To contribute to a traditional IRA, you must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year. You, and/or your spouse if you file a joint return, must have taxable compensation, such as wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, or net income from selfemployment. Taxable alimony and separate maintenance payments received by an individual are treated as compensation for IRA purposes.
Generally, compensation is what you earn from working. For a summary of what compensation does and does not include, see Publication 590 – Table 1-1 on page 4. Compensation includes all of the items discussed next (even if you have more than one type). Wages, salaries, etc. Wages, salaries, tips, professional fees, bonuses, and other amounts you receive for providing personal services are compensation. The IRS treats as compensation any amount properly shown in box 1 (Wages, tips, other compensation) of Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, provided that amount is reduced by any amount properly shown in box 11 (Nonqualified plans). Scholarship and fellowship payments are compensation for IRA purposes only if shown in box 1 of Form W-2. Commissions. An amount you receive that is a percentage of profits or sales price is compensation.