You can contribute to a Roth individual retirement account (IRA) after filing your taxes, and you don’t even need to amend your return to do so. If you’ve ever used software to file your taxes, you may have noticed a question that pops up: “Have you made or do you plan to make contributions to a Roth IRA for [this year]?”
The reason why the question is there is that you can still contribute to a Roth and count it toward the previous year’s contribution limit even if you’ve already filed your taxes. The only caveats are that you must fund the account (1) with income earned in that tax year and (2) before the April tax-filing deadline. So you can contribute up through April of, say, 2022, but only using 2021 income.
- For 2021 and 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 a year to your Roth individual retirement account (IRA), or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
- You have from Jan. 1 of the tax year to April 15 of the following year (when your tax return is typically due) to fund your Roth IRA.
- If you file your tax return early, you can still add money to your Roth until tax day.
- If you file for an extension, your tax return will be due on Oct. 15, but that won’t extend the deadline to contribute to your Roth.
How Post-Filing Roth IRA Contributions Work
As you probably know, you have from Jan. 1 of the tax year to April 15 (or so) of the following year—depending on whether April 15 falls on a weekend—to fund your Roth IRA.
That’s a good thing—those extra few months at the beginning of the next year give you time in case you:
- Didn’t get around to making a contribution last year
- Didn’t have the funds to contribute at the time
- Came into an unexpected windfall early this year
- Just learned about Roth IRAs and want to start one for the previous tax year
But what if you filed your taxes in February and it’s now March or early April? No problem. You can still fund a Roth IRA as long as you send in your contribution before the official tax deadline.
For the 2021 tax year, for example, that means all contributions made before April 15, 2022, could go toward 2021’s Roth IRA contribution limit. So there’s no need to hold off on filing your taxes just so you have time to fund your Roth IRA.
You might be able to take the saver’s credit if you contribute to a Roth IRA and had a relatively low income for the year. It can be worth up to $1,000.
Why You Can Fund a Roth IRA After You File Your Taxes
You fund a Roth IRA with after-tax dollars. In other words, you’ve already paid taxes on the money that you’re about to invest.
The government has received its cut, and there is no need to report the contributions on your income tax return. You won’t receive a tax break for contributing, so the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doesn’t need to see what you contributed when you file.
And you won’t even have to amend and refile your tax return.
Roth IRA Contribution Limits
Of course, you still have to obey the general Roth IRA contribution rules and limits. For 2021 and 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 a year, or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older.
If you’ve already invested up to the annual maximum for that year, then you can’t add any more just because the deposit is dated with a new calendar year.
You may be tempted to have the contribution count toward the current year’s limit. However, if you have the option, it’s better to finish off last year’s contribution first, then work on this year. That way, you can maximize the amount of money that you set aside for retirement. (You’ll be able to fully fund both years.) Be sure to specify which year’s account you’re funding when you deposit the money with the financial institution that holds your account.
Should You Use Your Tax Refund to Fund a Roth IRA?
Those few extra months to get in your contribution can be a great relief. This is especially true if you like to get your tax return over with but need a few extra months to come up with your contribution.
And consider this: What if you were an early-bird filer because you expected a tax refund? If so, you could use the refund to make your Roth contribution.
If you file your taxes early enough in the tax season, you could theoretically get your refund before the tax deadline. And then you could use the refund to top off your Roth IRA contribution for the tax year for which you already filed. That’s assuming that the timing works out, of course. An IRS announcement in early 2022 noted that the agency was taking longer than usual to process returns, so you may not want to take any chances.
Special Considerations for Funding a Roth After Filing
Bear in mind that if you take an extension to file your tax return, you still will have to fund your IRA by the April deadline. Just as filing for an extension doesn’t change the due date of your tax payment, it also won’t alter the deadline for the year’s IRA contribution. Any contributions that you make after April 15 can only count toward the current year’s limit.
What are the Roth individual retirement account (IRA) contribution limits for 2021 and 2022?
For both 2021 and 2022, the Roth individual retirement account (IRA) contribution limits are $6,000 for anyone under age 50 and $7,000 for those 50 or older.
Can I fund a traditional IRA after filing my taxes?
Yes, you can fund a traditional IRA after filing your taxes, but the process is different from the one for Roth IRAs. If you know how much you plan to contribute, you can indicate that amount on your tax return, and you’ll be fine as long as you follow through and contribute that amount by the April tax-filing deadline. Otherwise, you can file an amended tax return for the year and claim your traditional IRA deduction on it.
Can I lose money in a Roth IRA?
Yes, you can lose money in a Roth IRA, as with any other investment that’s subject to the ups and downs of the markets. However, the longer that you leave money in a Roth IRA, the less likely that you will lose money.
The Bottom Line
If at all possible, try to max out your Roth IRA contributions every year. By doing so, you’ll increase the chance of having a comfortable—and well-funded—retirement.
And remember: You have a full 15 months to contribute to your Roth IRA each year, even if file your tax return early.