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What is a Roth IRA?¹

A Roth IRA is a type of Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) that is subject to the rules that apply to a traditional IRA, except for the following rules:

  • You cannot deduct contributions to a Roth IRA.

  • If you satisfy the requirements for a “qualified distribution,”certain qualified distributions are tax-free.

    • A qualified distribution is a payment or distribution that (1) is made after the 5-year period beginning with the first taxable year for which a contribution was made to a Roth IRA set up for your benefit; and (2) is made (i) on or after the date you reach age 59 ½, (ii) because you are disabled, (iii) to a beneficiary or to your estate after your death, or (iv) for the purchase of your first home (up to a$10,000 lifetime limit).

  • You can make contributions to your Roth IRA after you reach age 70 ½.

  • You can leave amounts in your Roth IRA as long as you live.

  • The account or annuity must be designated as a Roth IRA when it is set up.

The same combined dollar limits apply to all contributions to both of your Roth and traditional IRAs.Your Roth IRA contribution might be limited based on your filing status and income.For 2019, the limits are as follows:

Details about Roth IRAs are contained in IRS Publication 590-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) and IRS Publication 590-B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs).

© Boutwell Fay LLP 2019, All Rights Reserved.This handout is for information purposes only, and may constitute attorney advertising. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions or would like our advice with respect to any of this information, please contact us.The information contained in this article is effective as of June 30, 2019.


¹ This material is from the IRS’s website as of June 30, 2019 at

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