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Greetings, Aleph, and welcome. You asked:

am getting married later this month (September) and was shocked to learn that married individuals filing separately cannot contribute to a Roth IRA if either has an adjusted gross income (AGI) greater than $10,000! Does anyone know if I can contribute some portion of the allowed annual contribution amount (having been UNmarried for nearly 9 months of the 2003 tax year)?

IF you are married as of the end of your tax-year (12/31 for most folks) and IF you elect to file separately and IF your modified adjusted gross income is more than $10,000, THEN under current law any Roth contribution you made for that tax-year will be disallowed. The law makes no exceptions for the part of the tax-year you may have been single.

I've always taken advantage of this (Roth IRA) great tax benefit. I've been aware of the "marriage penalty" but never looked into it in any detail before. Ouch! I know we have the option of filing jointly, but I'd hoped to avoid that since my wife-to-be is not a good record keeper. I'd rather not go there <g>.

Unfortunately, if you wish to use a Roth, then under existing law the only way the contribution will be allowed is to remain single until after the end of the tax-year or file your income tax return jointly. After all, at some point you're gonna file jointly anyway, right? Might as well start this tax-year as in any other. <g>

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