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Subject:  Re: Turbo-Tax woe Date:  2/14/2003  9:58 PM
Author:  lorenzo2 Number:  63841 of 127549

You need another financial advisor. If I understand the situation correctly, your wife has earned income (the part-time job) of about $5,500. You have no earned income, and all other income is unearned - pension, Social Security, and cap gains or dividends.

An individual can contribute up to $3,000 to an IRA (Roth or otherwise), or $3,500 if over 50. But they have to have earned income of at least that much. Your wife is ok with her $2,500 contribution, since she has earned income. You have no earned income, so no IRA contribution allowed. In other words, the problem is with your IRA.

Perhaps your advisor didn't understand that only your wife had earned income - hard to believe he would have got this wrong. TurboTax is right.

Now then - how to fix this? I'm hardly an expert on Roth's, but I believe that you can withdraw your contributions (and any earnings) by April 15 and it's as if you never made them (though you do have to pay tax on earnings, if any). So that gets you off the hook. And you could give $500 (or $1000) of that withdrawal to your wife (assuming you trust her to give it back at some time!) and she could increase her contribution by $500 (or $1000 if she's over 50). She has enough earned income to do that.

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