Submitted By: Miller
Answered: March 25, 2014 8:30 am

My son has income earned doing research from the National Institutes of Health, for which he received a Form 1099-G. Can he make an IRA contribution?

Probably not. An IRA contribution can be based only on earned income. A fellowship or grant type of payment is different from income for services provided. Grant recipients at the NIH are not considered to be providing services, so the funds are not considered to be earned income. There are some earned income exceptions for making IRA contributions, but an NIH grant is not one of them.

Tax Glossary


An amount taken from income as a prepayment of an individual’s tax liability for the year. In the case of wages, the employer withholds part of every wage payment. Backup withholding from dividend or interest income is required if you do not provide the payer with a correct taxpayer identification number. Withholding on pensions and IRAs is automatic unless you elect to waive withholding.

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