TSP and traditional IRA contributions


Q. I am a federal employee with substantial student loan debt. In an effort to maintain my taxable income as low as possible (I am on an income-based repayment), I contribute the maximum allowable amount to my Thrift Savings account. I would, however, like to contribute additional monies to a traditional IRA account but am uncertain if the tax code allows someone to “double dip” by contributing to more than one nontaxable account. The discussions I have read about this issue are inconsistent.  I hope you can provide some insight,

A. It is possible to contribute to both, but your eligibility will depend upon your income and marital status. You should refer to IRS Publication 590, one of the many reputable online calculators, or a CPA for specific guidance.


About Author

Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to fedexperts@federaltimes.com and view his blog at money.federaltimes.com.


  1. Your answer was not correct. The correct answer is simply “Yes”. The eligibility to contribute to a traditional IRA does not depend on income and marital status as stated. The ability to deduct the contribution to a traditional IRA does depend on income and marital status. Many people still find it beneficial to park their money in a non-taxable account even if they are unable to deduct their initial contributions. Pub. 590, page 6 (2011) is quite clear that as long as you are less than age 70.5 and have taxable earned compensation, you can contribute to a Traditional IRA no matter what your income and marital status is and even though you contribute to other retirement type plans at work.

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