Even if you did not have taxable compensation, an IRA contribution may still be possible if your spouse had taxable income for the year of the contribution.
To participate in the Spousal IRA option, you must file a joint tax return – the amount of your combined contributions can’t be more than the taxable compensation you report on your joint tax return.
The IRA contribution limit for 2019 is $6,000 ($7,000 if age 50 or older). If you file a joint return for 2019 and you don’t have any taxable income, but your spouse does, according to the IRS, the most that may be contributed to a spousal IRA on your behalf is the lesser of:
- $6,000 ($7,000 if you are age 50 or older) or
- The total compensation includible in the gross income of both you and your spouse for the year, reduced by the following two amounts.
a. Your spouse’s IRA contribution for the year to a traditional IRA.
b. Any contributions for the year to a Roth IRA on behalf of your spouse.
If both you and your spouse are age 50 or older using this hypothetical above, that’s equal to a potential combined maximum of $14,000 in IRA contributions for that tax year.
Source: IRS Publication 590-A