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" Is the timing of payments-in, during the year, of any consequence? That is, could I make a single payment in to my new IRA during January 2005, consisting of the maximum amount based on my anticipated income for the whole of 2005?"

If you know what your income will be for 2005, yes, you can make the whole SEP IRA contribution at one time. The problem is that as an independent contractor you may get surprises as to what your income for the year turns out to be. When I worked as an independent contractor, I contributed to my IRA every time I got paid. That meant the money wasn't working for me the whole year, but it also meant I didn't overcontribute and incur penalties for doing so. If you are working for the same company the whole year, questions come up as to whether you should in fact be classified as an employee; if you do short stints for several companies, there can be down time between assignments--which gives you time to enjoy life and should be one of the plusses of being an independent contractor in the first place.

Best wishes, Chris
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