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In 2022, the Roth IRA contribution limit reduces from $6000 to $0 for as income increases from $129k to $144k (for a single filer). The 401(k) limit is $20,500.

If my salary is $145k (too high for Roth IRA contributions), would contributing $20,500 to my workplace's 401(k) reduce my income to $124,500 for Roth IRA purposes, allowing me to contribute the full $6000?

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  • In most cases, you can do a "backdoor Roth IRA contribution" (i.e. a non-deductible Traditional IRA contribution followed by a conversion to Roth IRA) if your income is too high for a direct Roth IRA contribution, and if you have no pre-tax money in Traditional/SIMPLE/SEP IRAs, the result of a "backdoor Roth IRA contribution" is exactly the same as a direct Roth IRA contribution.
    – user102008
    Aug 17, 2022 at 4:13
  • @user102008 understood; the two scenarios I'm more concerned about are (1) pre-existing Traditional IRA balance makes backdoor impractical/undesired (rollover to 401(k) could alleviate this though, if the plan allows rollovers) and (2) large, late-year increases in income pushing above the limit after Roth IRA contributions have already been maximized (based on lower expected income)
    – yoozer8
    Aug 17, 2022 at 13:02

1 Answer 1

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Yes. MAGI is reduced by 401(k) contributions, and contributing to a 401(k) can reduce your MAGI to the point where you are eligible for Roth contributions.

Non-authoritative source:

If you're a higher-income earner on the edge of qualifying for a Roth IRA contribution, making a 401(k) contribution could push you under the income limitations, since those contributions don't count toward your AGI. That would open the door for more flexibility with short-term savings in a Roth IRA.

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  • "MAGI is inclusive of 401(k) contributions" - Did you mean to say "exclusive"? "Inclusive" would mean that 401(k) contributions do not reduce MAGI.
    – void_ptr
    Aug 18, 2022 at 15:56
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    @void_ptr Changed the wording to make it clearer. 401(k) contributions reduce your MAGI.
    – D Stanley
    Aug 18, 2022 at 16:20

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