Is the deadline for contributing to a Roth IRA? Dec. 31 or when I file my taxes?


According to the IRS page on Roth IRAs:

You can make contributions to a Roth IRA for a year at any time during the year or by the due date of your return for that year (not including extensions).

So, April 15th is your deadline (regardless of when you file, particularly since Roth IRA contributions are not deducted and thus not listed on your return). Extensions don't advance this.

This question addresses the possibility of contributing after your return is complete; it suggests one good strategy, which is to take your refund and contribute it to a Roth IRA for the previous year (which is fine as long as you're under income limits and get it in time).

  • 3
    Note that the deadline for converting funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth is December 31st. – Jim Garrison Nov 24 '15 at 21:39
  • @JimGarrison: Well, it's not so much a "deadline" because you are free to convert any amount any time -- it's just that the timing affects which year it counts under for tax purposes. For contributions, which year the contribution counts under matters more because there is a maximum contribution limit for each year, which there isn't for conversions. – user102008 Nov 25 '15 at 0:59
  • Good point, but usually you convert in the year in which it's advantageous tax-wise, and you can't do that after 12/31. You can later reduce the amount (recharacterization) but not increase it or initiate it retroactively. – Jim Garrison Nov 25 '15 at 3:11

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