IRA Contribution Limits

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF® | Reviewed by Editorial Team

Updated on December 28, 2022

An individual retirement account allows you to save money for retirement, while also providing tax benefits.

Workers with traditional jobs or self-employed individuals can contribute to IRA accounts, and the money inside the account grows on a tax-deferred basis.

When it comes to contribution limits, account owners can make contributions to their account for the previous tax year up until the deadline.

This contribution limit is assessed on a yearly basis, which means owners are not required to make contributions each year if they do not meet IRA eligibility requirements or they have made contributions that exceed their contribution limits.

Contribution Limits

Although IRA limits vary based on factors such as income, compensation and filing status, these limits are subject to inflationary adjustments.

For tax year 2021, contribution limits for those under age 50 is $6,000. For those age 50 and over, the contribution limit is $7,000.

These limits apply to contributions made to a single account for a specific tax year.

Take note that owners can contribute more than the maximum, but they must elect this option when they set up their accounts. If they do not, contribution limits apply.

For married couples, they can contribute to IRA accounts for a spouse who is not employed or has no earned income. The limit for this case is $6,000 or $7,000.


IRA owners must be allowed to contribute to accounts based on eligibility requirements set by the IRS.

For contribution deadlines, owners must meet the following requirements:

  • Be allowed to contribute under contribution limits in effect.
  • Account must be set up by the contribution deadline.
  • Owners must have compensation or taxable alimony or separate maintenance income.

These requirements apply to owners who work for an employer or who are self-employed.

The eligibility also depends on compensation and filing status, such as married couples.

On the other hand, individuals who are also covered by employee retirement plans at work, including 401(k)s, are not eligible for IRA contributions.

This also applies to individuals with self-employment income.

Contribution Deadline

For contribution deadlines, owners must submit their contributions by the IRA deadline. For the year 2021, account owners have until April 15, 2022 to contribute. To avoid penalties and fees, owners should set up their accounts and make contributions by this date.

If they fail to meet eligibility requirements for contribution deadlines, owners can make contributions after the deadline if they file Form 5329 with the IRS. However, owners who exceed their contribution limits must pay a 6% excise tax since they are not eligible for the IRA tax deduction.

When owners file taxes jointly, each spouse' contribution limit is based on the limit of a spouse who has earned income. IRA owners should use Form 1040 to communicate their contributions. So if they file jointly and only one spouse makes contributions, then that amount will be used as a deduction for the other spouse. If both spouses want to make contributions, the deadline still applies.

However, owners can split their contribution limit in half and apply it to each account. They must note that the deadline is not extended if they do this.

Final Thoughts

IRA contribution deadlines are a significant factor account owners must consider when filing their taxes.

These deadlines apply on a yearly basis, so owners who wish to contribute must meet the contribution limits in effect for each year they want to contribute. The deadline is April 15 of the following year.

In addition, owners must also meet contribution eligibility requirements and contributions made must be submitted by this date.

If they do not meet the eligibility requirements or have already contributed an amount that is above IRA limits, owners can avoid penalties and fees by making contributions after the deadline as long as they file Form 5329 with the IRS.


IRA Contribution Limits FAQs

When is the IRA contribution deadline for tax year 2021?

For tax year 2021, IRA owners have until April 15, 2022 to contribute.

Can account owners make contributions after the deadline?

IRA owners can avoid penalties and fees if they file Form 5329 with the IRS when they have exceeded limits or do not meet the requirements. They can also submit contributions after this date as long as they file this form.

What contribution deadline applies when owners file taxes jointly?

When owners file taxes jointly, each spouse's IRA contributions are combined. This means deadlines apply to the total contributions of both owners rather than individual account limits.

What are IRA contribution limits for tax year 2021?

For IRA contributions made to a single IRA account, the IRA contribution limit is $6,000 or $7,000 for those under age 50 and over age 50, respectively. In addition, IRA contribution limits are higher for spouses who file jointly under the IRA spousal.

How does the contribution deadline affect contribution limits?

Contribution deadlines apply to owners filing taxes, not IRA contributions. So if file jointly and only one spouse makes contributions, then that amount will be used as a deduction for the other spouse. However, account owners who exceed limits may be required to pay a 6% excise tax as an IRA over contribution.

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.

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