non-Working Spousal IRA\'s-What You Need to Know
August 11th, 2022 at 6:56 AM
You may have joined the Great Resignation, maybe temporarily or maybe for good.
Or your non-working status might have nothing to do with the Great Resignation. For instance, you could be a stay-at-home parent.
In any case, as a spouse with no tax-defined earned income, you might want to continue saving for retirement in a tax-favored fashion by making contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA.
An IRA set up to receive contributions by a non-working spouse is known as a spousal IRA.
The working spouse can make IRA contributions to it too.
Non-Working Spouse: Traditional Spousal IRA Contributions
For the 2022 tax year, you (the non-working spouse) can make a deductible contribution of up to $6,000, or up to $7,000 if you’ll be age 50 or older as of December 31, 2022, to a traditional spousal IRA set up in your name.
To make a traditional spousal IRA contribution, you must file a joint Form 1040, and you and your spouse must together have earned income—typically from your working spouse—at least equal to the sum of your contribution plus your spouse’s contribution, if any.
Note that taxable alimony received by you or your spouse under a pre-2019 divorce agreement counts as earned income for IRA contribution eligibility purposes.
Now It Gets Tricky
If your working spouse is covered by a tax-favored retirement plan, via a job or self-employment, the deductibility of your traditional spousal IRA contribution is phased out, for the 2022 tax year, between joint adjusted gross income (AGI) of $204,000 and $214,000.
Joint AGI is the sum of most taxable income items and gains, reduced by so-called above-the-line deductions. These include
- the deduction for contributions to a self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, or other self-employed retirement plan;
- the deduction for 50 percent of self-employment tax;
- the deduction for self-employed health insurance premiums;
- contributions to a health savings account (HSA);
- alimony payments required by a pre-2019 divorce agreement;
- the deduction for up to $250 of unreimbursed expenses for K-12 educators; and
- the deduction for moving expenses for eligible members of the Armed Forces.
If your working spouse is not covered by a tax-favored retirement plan, via a job or self-employment, you (the non-working spouse) can make a deductible traditional IRA contribution regardless of how high your joint AGI might be.
Working Spouse: Traditional IRA Contributions
If neither you nor your working spouse participate in a tax-favored retirement plan, via a job or self-employment, your working spouse can make a deductible contribution of up to $6,000 for the 2022 tax year to a traditional IRA set up in his or her name (regardless of your joint AGI level), or up to $7,000 if your working spouse will be 50 or older as of December 31, 2022.
You as a non-working spouse can make a deductible contribution to a traditional spousal IRA set up in your name, subject to the same limits.
But you and your spouse must together have enough earned income to at least match the combined amount of your contributions. All the requisite earned income can come from your working spouse. Once again, note that taxable alimony received by you or your spouse under a pre-2019 divorce agreement counts as earned income for IRA contribution eligibility purposes.
On the other hand, if your working spouse participates in a tax-favored retirement plan, his or her ability to make a deductible traditional IRA contribution for the 2022 tax year is phased out between joint AGI of $109,000 and $129,000.
Mark S. Fineberg, CPA