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Traditional IRA FAQs

Q1.  What is a Traditional IRA? 

A Traditional IRA is an individual retirement account (IRA) that allows individuals to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis.

Q2.  Who can contribute to a Traditional IRA? 

Anyone with earned income can contribute to their Traditional IRA. This includes a spouse without earned income whose taxes are filed jointly with a spouse who has earned income.

For 2020 and later, there is no age limit on making regular contributions to traditional or Roth IRAs.

Q3. How much can I contribute to my Traditional IRA? 

For 2023, the maximum annual contribution limit per person is $6,500, or $7,500 if you are age 50 or older by the end of the year.

For 2024, the maximum contribution limit per person is $7,000 for the year, or $8,000 if you are age 50 or older by the end of the year.

The total of your contribution can’t be more than your earned income. For example, if you want to contribute $6,500 to your IRA, then you must have at least $6,500 in earned income for the year. If you are married filing jointly, then you can contribute based on your own and your spouse’s earned income combined.

If you have more than one IRA account, then the total contributions you make each year to all of your traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs can’t be more than the maximum contribution limit.

Q4.  Can I contribute to an IRA if I participate in a retirement plan at work? 

You can contribute to a traditional IRA (or Roth IRA) even if you participate in another retirement plan through your employer or business. However, you may not be able to deduct all of your traditional IRA contributions if you or your spouse participates in another retirement plan at work.

Q5.  Are my contributions tax-deductible? 

Generally, yes. Contributions can be tax-deductible depending on your income, filing status, and whether you or your spouse participate in a retirement plan at work.

Q6.  What is the deadline to make contributions? 

Your tax return filing deadline, which is typically April 15th. (This deadline will stay the same even if you get an extension to file your taxes.)

For example, you have until April 15th of this year to make IRA contributions for the previous year. If you contribute for the previous year, then be sure to ask your financial advisor or account custodian to label your contribution for the intended calendar year.

Q7.  What is an excess contribution, and what happens if this applies to my account? 

An excess IRA contribution occurs if you:

    • Contribute more than the contribution limit.
    • Make an improper rollover contribution to an IRA.

Excess contributions are subject to a 6% tax penalty each year until corrected. To avoid the 6% penalty, you must withdraw your excess contributions plus earnings before the deadline.

Q8.  When can I withdraw from my Traditional IRA? 

Withdrawals can be made at any time, though nonqualified withdrawals are penalized. You can start withdrawing funds without penalty after age 59½. Withdrawals made before then may incur a 10% early withdrawal penalty unless specific exceptions apply.

Q9.  Are withdrawals taxed? 

Yes, any deductible contributions and earnings you withdraw are taxable as ordinary income. This rule applies for all withdrawals, both before and after age 59½.

Q10.  Are there Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)? 

Yes, these begin at age 73 (age 72 if you reached age 72 before Jan. 1, 2023). This is scheduled to increase to age 75 in 2033. For every year beginning with your first RMD age, you will be required to withdrawal a certain percentage of your IRA. See our RMD page for more information.

Q11.  What happens to my Traditional IRA when I die? 

The IRA account can be passed on to one or more beneficiaries if you complete the beneficiary designation for your account. Otherwise, your IRA assets will go through probate as part of your estate.  

If inherited, the IRA becomes known as a Beneficiary IRA and new rules apply. The tax implications for the beneficiary will vary based on their relationship to you and other factors.



  1. https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/traditional-iras

This page last reviewed or revised: November 2023. 

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