Keep Track of Your Roth Contributions

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At all times and at any age, you can withdraw as much as you have contributed to your Roth individual retirement account (IRA) without tax or penalty.

Unfortunately, there is no convenient place to keep track of Roth IRA contributions. They are not reported on your tax return, and there is no default storage place for this important number.

If you haven’t tracked this number so far, you can start by calling your current custodian. If you have been with one custodian since you first opened your Roth IRA, there is a good chance you can call them to get a record of your Roth IRA contributions. If not, you can at least gather information on the years since opening an account with them.

You can also try calling your financial planner. If they create regular reporting for you, the accounting records which create quarterly reports should be able to tell you annual contribution amounts.

If you have moved around from custodian to custodian, then you may no longer have an easily accessible record. However, if you have saved all your IRS Forms from prior custodians, you may be in luck. Either a Form 1099-R or a Form 5498 can help you.

You would have received a 1099-R when you moved from one custodian to the other. While the line 2a “Taxable amount” would have said $0 if you were moving from a Roth IRA at one custodian to a Roth IRA at the other, line 5 “Employee contributions” would list the contribution basis in your account at that time.

Alternatively, Form 5498 shows the contributions to the IRA in line 1 “IRA contributions.” While perhaps more accurate, you are less likely to have a copy of these forms as they are not generated until after the April 15th tax filing deadline. Custodians have until May 31st to send Form 5498, and by that point most of us are no longer interested in our taxes, are not checking our custodian for tax documents, and as a result, may have never seen this form before.

If you have always funded your Roth IRA from the same checking account, another possible lead might be to ask the bank for transaction information for the years you are missing contribution data.

Without advising records, custodian records, bank records, tax records, or personal records, you’ll unfortunately be left guessing.

Here is the maximum IRA limits by year as reproduced from this website:

Year Contribution Limit Catch-up 50+ Year Old Non-Working Spouse Contribution
2021 $6,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
2020 $6,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
2019 $6,000.00 $1,000.00 $6,000.00
2018 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2017 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2016 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2015 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2014 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2013 $5,500.00 $1,000.00 $5,500.00
2012 $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00
2011 $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00
2010 $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00
2009 $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00
2008 $5,000.00 $1,000.00 $5,000.00
2007 $4,000.00 $1,000.00 $4,000.00
2006 $4,000.00 $1,000.00 $4,000.00
2005 $4,000.00 $500.00 $4,000.00
2004 $3,000.00 $500.00 $3,000.00
2003 $3,000.00 $500.00 $3,000.00
2002 $3,000.00 $500.00 $3,000.00
2001 $2,000.00 $2,000.00
2000 $2,000.00 $2,000.00
1999 $2,000.00 $2,000.00
1998 $2,000.00 $2,000.00
1997 $2,000.00 $250.00
1996 $2,000.00 $250.00
1995 $2,000.00 $250.00
1994 $2,000.00 $250.00
1993 $2,000.00 $250.00
1992 $2,000.00 $250.00
1991 $2,000.00 $250.00
1990 $2,000.00 $250.00
1989 $2,000.00 $250.00
1988 $2,000.00 $250.00
1987 $2,000.00 $250.00
1986 $2,000.00 $250.00
1985 $2,000.00 $250.00
1984 $2,000.00 $250.00
1983 $2,000.00 $250.00
1982 $2,000.00 $250.00
1981 $1,500.00 $250.00
1980 $1,500.00 $250.00
1979 $1,500.00 $250.00
1978 $1,500.00 $250.00
1977 $1,500.00 $250.00
1976 $1,500.00
1975 $1,500.00
1974 $1,500.00

 

Going forward, keep track of all your contributions in a file alongside where you store your tax returns.

Photo by Holly Stratton on Unsplash

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Chief Operating Officer, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 700 financial articles. Her most popular post is "The Complete Guide to Your Washing Machine" while one of her favorites is "Funding a 3-Year-Old’s Roth IRA."