See IRS Pub 501 for more information. People who have earned income and their spouses who don't work, if they file a joint return, can contribute to a traditional IRA. With a traditional IRA, you may be able to deduct your contributions from your taxes, which can help lower your tax bill. Anyone with earned income can open and contribute to an IRA, including those who have a 401 (k) account through an employer.
The only limitation is on the total contributions to your retirement accounts in a single year. You may or may not be able to request a deduction from your contributions to a traditional IRA depending on whether you or your spouse are covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan, your tax-reporting status, and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If neither you nor your spouse (if any) participate in a work plan, your traditional IRA contribution is always tax-deductible, regardless of your income. A requalification allows you to treat a regular contribution made to a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA as if it had been made to another type of IRA.
If you don't qualify to make a deductible contribution, you can still invest money in a traditional IRA. See publication 590-A, Frequently Asked Questions about contributions to Individual Retirement Agreements (IRAs) and retirement plans in connection with exemptions from the 60-day renewal requirement. See publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for more information on IRA losses. If you do so before the deadline for filing your tax return (including extensions), you can consider the contribution as if it had been made to the second IRA of that year (practically ignoring the contribution to the first IRA).
If neither of you has access to a work-savings plan, you can deduct all your contributions up to the limit. If neither you nor your spouse have a retirement plan at work, your contributions (up to the annual maximum) are fully deductible. If you file a joint return and have taxable compensation, you and your spouse can contribute to your separate IRAs. Depending on the type of IRA you use, an IRA can lower your tax bill when you make contributions or when you withdraw money when you retire.
Contribution limits apply to each individual, so married couples can contribute to the contribution limit for both spouses. Initial tax relief is one of the main things that differentiate the rules of traditional IRAs from Roth IRAs, in which taxes are not allowed to be deducted for contributions. If you or your spouse are covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan and your income exceeds certain levels, you may not be able to deduct your full contribution. To recharacterize a regular contribution to an IRA, you ask the administrator of the financial institution holding your IRA to transfer the amount of the contribution plus earnings to a different type of IRA (either a Roth or traditional one) through a transfer from trustee to trustee or to a different type of IRA with the same trustee.
Business owners who set up SEP IRAs for their employees can deduct contributions they make on behalf of employees.