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I've contributed $2000 to my Roth 401(k) plan through my employer, and $4000 to my Roth IRA plan that is totally separate from my employer. My accountant says that the limit on Roth IRA contributions is $5000 for my age and says that I've over-contributed by $1000 and need to withdraw the excess.

Is he correct? Do Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA plans share the same $5000 limit?

I was looking at this matrix on wikipedia and it doesn't say anything about them sharing contribution limits.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/401(k)_IRA_matrix

  • If your income is high enough, you may be ineligible to contribute to a Roth IRA at all. If so, the entire $4000 is an excess contribution, and if it was for 2011, then you have just two weeks to (a) either withdraw it together with all earnings thus far or (b) re-characterize it as a non-deductible contribution to a Traditional IRA. You don't get to deduct $4K on your 2011 return, but you need to file Form 8606 to tell the IRS that n years down the road, when you start taking money out of the Traditional IRA, $4K of that is post-tax money and not taxable income to you. – Dilip Sarwate Apr 4 '12 at 4:08
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    Oh, and find another accountant, or get a tax return preparation program such as TurboTax or TaxAct or H&RBlock and do it yourself; these are quite easy to use and won't make mistakes like your accountant did. – Dilip Sarwate Apr 4 '12 at 4:11
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    @DilipSarwate an accountant that doesn't know these simple things deserves no clients at all. A simple google search can expose his ignorance. I bet his golf handicap is quite low. – JoeTaxpayer Apr 4 '12 at 4:51
  • OP: A question to be answered is: is this for 2011 or 2012? Money deposited before tax day 2012 can be credited into your IRA as a 2011 or a 2012 contribution. Make sure this is not the issue. Did you make any IRA or 401K deposits in 2011? – mhoran_psprep Apr 4 '12 at 10:45
  • Are you sure the work plan is a 401k? Some small business retirement plans are actually IRAs, and are described by the employer as being "like a 401k". – duffbeer703 Apr 4 '12 at 12:44
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No, your accountant is completely incorrect. They have no relation to each other. Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs share the same contribution limit, but this has nothing to do with 401(k)s. Traditional 401(k)s and Roth 401(k)s share a separate contribution limit, but this has nothing to do with IRAs. The only thing that can limit your Roth IRA contribution in your case is if your income is hitting the income limit.

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