Setting money aside for retirement can help ensure that have the financial means to live comfortably after you finish your work career. Roth IRAs let you save money that grows tax-free, but the Internal Revenue Service places income limitations on who can contribute to a Roth IRA. You can open a Roth IRA if you make more than $100,000 a year as long as your income does not exceed certain limits set by the IRS and you chose the right tax filing status.
For single taxpayers, $100,000 is close to the annual income limit for Roth IRAs. The IRS says that individuals with a filling status of "single" or "head of a household" can contribute up to $5,000 to a Roth IRA in 2012 as long as income is not $110,000 or more. If your adjusted gross income is $110,000 or more and less than $125,000, you can contribute to a Roth IRA, but you the amount you can contribute phases out as your income approaches $125,000. You can't contribute to a Roth IRA if your income is $125,000 or more.
If you get hitched and file a joint tax return you can still open a Roth IRAs with more than $100,000 in annual income. According to the IRS, joint filers who make less than $173,000 in adjusted gross income can contribute the full amount -- $10,000 per couple -- to a Roth IRA in 2012. Roth IRA contributions phase out at incomes between $173,000 and $183,000. If you and your spouse both make over $100,000 a year, you can't open a Roth IRA.
Married Filing Separately
When you tie the knot, you and your spouse have the option of choosing filing separate tax returns as a way to keep finances separate. If you choose to file separate returns, you can't contribute to a Roth IRA if your income is more than $100,000. In fact, Roth IRA contributions for separate filers phase out immediately for any income and separate filers cannot contribute to a Roth IRA if income exceeds $10,000.
While filing separate returns usually disqualifies you from making contributions to a Roth IRA if your income exceeds $10,000, there is one exception: you don't live with your spouse. The IRS states that taxpayers who file separate returns but do not live with one another at any time during the year are subject to the Roth IRA limits for single taxpayers.
Gregory Hamel has been a writer since September 2008 and has also authored three novels. He has a Bachelor of Arts in economics from St. Olaf College. Hamel maintains a blog focused on massive open online courses and computer programming.