retirement

Help with Tracking IRA Contributions

Your investment firm will send you a form to verify any contribution you make to an IRA. This can come in handy later if you’re trying to figure taxes on withdrawals.

Question:

I received Form 5498 in the mail a few weeks ago from the brokerage firm where I have my traditional IRA. It shows the IRA contribution I made for last year, but it came after I filed my taxes, so I was confused about what I need to do with it. Should I have submitted this with my tax return?

Answer:

IRA administrators must send Form 5498 by May 31 following the tax year of the contribution, so you usually receive the form a few weeks after the tax-filing deadline. You don’t need to do anything with it when you file your taxes, but you should keep it in your files for the future. This form reports the contributions you made to your traditional IRA. It also includes sections reporting any contributions to a Roth IRA, a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or a SIMPLE IRA, as well as rollover contributions, Roth conversions and other information.

Keeping Form 5498 can be particularly helpful if you made nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA. If you made any traditional IRA contributions that were not tax-deductible, then a portion of your withdrawals will be tax-free. If you haven’t kept records of your nondeductible contributions, Form 5498 can provide some clues. The form doesn’t show whether your contribution was tax-deductible, but you can compare it with your old tax returns to see if you deducted the contribution, says Steven Hamilton, an enrolled agent with offices in Chicago and Spring Hill, Fla. (Enrolled agents are tax advisers who can represent taxpayers before the IRS.)

For more information about how to track down records and determine whether a portion of your IRA withdrawal will be tax-free, see How to Calculate Tax-Free and Taxable IRA Withdrawals.

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