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Take an IRA Deduction Now. Pay Later.

Want to reduce your taxable income using a tax deferred contribution to an IRA but don’t have the funds to do so? If you expect a tax refund, here is a technique that may help.

Here is a tax planning tip for those who file their tax returns early and wish to contribute to a tax deductible IRA, but do not have the funds to do so.

Say you want to pay into an IRA to get a tax break but you don’t have the money? Take heart, there are ways to get around this. The IRS allows you to take the deduction now and pay later when you get your refund.

How it works

Step 1: Prepare your tax return early in the year (early February). Run the tax return considering an income reducing contribution to a tax deferred IRA. If you do not have the funds to put into the IRA, but your tax return has a refund that can fund your contribution, you are ready for step 2.

Step 2: File your tax return with the IRA contribution noted. File the tax return as early as possible to ensure your refund gets back to you prior to April 15th. E-file the return if at all possible.

Step 3: Fund your IRA prior to April 15th. Tell your IRA investment firm you wish your IRA contribution to be for the prior year.

That’s it. You have now effectively had the income reduction benefit of your IRA contribution help fund the account through your tax refund.

The risks

Timing is everything. If you use this technique it is critical that the IRA is funded on or before April 15th. If it is not, your tax return will need to be amended.

Refund not received in time. If you do not receive your refund in time, you may not have the funds to make a timely IRA deposit. In this case, you may need to borrow funds on a short-term basis until the refund is received.

No extensions. The IRA contribution for the prior year must be made by April 15th of the following year (the original filing due date). This is true even if you file your return under an approved extension period.

While not for everyone, this tax tip could help you fund more of your retirement on a tax deferred basis.

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