Q:I didn't contribute to my IRA in 2002, and I'm regretting it. Can
I still make a contribution for 2002, before the April 15 tax
Yes, a window remains for you to make a 2002 IRA contribution.
For both traditional and Roth IRAs, the contribution deadline for any
given year is April 15 of the following year. (Filing for an
extension on your tax return deadline does not extend the IRA
contribution deadline.) This means that you have until April 15,
2003, to make a 2002 contribution to your IRA. When you make your
contribution, be sure your IRA manager understands that your
contribution is intended for 2002, rather than 2003.
If you plan on making a contribution closer to the April 15 deadline
but want to file your tax return earlier, you can still include the
planned contribution on your tax return. If for some reason you are
unable to make the contribution as planned, you should then file an
amended tax return with the IRS.
Remember that it is the traditional IRA, not the Roth IRA that may
be eligible for a tax deduction. The amount of your deduction will
vary, depending on your total adjusted gross income and filing
status. Taxes on your earnings are deferred until withdrawal, when
you will likely save money by filing within a lower tax bracket. Roth
IRAs are not tax deductible, but the earnings on your investment are
In either case, it makes good sense to maximize your yearly IRA
contributions. Remember that the 2002 tax year is the first to be
effected by recent tax reforms, which increased the annual
contribution limit for both traditional and Roth IRAs.
The contribution deadline for other forms of IRAs, such as the
SIMPLE IRA and SEP plan, are determined by your employer's tax filing
deadline, including extensions.
As always, be sure to work with a financial professional who can
advise you on IRA contributions and the best strategy to meet your
retirement savings goals.