For the last several years, consumers have benefited from the low rate of inflation, but it hasn't been doing much good for retirement savers trying to put more money aside in their retirement accounts. For the third year in a row, the rate of inflation hasn't been high enough to trigger any increases in retirement plan contribution limits. All contribution limits remain the same for 2016, but the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) increased some of the income thresholds for contribution eligibility.

Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits: Unchanged

The maximum IRA contribution limits for both traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs are stuck at $5,500 in 2016. The catch-up contribution is also unchanged at $1,000 for individuals age 50 and older.

Traditional IRA Income Thresholds: Unchanged

The income threshold for deducting IRA contributions is also unchanged. If you have a workplace retirement account, you can claim a tax deduction for an IRA contribution if your income doesn't exceed specified annual limits. For 2016, the IRA tax deduction is phased out for individuals and heads of households with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) between $61,000 and $71,000. For married couples, the phase-out begins at $98,000 and tops out at $118,000.

Roth IRA Income Thresholds: Increased

The income threshold for allowable Roth IRA contributions increased by $1,000 in 2016. If you file as single or as the head of a household, your MAGI can range between $117,000 and $132,000 and you will still be eligible to make a Roth IRA contribution. The amount of allowable contributions begins to phase out at $117,000 and is completely disallowed after $132,000. The MAGI range of married couples is $184,000 to $194,000.

There are still ways around the Roth IRA contribution limitation. If you make a contribution to a non-deductible IRA, you can convert it to a Roth IRA. The same applies to non-deductible contributions made to a 401(k) plan. Any strategy that involves tax implications should be reviewed by a qualified tax professional.

Income Limits for Spouses: Increased

If you don't have a workplace retirement account and you are married to someone who does, you can claim the full deduction for an IRA contribution if you and your spouse's MAGI doesn't exceed $184,000. The tax deduction is phased out for incomes between $184,000 and $194,000.

Income Threshold for Savers Credit: Increased

Many people with low to moderate incomes aren't even aware of this tax credit. A savers tax credit is available to individuals and heads of households who earn up to $30,700 (up from $30,500 in 2015), and married couples who earn up to $61,500 (up from $61,000 in 2015). If you contribute to your IRA, 401(k) or any other qualified retirement account, you could earn a credit of 10%, 20% or 50% of up to $2,000 of your contribution. Higher credits are given for higher incomes. A credit is applied as a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the taxes you owe. A married couple with an AGI of $61,500 could save as much as $2,000 off their tax bill for contributing $2,000 to each of their IRAs.

SEP and SIMPLE IRAs: Unchanged

The contribution limit for SEP IRAs and solo 401(k) plans remain at $53,000 for 2016. The same goes for SIMPLE plans, which are unchanged at $12,500. The catch-up contribution is unchanged at $3,000.

Workplace Retirement Plans

The contribution limits for all workplace retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457 deferred compensation plans, defined benefit plans and government Thrift Savings Plans all remain unchanged in 2016.

As long as the rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index remains low, expect more of the same for 2017.

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