One of the most effective ways to reduce your taxes and fund your retirement is to max out your available retirement accounts.
If you haven’t already funded your retirement account for 2018, you may still do so. You have until April 15, 2019 for contributions to a traditional IRA, deductible or not, and to a Roth IRA.
Your total contributions to all your traditional and Roth IRAs can’t be more than $5,500 ($6,500, if age 50 or older) (note: your contribution also cannot exceed your taxable income compensation for the year). Making a deductible contribution may help you lower your tax bill this year.
This IRA contribution limit does not apply to rollover contributions and qualified reservist payments.
If you put off filing your return by filing an extension the deadline for your IRA contribution for 2018 is still April 15, 2019. It is expected that this year a lot of returns are going to be put on extension due to the changes from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, there is no extension for IRA contributions.
You can fund both your 2018 and 2019 IRA contributions now. If you can only afford one it is better to fund your 2018 now before the April 15th deadline when that opportunity disappears. When you make the contributions make sure the financial institution (or your advisor) designates the investment for the correct year (2018). If a mistake is made and it is applied to 2019 you will miss the 2018 investment opportunity.
In addition to your IRA, you can do a spousal IRA which lets you invest retirement funds on behalf of your spouse even if your spouse earned little or no income (provided you have the earned income to make that investment).
The sooner you invest the sooner it create gains for you.