Jerry sells widgets for the ACME Widget Company. Jerry is a hard-working employee who participates in the ACME Widget Company 401(k) Plan. Jerry also contributes annually to an IRA account at a local bank.
The widget business is a fickle one. Some years Jerry can make up to $200,000, while in the down years he might only make $50,000. When Jerry’s income is high, he cannot deduct his IRA contribution because he is an active participant in his employer’s 401(k) plan. In those years, he makes nondeductible contributions to his IRA and diligently files Form 8606 to report them as such.
In the slow years, when Jerry and his wife’s income is below the deductibility phase-out range for active participants, Jerry contributes to his IRA and takes the appropriate deduction on his taxes. Jerry maintains excellent records and knows exactly how much deductible vs. nondeductible money he has in his IRA.