What Is the Last Date You Can Make an IRA Contribution?

Making Contributions

You can make your contribution for a given year until the tax filing date of the following year. This contribution deadline is strict, and no extension is allowed even if you are granted an extension on your tax returns through October. While April 15 typically is recognized as tax day -- the deadline for filing income tax returns -- the 2011 tax day is April 18, and it's April 17 in 2012. You can make either a traditional or Roth IRA contribution throughout the entire calendar year and up to tax day for the following calendar year. This means you can make 2010 IRA contributions until April 18, 2011.

Repayment Contributions

Repayment contributions are available to qualified reservists seeking to put funds back into an IRA after taking early distributions under the qualified reservist distribution rules. Active duty reservists can use IRA funds without penalty during active duty and repay the amount up to the amount distributed without it being treated as an excess contribution that would be penalized. The time limit to replace the funds is two years after active duty ends.

Using Your Refund

Some people use their tax refund to fund their IRA annual contribution. Instead of waiting for your tax refund to come, which might be well after the tax day deadline, complete Form 8888 when filing personal tax returns. This form allows you to designate all or part of your tax refund as your IRA contribution. It creates a direct deposit link, allowing the IRS to send the funds on your behalf directly to the IRA. Speak with a tax adviser to make sure you are meeting all deadlines and IRS requirements.

Roth or Traditional

The deadline exists regardless of whether you are contributing to a Roth or traditional IRA Many taxpayers wait until their tax returns are complete so they can see whether the deduction provided by a traditional IRA would be more beneficial than the tax advantages of a Roth IRA. In a traditional IRA, contributions are deducted from annual income on your tax returns, and assets grow tax-deferred until retirement, when withdrawals are taxed as income. The Roth provides no deduction but withdrawals are taken tax-free in retirement. Not everyone qualifies for the full traditional IRA deduction or a full Roth IRA contribution, and if these calculations are made before the tax filing deadline, they can help you determine the type of IRA to which you should contribute.