Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Adjustments to Income

IRA Contributions

Spousal Contribution Limits

Taxpayers cannot make IRA contributions that are greater than their compensation for the year. Compensation is generally the income a taxpayer has earned from working; it also includes alimony and other forms of income. See Publication 17 for more information on compensation.

Spousal IRAs are also subject to certain limitations. If married taxpayers file a joint return and one spouse's compensation is less than the other spouse's compensation, the most that can be contributed for the year to the spousal IRA is the smaller of the following amounts:

  • The general limits, or
  • The total compensation includible in the gross income of both spouses for the year reduced by all of the following:
    • Traditional IRA contributions for the spouse with the greater compensation, and
    • Any contribution for the year to a Roth IRA for the spouse with the greater compensation

In other words, as long as they file a joint return, married taxpayers' combined IRA contributions cannot exceed their combined compensation, and neither spouse can contribute more than the IRA limit to their own IRA.