Tax Tips: IRA Contribution Deadline

Did you claim a deduction for an IRA contribution on your 2009 Form 1040? Or were you planning to make a non-deductible contribution to a traditional or Roth IRA for 2009 but haven’t done so yet? If the answer is yes, you better make sure your contribution is in the bank or in the mail.

April 15 is the deadline for filing your income tax return. It is also the deadline for making an IRA contribution. With your 1040, or 1040A, you can file an extension on your taxes, but there is no extension for IRA contributions.

With most self-employed pension plans, such as the SIMPLE, you can extend the time to make your contribution by filing for an automatic extension on Form 4868. But this is not so with the basic IRA.

As I have said much earlier in the series, it is also important when mailing an IRA contribution to the trustee that you clearly identify the tax year for which the contribution is being made — on the check and on any accompanying payment voucher or coupon. When you receive a subsequent statement, make sure the payment has been applied to the correct year. If there is an error, notify the trustee immediately.

IRA trustees send the IRS notices of IRA contributions, so if your contribution is applied to the wrong tax year you may get a balance due notice from the IRS, with penalties and interest, down the road.

— Robert D. Flach

Consumerist has teamed up with MainStreet.com to bring you tax tips every day between now and April 15th. This frees up Tax Cat to do more important things — like trying to claim hairball meds and catnip as business expenses.

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