Retirement, Taxes 

Contribution Deadline for IRAs

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The rule for contributing to an IRA, whether it’s a Traditional, Roth, or whatever else type of IRA you may have, has always been that you must contribute the funds before the filing deadline for taxes that year. If you want to contribute to your IRA for 2006, you must do so before the April 17th deadline (normally 15th, but this year because of holidays it’ll be the 17th) or when you actually file your return. So what’s noteworthy here? For the longest time I thought that it didn’t matter when you filed your return, you just needed to contribute before the deadline, but if you believe that, as I did, you’d be wrong – something TurboTax clued me in on. If you file your tax return on Feb 20th, you must contribute before Feb 20th, not April 17th.

Why? I’m not entirely sure why other than to prevent yourself from messing things up. With a Traditional IRA, you get to deduct the contribution from your income because you’re deferring that until disbursement, so if you were to note on your return that you are contributing $4,000 and don’t, that could result in a sticky situation. You’d have to amend your return and deal with that whole process. I don’t see a similar problem with a Roth IRA but the rules still apply.

Whatever the reason, just make sure you make the contribution before your actually file and try not to wait until the deadline (and make sure to contribute to or open up a Roth IRA!) – you never know what could happen.

{ 10 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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10 Responses to “Contribution Deadline for IRAs”

  1. NCN says:

    Wow. Are you positive about this? I’ve never, ever heard this. I can understand with a Traditional, but with a Roth or an ESA? Hmm…

  2. NCN says:

    I just found this at the IRS site…
    I THINK that you might be reading this wrong… check it out:

    Filing before a contribution is made: You can file your return claiming a traditional IRA contribution before the contribution is actually made. Generally, the contribution must be made by the due date of your return, not including extensions

    My comment:
    See… I think that the contribution must be made by the “due” date of your return (April 17?)…
    The first line specifically says that you “can file your return claiming a trad. IRA con. BEFORE the con. is actually made…

    I am NOT a tax dude.. but it really would be cool to get some clarification on this point!

  3. jim says:

    Hmmm… I wonder why TurboTax warned me that I better have already made the contribution…

    • Andrea says:

      To make sure you didn’t forget about it later. Probably just a liability CYA that their attorneys made them put in.

  4. NCN says:

    I just spoke to an accountant friend and he assured me that I have until the 17th to
    make contributions. Maybe TurboTax was just making sure that you were really going
    to make those contributions? In fact, he said that I could open a new account after filing, and
    then fund it, and it would be just fine…
    (Again… I’m not a tax pro…)

  5. BudgetFreak says:

    Hmmmm…. I hope NCN is right. I filed my 2006 taxes on February 23rd, and then opened up a ROTH IRA on March 10th and maxed out my contribution for 2006.

    When I opened the account, they never asked me if I had filed my taxes yet. Should I be worried???

  6. thc says:

    IRA contributions must be made by your tax filing due date (April 17th this year) regardless of when you actually file. Extensions do not apply to IRA contributions. A postmark of April 17th is considered timely if you’re mailing a check to your financial institution. Hope that helps clear things up.

  7. maggie says:

    I missed the deadline to make my IRA contributions!!! What are the next steps on resolving this problem? Do I give the refund back? or can I open one now? Please help.

    • Andrea says:


      You need to file an amended return and yes, will need to send back some of your refund .. unless there are some deductions that you missed that you can also correct on an amendment that would make up for it.

      You can open an IRA now but the money would be a 2007 contribution. Won’t do you any good on your taxes this year but you’ll have a year of tax deferred returns that you won’t have if you wait until the last minute in 2008 – so that’s good, right? 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    Totally wrong – but Turbo Tax can sometimes be confusing. Well, the IRS tax code can be confusing, I guess Turbo Tax is only the messenger.

    And you only have until April 17th – NOT EXTENSIONS.

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