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Saving For Retirement


Retirement accounts can be a tricky business if you aren’t sure what the rules and regulations are. In this blog we are going to talk about different retirement accounts, the benefits, the tax implications, and eligible contributions.

After all, you should know what you’re doing with your money and how it’s affecting your retirement.

Traditional IRA

A Traditional IRA is an IRA that is not a Roth IRA or a SIMPLE IRA. Any individual can setup a Traditional IRA if he or she receives taxable compensation during the year and is not age 70 1/2 by the end of the year. An individual can have a traditional IRA even if covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan. However, the deductible amount of contributions to a traditional IRA may be phased out.

  • Contribution Limit. Contributions to IRAs are limited to the lesser of the individual’s compensation (or spouse’s compensation under a spousal IRA), or $5,500 ($6,500 age 50 or older).
  • Spousal IRA. If both spouses have compensation, each can set up a separate IRA. Spouses cannot participate in the same IRA. If MFJ (Married Filing Jointly), and one spouse’s compensation is less than the contribution limit, the lower-income spouse can use the compensation of the other spouse to qualify.
  • SEP IRA. A SEP is a traditional IRA with different per year contribution limits. An employer (or self-employed individual) makes deductible contributions to a traditional IRA on behalf of the employee (or self-employed individual). Distributions are generally subject to the same rules that apply to traditional IRAs.

Prohibited Transactions Involving IRAs

Penalties apply when IRA funds are used in prohibited transactions. A prohibited transaction is any improper use of traditional IRA funds by the participant, the beneficiary, or a disqualified person. The following are examples of prohibited transactions.

  • Borrowing money from an IRA
  • Selling property to an IRA
  • Receiving unreasonable compensation for managing an IRA
  • Using an IRA as security for a loan
  • Buying property for personal use (present or future) with IRA funds

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA is subject to the same rules as a traditional IRA except for the following.

  • Contributions are nondeductible. Thus, active participation in an employer plan is irrelevant.
  • If certain requirements are satisfied, distributions are tax free.
  • Contributions can be made after the participant reaches age 70 1/2.
  • The required minimum distribution rules do not apply.
  • Distributions are not required until death of the participant.
  • Contributions phase out for 2015 when modified adjusted gross income is $$183,000 to $193,000 for MFJ (Married Filing Jointly), and $116,000 to $131,000 for Single and Head of Household tax filers.
  • Neither a SEP IRA nor a SIMPLE IRA can be set up as a Roth IRA.

domino-163522_1280 SIMPLE IRAs

Eligible employers. Employers can setup a SIMPLE IRA for employees if they have 100 or fewer employees who received $5,000 or more in compensation from the employer in the preceding year. The employer cannot maintain another qualified plan (except for certain union employees).The 100-employee limit must be met each year to continue contributing to the plan. A two-year grace period applies once this limit is exceeded.

Eligible employees. Any employee who received at least $5,000 in compensation from the employer during any two years prior to the current year, and reasonably expects to receive at least $5,000 in compensation during the current year, is eligible to participate in the employer’s SIMPLE plan. The employer can offer the plan on a less restrictive basis but cannot make the plan participation rules any more restrictive.

Defined Contribution Plans

A defined contribution plan is a qualified plan that provides an individual account for each participant in the plan. Benefits depend upon the amount contributed, income, expenses, gains, losses, and forfeitures of other accounts that may be allocated to a participant’s account. Examples of defined contribution plans include profit-sharing plans, money purchase plans, 401(k) plans, and 403(b) plans.

Retirement Plan Contribution Limits 2015

Contributions are limited to the less of the following amounts, of 100% of a participant’s compensation for the year.

Traditional and Roth IRA

Under age 50 — $5,500

Age 50 and older — $6,500

Deferred Contribution Plans (401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans)

Under age 50 — $18,000

Age 50 and older — $24,000


Under age 50 — $12,500

Age 50 and older — $15,500

Retirement plan saver’s tax credit (subject to income limits)


Social Security wage base


Retirement Savings Contribution Credit

The credit of 10%-50% of eligible contributions to IRAs and retirement plans up to a maximum credit of $1,000 ($2,000 for MFJ). Credit rates vary based on adjusted gross income.

The credit is not available if the taxpayer who made the qualified contributions:

  1. Was born after January 1, 1995
  2. Is claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2014 tax return, or
  3. Was a student during any part of five calendar months during 2015


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