Your Roth IRA Retirement Plan
return to homepage

Roth IRA Taxes

What do you need to know about Roth IRA taxes?

Is a Roth IRA tax-deferred? Can you claim tax losses for your Roth?

These are all legitimate questions you definitely need to know the answers to.

So take the time to learn the tax rules inside and out.


Because knowing what you can and can't do with your Roth IRA can save you money in unexpected taxes and penalties, not to mention the emotional headache of dealing with the IRS.

So learn those tax rules!

Roth IRA Taxes

The Roth Tax Rules

Unless you're trying to do something out of the ordinary with your Roth IRA, the tax rules are actually quite simple to understand. Essentially, you need to know four things...

  • Roth IRA contributions are NOT deductible
  • Roth IRA investment gains grow tax-free
  • Roth IRA withdrawals at age 59 ½ are usually tax-free
  • Roth IRA withdrawals before age 59 ½ are usually NOT tax-free

Of course, you know what's coming next...

There are always exceptions!

Lucky for you this site has all the answers. So if you don't find what you're looking for on this page, use the 'Search This Site' box in the left sidebar.

In the meantime, let's tackle the first bullet on the list... Tax deductibility.

Can You Claim A Roth IRA Deduction?

Unlike a Traditional IRA, a Roth IRA is NOT tax deductible.

What does this mean?

It means you must fund your Roth IRA with after-tax dollars, rather than pre-tax dollars taken from your paycheck prior to taxation.

While there may be an immediate tax advantage to claiming a Roth IRA deduction (lowering your taxable income), a Roth IRA's non-deductibility benefits you in the long run...


Because you pay income taxes on your Roth IRA contributions prior to funding your Roth IRA, your withdrawals after age 59 ½ are tax-free.

Is A Roth Tax-Deferred?

While Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deferred, Roth IRA earnings and investment gains are tax-deferred. Actually, that's a bit misleading...


Because saying Roth IRA investment gains are tax-deferred implies that those gains will be taxed sometime in the future. Thus, the term "deferred."

But Roth IRA investment gains aren't tax deferred...

They're tax-free!

Since your Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, your qualified withdrawals later on in life are tax-free. So, essentially, once you fund your Roth IRA (and assuming you follow all the applicable rules), you never pay taxes on your Roth IRA funds ever again.

The Roth Tax Credit

There actually is a Roth IRA tax credit. But not everyone can claim it...

The Roth IRA tax credit is available to individuals who meet certain criteria.

In order to claim a Roth IRA tax credit, you need to...

  • Be at least 18 years old by the end of the tax year
  • Not be a full-time student for at least 5 months of the tax year
  • Not be claimed as a dependent on someone else's tax return
  • Earn a certain amount of money or less

So what are the limits on what you can earn and still qualify for the tax credit? They are...

  • $28,250 or less if you're single
  • $56,500 or less if you're married filing jointly
  • $42,375 or less if you're a head of household

If you qualify, you may be able to claim a tax credit for as much as 50% of your Roth IRA contribution. Read Is There A Roth IRA Tax Credit? for more details on how to take advantage of the tax credit.

Roth IRA Losses

Can you claim Roth IRA losses on your tax return if your Roth IRA investments underperformed?

The answer is yes. But...

It's not as cut and dry as claiming a loss from a regular taxable brokerage account.

Before claiming a Roth IRA loss, you must make sure each of the following requirements apply...

  • You must close all of your Roth IRA accounts
  • You need to itemize your taxes in order to claim the loss
  • The loss must exceed 2% of your Adjustable Gross Income (AGI)
  • Make sure you're NOT subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

If each of these factors applies to your particular situation, you might be eligible to claim an itemized deduction for your Roth IRA loss. If you think this is the case, read Can You Claim a Tax Loss on Roth IRA Losses? for more information.


It's important to know the rules governing Roth IRA taxes.


Because if you're ignorant of the rules, you might inadvertently trigger a tax liability or an early withdrawal penalty as a result of funding your account or making a withdrawal from your Roth IRA.

As a general rule, you can't do the following...

  • Take a tax deduction for your Roth IRA
  • Claim a Roth IRA loss on your tax return
  • Withdraw investment gains from your Roth IRA tax-free prior to age 59 ½

But, remember, there are always exceptions...

So what can you do with your Roth IRA?

As far as Roth IRA taxes are concerned, you're usually able to do the following...

  • Enjoy tax-free investment gains until withdrawal
  • Make tax-free withdrawals of your original contribution principal anytime
  • Make tax-free investment withdrawals after age 59 ½
  • Take a tax credit for Roth IRA contributions if you qualify

However, just like the things you can't do, each of these rules has an exception, so make sure to do your homework before making any contributions or withdrawals from your Roth IRA.

If you have any questions on Roth IRA taxes, this site has lots of information on the topic. So take the time to explore the site. If necessary, perform a 'Search This Site' query located in the left sidebar. Hopefully, you'll find what you're looking for!

Check out our new Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter!

Return to the top of Roth IRA Taxes

Return to the Your Roth IRA Website Homepage

What's New?

Read 5 Reasons Why I Love My Roth IRA, our part in the Good Financial Cents Roth IRA Movement!

Start planning ahead for next year by checking out 2017 Roth IRA contribution limits, and stay alert to this year's changes to the 2016 Roth IRA contribution limits.

Our family fully funds our Roth IRA with this website. Learn how you can do it too.

Are you confused or frustrated by the stock market? Learn how to build real wealth selecting individual stocks for your Roth IRA...

Read more about what's new on the Roth IRA blog.

Hi, I'm Britt, and this is my wife, Jen. Welcome to our Roth IRA information website!

This is our humble attempt to turn a passion for personal finance into the Web's #1 resource for Roth IRA information. But, believe it or not, this site is more than just a hobby. It's a real business that provides a stable and steady stream of income for our family. In fact, because of this site, Jen is able to be a full-time stay-at-home mom and spend more time with our daughter, Samantha.

But you want to know the best part? ...You can do the same thing! Anyone with a hobby or a passion (even with no previous experience building a website) can create a profitable site that generates extra income.

If you're tired of solely depending on your job(s) for family income, click here now and learn why our income is increasing despite the financial crisis and how we're making our dreams come true.

Search This Site

Roth IRA Basics

2016 Roth IRA Limits 2015 Roth IRA Limits 2014 Roth IRA Limits Roth IRA Rules Roth IRA Benefits Roth IRA Eligibility Roth IRA Income Limits Roth IRA Withdrawals Roth IRA Contribution Limits Open A Roth IRA

Roth IRA Calculators

More About Roth IRAs

Roth IRA Limits Roth IRA Comparisons Roth IRA Penalties Roth IRA Accounts Roth IRA Taxes Roth IRA Contributions Roth IRA Distributions Roth IRA Investing Roth IRA Rollover Rules Roth IRA Conversions

Roth IRA Resources

Best Roth IRA Brokers Roth IRA Calculators Roth IRA Interviews Investing Books Investment Research Site Build It!

About Your Roth IRA

About Us Our Roth IRA

Like Us On Facebook

Follow Us On Twitter


[?] Subscribe To
This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Newsgator
Subscribe with Bloglines


The information contained in Your Roth IRA is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional financial advice. Please contact an independent financial professional when seeking advice regarding your specific financial situation.

For more information, please consult our full Disclaimer Policy as well as our Privacy Policy.

Thank You

Our family started this site as a labor of love in February 2009, a few months after our daughter was born.

Thank you for helping it become one of the most visited Roth IRA information sites.

Thank you, too, to the "SBI!" software that made it all possible.

We hope you find what you're looking for and wish you much continued success in your retirement planning!

Copyright© 2009-2015 Britt Gillette.