Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2012-2013

The contribution limit for IRAs increased by $500 for 2013 to $5,500. The maximum you may contribute to your Traditional and Roth IRAs combined is the lesser of $5,500, or the amount of your taxable compensation for 2013 (and $5,000 for 2012). If you are 50 years of age or older before the end of the year, your contribution limit is $6,000 for 2012 and $6,500 for 2013 (due to $1,000 catch-up contribution allowance). It is also important to note this is a per individual limit and as a married couple, the contribution limits can potentially be twice as much.


  • Between January 1, 2013 and April 15, 2013, you can contribute to either 2012 or 2013 tax year.
  • For the 2012 tax year, be sure to use the 2012 numbers.

It is also important to note that the limit applies to the combination of both Traditional and Roth IRA. For example, for 2012 tax year, you can contribute up to $5,000 in any combination. For example, if you contribute $3,000 to Traditional IRA, you can only contribute $2,000 to Roth IRA — not $5,000 each.

The follow tables show the contribution limits for IRA, along with the catch-up contribution amount for individuals 50 and older:

Contribution Limits for Traditional IRA and Roth IRA

Year Contribution Limit Catch-up Contribution
2013 $5,500 $1,000
2012 $5,000 $1,000

Phase Out for Roth IRA

There are phase out limits on IRA contribution depending on your income tax filing status and Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI), which is calculated on your tax form. For 2012, Roth IRA eligibility begins phasing out with a MAGI above $110,000 for single filers, and above $173,000 for married filing jointly. Single filers with a MAGI above $125,000 and married filing jointly with a MAGI above $183,000 are not eligible for Roth IRA contributions.

Filing Status Phase out begins if MAGI exceeds Ineligible if MAGI exceeds
single, head of household, or married filing separately and you did not live with your spouse at any time during the year $112,000 (2013)
$110,000 (2012)
$127,000 (2013)
$125,000 (2012)
married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) $178,000 (2013)
$173,000 (2012)
$188,000 (2013)
$183,000 (2012)
married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the year $0 $10,000

Phase out for Traditional IRA

For Traditional IRA, the phase out limit depends on your participation in a retirement plan at work. Note that even if you reach and/or exceed the phase out limit, you could still make nondeductible contributions up to the maximum limit (see “Nondeductible Contributions” below).

If you participate in a retirement plan at work

Filing Status Phase out begins if MAGI exceeds Nondeductible if MAGI exceeds
single or head of household $59,000 (2013)
$58,000 (2012)
$69,000 (2013)
$68,000 (2012)
married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er) $95,000 (2013)
$92,000 (2012)
$115,000 (2013)
$112,000 (2012)
married filing separately $0 $10,000

If you are NOT covered by a retirement plan

Filing Status Phase out begins if MAGI exceeds Nondeductible if MAGI exceeds
single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er) No phase out N / A
married filing jointly or separately with a spouse who is not covered by a plan at work No phase out N / A
married filing jointly with a spouse who is covered by a plan at work $178,000 (2013)
$173,000 (2012)
$188,000 (2013)
$183,000 (2012)
married filing separately with a spouse who is covered by a plan at work $0 $10,000

Nondeductible Contributions

Although your tax deduction for IRA contributions may be reduced or eliminated when you reach or exceed your phase out limits, contributions can still be made to your traditional IRA up to your maximum limit, and if it applies, your spousal IRA limit. The difference between your total permitted contributions and your deduction (if any) is your nondeductible contribution. Here is an example from the IRS website:

Tony is 29 years old and single. In 2012, he was covered by a retirement plan at work. His salary is $59,312. His modified AGI is $70,000. Tony makes a $5,000 IRA contribution for 2012. Because he was covered by a retirement plan and his modified AGI is above $68,000, he cannot deduct his $5,000 IRA contribution. He must designate this contribution as a nondeductible contribution by reporting it on Form 8606.

To clarify, if Tony’s modified AGI is above $58,000 but below $68,000, then part of his contribution would be deductible and the rest would be nondeductible.

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Source: IRA Contribution and Deduction Limits at

About the Author

By , on Nov 23, 2012
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

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Leave Your Comment (18 Comments)

  1. Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says:

    If you are above the ROTH cut off and don’t have a Traditional IRA, you can open a regular IRA and immediately roll it over into a ROTH and still be able to contribute without penalty. 🙂 Of course, you must pay taxes on the ROTH, but it’s effectively the same as if you had just opened a ROTH in the first place.

  2. Jim Harris says:

    My MAGI is greater than the phase out limits for deducting traditional IRA. I had multiple employers during the year. I was covered by a retirement plan from only one of them and left work there during May, 2012. Am I subject to the phase-out? I reviewed a variety of resources, IRS and otherwise and could not find an answer which addresses the TIMING of being covered by a retirement plan.

    • Pinyo says:

      @Jim – I believe it’s an all or nothing. If you participate at any time during the year, you are affected by the lower phase out limit. Please note that I said participate. If they offer something and you’re not participating, then you should be fine.

  3. P. Lyons says:

    Can a retired person over 65 with no earned income make an IRA contribution?

  4. distance says:

    I am married, filling jointly, out AGI is 83k. We both state employees and contribute to our retirement plan. We also have another seperate pre-tax retirement plan through our employer. I have invested my 5k limit to an online company Roth IRA. Can my wife contribute her 5k limit into the same online Roth IRA account? Or does she need to open up a new online Roth IRA account in her name?

  5. Pinyo says:

    @me – I search around the web a bit to find the answer for you and I belive that you can do a catch-up for non-deductible contribution.

  6. me says:

    Does “Catch Up” apply to Non-deductible contribution?
    I’ve been making Non-deductible contribution of $5000 a year for the last couple years. I’ll be 50 years old this year. Can I make $6000 non-deductible contribution?

  7. Pinyo says:

    @polly – based on the charts above, it doesn’t appear that he is eligible to contribute to his IRA.

  8. polly says:

    I am covered with 401k at my work for 2011. My husband is not. Our adjusted gross income is 204000. Can he contribute 5000$ towards his IRA for the year 2011?

  9. Pinyo says:

    @Iryna – It’s not a big problem. You can correct it. Please take a look at this article: What Happens If You Contribute Too Much to Roth, IRA or 401k?

  10. Iryna says:

    Hi Pinyo,
    I already put 5000 to Roth IRA for 2012 and just found out that our AGI will be over 183000 for the year. What do I need to do? Is there a fine?


  11. Pinyo says:

    @steve – I am not sure either. I think it was meant to discourage people for using that tax filing status.

  12. steve says:

    Why is there a cap of 10K modified AGI in order to qualify for a Roth IRA contribution when married filing separately, while it is so much more when filing single or jointly? I don’t understand the logic. It seems like a bizarre pentalty! Thanks. I can’t find anywhere on the web or IRS that explains this.

  13. Pinyo says:

    @Craig – It’s $5,000 per person, not $10,000 between 2 people. You can read more about the correction process here: What Happens If You Contribute Too Much to Roth, IRA or 401k?.

  14. Craig says:

    I’ve already contributed $5000 for myself and my wife (filing jointly) has contributed $3500 to her account. We now find ourselves just barely in the income phase out range for 2011. Does anyone know if the contribution limits apply per person or if they can be combined? Our combined $8500 contribution limit is under the allowed amount, however, my $5000 would be over the individual amount. Any idea if I have to withdraw the excess plus interest from my Roth?

  15. Sandra says:

    Thanks Pinyo! This is going to save me a grip!

  16. Pinyo says:

    @Sandra – That’s correct. You’d be able to deduct the $10,000.

  17. Sandra says:

    Thank you for your very helpful article.

    My filing status is Married Filing Jointly and my income plus my husband’s income is less than $169K. Neither of our employers provide a retirement plan. If both my husband and I contributed $5000 each to our individual traditional IRA accounts, does that mean we can offset our joint taxable income by $10,000?

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