skip navigation
Search Help
Navigation Help

Tax Map Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

International
Tax Topic Index

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

Exempt Organization
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics
Worksheets

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 590-A
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230337

Chapter 1
Traditional IRAs(p5)


taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000270052Introduction

This chapter discusses the original IRA. In this publication, the original IRA (sometimes called an ordinary or regular IRA) is referred to as a "traditional IRA." A traditional IRA is any IRA that isn’t a Roth IRA or a SIMPLE IRA. The following are two advantages of a traditional IRA.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230352

Who Can Open a Traditional IRA?(p5)

rule
You can open and make contributions to a traditional IRA if:
You can have a traditional IRA whether or not you are covered by any other retirement plan. However, you may not be able to deduct all of your contributions if you or your spouse is covered by an employer retirement plan. See How Much Can You Deduct, later.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230354

Both spouses have compensation.(p5)

rule
If both you and your spouse have compensation and are under age 701/2, each of you can open an IRA. You can’t both participate in the same IRA. If you file a joint return, only one of you needs to have compensation.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230355

What Is Compensation?(p6)

rule
Generally, compensation is what you earn from working. For a summary of what compensation does and doesn’t include, see Table 1-1. Compensation includes all of the items discussed next (even if you have more than one type).
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230357

Wages, salaries, etc.(p6)

rule
Wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, bonuses, and other amounts you receive for providing personal services are compensation. The IRS treats as compensation any amount properly shown in box 1 (Wages, tips, other compensation) of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, provided that amount is reduced by any amount properly shown in box 11 (Nonqualified plans). Scholarship and fellowship payments are compensation for IRA purposes only if shown in box 1 of Form W-2.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230358

Commissions.(p6)

rule
An amount you receive that is a percentage of profits or sales price is compensation.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230359

Self-employment income.(p6)

rule
If you are self-employed (a sole proprietor or a partner), compensation is the net earnings from your trade or business (provided your personal services are a material income-producing factor) reduced by the total of:
Compensation includes earnings from self-employment even if they aren’t subject to self-employment tax because of your religious beliefs.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230360
Self-employment loss.(p6)
If you have a net loss from self-employment, don’t subtract the loss from your salaries or wages when figuring your total compensation.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230361

Alimony and separate maintenance.(p6)

rule
For IRA purposes, compensation includes any taxable alimony and separate maintenance payments you receive under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230363

Nontaxable combat pay.(p6)

rule
If you were a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, compensation includes any nontaxable combat pay you received. This amount should be reported in box 12 of your 2017 Form W-2 with code Q.
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230364

Table 1-1. Compensation for Purposes
of an IRA

Includes ... Doesn’t include ...
  earnings and profits from
 property.
wages, salaries, etc. 
  interest and
 dividend income.
commissions. 
  pension or annuity
 income.
self-employment income. 
  deferred compensation.
alimony and separate maintenance. 
  income from certain
 partnerships.
nontaxable combat pay. 
  any amounts you exclude
 from income.
  
taxmap/pubs/p590a-001.htm#en_us_publink1000230366

What Isn’t Compensation?(p6)

rule
Compensation doesn’t include any of the following items.