You have two extra days this year to make contributions to your Individual Retirement Arrangements. That's because April 15 falls on a weekend and Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, will be observed on Monday, April 16. That means the due date for filing your tax return and making contributions to your 2011 IRA is Tuesday, April 17.

Here are the top 10 things the IRS wants you to know about setting aside retirement money in a traditional IRA.

  1. You may be able to deduct some or all of your contributions to your IRA. You may also be eligible for the Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit.
  2. Contributions can be made to your traditional IRA at any time during the year or by the due date for filing your return for that year, not including extensions. For most people, this means you must make contributions for 2011 by April 17, 2012. If you contribute between Jan. 1 and April 17, you should designate the year targeted for the contribution.
  3. The funds in your IRA are generally not taxed until you receive distributions from it.
  4. Use the worksheets in the instructions for either Form 1040A or Form 1040 to figure your deduction for your IRA contributions.
  5. For 2011, the most you can contribute to your traditional IRA is generally the smaller of the following amounts: $5,000 for most taxpayers, $6,000 for taxpayers who were 50 or older at the end of 2011 or the amount of your taxable compensation for the year.
  6. Use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to determine whether you are also eligible for a tax credit equal to a percentage of your contribution.
  7. You must use either Form 1040A or Form 1040 to deduct your IRA contribution or claim the Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
  8. You must be under age 70 1/2 at the end of the tax year in order to contribute to a traditional IRA.
  9. To contribute to an IRA, you must have taxable compensation, such as wages, salaries, commissions, tips, bonuses, or net income from self-employment. If you file a joint return, generally only one spouse needs to have taxable compensation. However, see Spousal IRA Limits in IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements, for additional rules.
  10. Refer to IRS Publication 590 for more information on contributing to your IRA account.

Form 8880 and Publication 590 can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

TaxACT Free Federal and Deluxe Editions include Forms 1040, 1040A and 8880. Start your TaxACT return now.

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Upcoming Tax Dates

January 1 Everyone
Federal Holiday (New Year's Day) - Details

January 12Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during December, report them to your employer - Details

January 12Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of December 2014.

January 14Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 16 days of December 2014.

January 15Individuals
Make a payment of your estimated tax for 2014 if you did not pay your income tax for the year through withholding (or did not pay in enough tax that way). Use Form 1040-ES - Details

January 15 Farmers & fishermen
Pay your estimated tax for 2014 using Form 1040-ES - Details

January 15 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in December 2014

January 15 Nonpayroll withholding.
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in December 2014.

January 20 Everyone
Federal Holiday (Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr./Inauguration Day) - Details

January 27 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method.
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 16 days of December 2014.

January 29 — Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of January.

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