Tips to get the most from an IRA

Posted on Mar 16, 2010

* There is still time for a 2009 IRA. If you didn’t make contributions to an IRA in 2009, you can still set up and contribute to an IRA for 2009. The deadline for doing so is April 15, 2010. An IRA is a great way to save for your retirement while you cut your current tax bill.

 * If your 2009 IRA wasn’t fully funded by December 31, 2009, and you make any IRA contributions prior to April 15, 2010, designate to the bank or trustee that these 2010 contributions are for 2009 (up to the maximum allowed). You can then deduct these amounts on your 2009 income tax return for a quicker tax benefit.

 * Make your 2010 IRA contributions as early this year as possible to maximize the time you have for tax-deferred growth in the fund.

 * Consider converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA this year. The previous rule that excluded taxpayers with incomes over $100,000 from doing a conversion to a Roth is eliminated as of January 1, 2010. You’ll have to pay tax on the amount converted, but qualifying distributions from the Roth IRA are tax-free thereafter. Furthermore, you won’t have to take annual distributions from your Roth IRA when you reach age 70½ if you don’t want to.