Jenny earns a salary of $1,000,000. She is single and is not an active participant in a company retirement plan. Jenny can contribute $6,000 to a traditional IRA and deduct the full amount on her taxes. Benny, also unmarried, has a modified adjusted gross income of $76,000. He participates in a 401(k) at work. Benny can make a $6,000 contribution to a traditional IRA, but he is not allowed to deduct it. What gives? A person making a million can deduct an IRA contribution, but the person with a MAGI of $76,000 cannot? Is this another example of the rich getting richer?
No, not really. The key factor driving eligibility for a deduction of a traditional IRA contribution is not salary or MAGI, but participation (or lack thereof) in a company retirement plan. When a person or their spouse is an “active participant” in a company retirement plan for any part of the plan year,