What Is Modified Adjusted Gross Income?

What is modified adjusted gross income and how does it work? Read this article to find out.

The Modified Adjusted Gross Income, or MAGI, is quite significant when it comes to managing your accounts that are utilized to meet all requirements for significant tax benefits and other incentives. Therefore, it is a wise choice to monitor it, particularly when tax recording deadlines are near.

Try not to get confused between MAGI and AGI (Adjusted Gross Income). AGI is gross income with different acclimations to eliminate installments from the aggregate sum, like educational cost installments, instructor costs, and moving costs, etc. MAGI adds back in specific changes that can’t meet all requirements for specific projects, including student loan interest, a specific measure of independent work tax, and IRA commitments. Continuously check if the tax benefit you are keen on getting utilizes AGI or MAGI for capability, and on the off chance that you have any inquiries, look for an authorized accountant.

“What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income,” you wonder? Modified Adjusted Gross Income, or MAGI for short, is a significant tax term used to comprehend various things. In the easiest of words, it is your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) in addition to a couple of things — like excluded or exempt income and certain derivations. The IRS utilizes your MAGI to decide your qualification for specific deductions, credits, and retirement plans. Furthermore, you must remember that MAGI can fluctuate contingent upon the tax benefit. Thoroughly read this article to get familiar with MAGI and where to go for help in order to decide how much it is.

What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income?

In order to understand the subtleties of your Modified AGI, you first need to understand your Gross Income and then your Adjusted Gross Income. Let us have a look at what both these things are:

  • Gross Income – This is the cash you acquire from all sources, including salary, tips, pension, investment income, or rents.
  • Adjusted Gross Income – This is your Gross Income with certain suitable deductions excluded, including the standardized or itemized deductions or any exemptions.

Modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is a significant number because it decides if you can add to a Roth IRA and whether you can deduct IRA contributions or not. It additionally factors into your qualification for some education tax benefits and income tax credits. Moreover, MAGI sets up your qualification for income-based Medicaid and sponsored health care insurance plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

However, all things considered, no matter how significant this number might be, you will not be able to discover it on your tax return. The precarious thing about your modified adjusted gross income is that there’s no specific set equation to ascertain it! It’s determined in different ways relying upon what it’s being utilized for. There is only one factor that stays steady: every MAGI calculation begins with your adjusted gross income.

MAGI can be characterized as your family’s adjusted gross income with any tax-excluded interest income and certain derivations added back. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) utilizes MAGI to build up in the event that you fit the bill for certain tax benefits. Most prominently, MAGI decides:

  • Whether you can add to a Roth IRA or not
  • Whether you can deduct your customary IRA contributions on the off chance that you and your life partner have a retirement plan at work
  • Your qualification for the premium tax credit, which brings down your health care coverage premiums on the off chance that you purchase an arrangement on the Health Insurance Marketplace

For instance, you can add to a conventional IRA regardless of how much cash you acquire. In any case, you can’t deduct those contributions when you record your tax return if your MAGI surpasses the limits set by the IRS and you as well as your spouse have a retirement plan underway.

How does Modified Adjusted Gross Income work?

Determining how your MAGI works is a three-step process:

  • Find out your gross income for the year
  • Figure out your adjusted gross income (AGI)
  • Add back certain deductions to find your MAGI

Figure your gross income

Your gross income consists of all that you have earned during the year from:

  • Alimony
  • Business income
  • Capital gains
  • Dividends
  • Interest
  • Farm income
  • Rental and royalty income
  • Retirement income
  • Tips
  • Wages

There are two situations in which alimony settlement installments are not viewed as gross income. The first is if you got a divorce agreement after 2018. The second is if your divorce agreement was executed before 2019 yet later modified to explicitly express that such installments are not deductible for the payer.

Calculate your AGI (or find it on your tax return)

Your adjusted gross income (AGI) is significant in light of the fact that it’s the absolute taxable income determined before standard or itemized allowances, exemptions, and credits are considered. It directs how you can utilize different tax credits and exclusions. For instance, AGI influences the measure of cash you can guarantee for the child tax credit. Your adjusted gross income is equivalent to your gross income, minus certain tax-deductible costs, including:

  • Some business expenses for reservists, performing artists, and fee-basis government officials
  • Educator expenses
  • Half of any self-employment taxes
  • Health savings account (HSA) contributions
  • Health insurance premiums (if you’re self-employed)
  • Penalties on early withdrawal of savings
  • Moving expenses for members of the Armed Forces moving due to active duty
  • Tuition and fees
  • Student loan interest
  • Retirement plan contributions (including IRAs and self-employed retirement plan contributions)

Add back certain deductions

To find your MAGI, take your AGI and add back:

  • Any deductions you took for IRA contributions and taxable Social Security payments
  • Interest from EE savings bonds used to pay for higher education expenses
  • Excluded foreign income
  • The exclusion for adoption expenses
  • Losses from a partnership
  • Rental losses
  • Passive income or loss

Most of these deductions are not used frequently, so your MAGI and AGI could be similar or even identical.

How to calculate Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers premium tax credits to help qualified people and families buy singular health care coverage inclusion through the Health Insurance Marketplace. With the progressions made through the American Rescue Plan, no American will at any point pay over 8.5% of their family income for wellbeing inclusion. The tax credits will cover the rest. The “family income” figure here is your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).

Your MAGI is an action utilized by the IRS to decide whether you are qualified to utilize certain derivations, credits (counting premium tax credits), or retirement plans. The level of income you should pay for singular health care coverage relies upon how near you are to the federal poverty line (FPL) in light of modified adjusted gross income, not adjusted gross income (AGI). Individuals whose modified gross income is under 400% of the FPL are qualified for a premium tax credit. Here’s a small outline of how to calculate your modified adjusted gross income.

Step 1. Calculating your Gross Income

Your gross income (GI) is the cash you procured through compensation/salary, interests, profits, rental and eminence income, capital increases, business income, ranch income, unemployment, and other support that you might have gotten. This is the foundation to estimate your AGI. This figure is situated on line 7b of IRS form 1040.

Step 2. Calculating your Adjusted Gross Income

When you have gross income, you adjust it to figure your AGI by taking away qualified deductions from your gross income. The adjustments can incorporate things like a few contributions to IRAs, moving costs, alimony paid, independent work taxes, and student loan revenue. There are numerous free AGI calculators accessible on the web, similar to one from CNN Money. This figure is situated on line 8b of IRS form 1040.

Step 3. Calculate Your Modified Adjusted Gross Income

The IRS eliminates credits (counting premium tax credits) and deductions as your income increments. By adding these components back to your AGI, the IRS decides the amount you truly procured. As per Internal Revenue Code ((d)(2)(B)), you should add the accompanying to your AGI to decide your MAGI:

  • Any sum avoided from gross income in area 911 (Foreign acquired income and lodging costs for qualified people)
  • Any amount of revenue/interest gotten or collected by the taxpayer during the taxable year which is excluded from tax
  • Any sum equivalent to the segment of the taxpayer’s social security benefits (as characterized in Section 86 (d)) which is excluded from gross income under segment 86 for the taxable year. (Any sum gotten by the taxpayer because of qualification to a month-to-month benefit under title II of the Social Security Act, or a level 1 railroad retirement benefit.)
  • The vast majority don’t have any of the income just portrayed so their MAGI is equivalent to their AGI.

When you know your MAGI, you can shop the ACA commercial center or your state trade for plans. These websites will request your MAGI and family size, then, at that point figure tax credits for you. There are likewise online premium tax credit calculators, similar to one from the Kaiser Family Foundation that can help you gauge your tax credit early. Massachusetts, Vermont, and California likewise have extra state-supported endowments for qualified families.

What’s the difference between Adjusted Gross Income and Modified Adjusted Gross Income?

AGI and MAGI are, obviously, firmly related. Indeed, it’s normal for your MAGI to be equivalent to your AGI. Both of them are considered to be modifications of your gross income utilized by the IRS to decide your qualification for certain tax credits and deductions. These tax credits and deductions can bring down your taxes, thus returning more cash to your ledger or pocket. After thorough research, we have concluded that MAGI is a way for the national government to carefully channel out and filter those who fit the bill for the tax-lowering credits and different deductions. Here are the critical differences between AGI and MAGI:

  • AGI is your gross income minus all qualified “over-the-line” tax changes. On the other hand, MAGI is your AGI with a portion of those changes added back.
  • There is one set formula to decide your AGI, though finding out your MAGI heavily relies upon which changes you add back in to check whether you’re qualified for a particular tax break or government program.
  • MAGI doesn’t show up as a single line on your tax return, yet your AGI can be found on line 11 of your Form 1040 for the tax year 2020.

Can MAGI and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) be the same?

Indeed, MAGI and AGI can be something similar. For some individuals, the rundown of deductions that should be added back to AGI to ascertain MAGI won’t be significant. For example, the individuals who didn’t acquire any unfamiliar income would have no motivation to utilize that deduction and would not add back those profits to their AGI. For them, AGI and MAGI would consequently be a similar number.

What is MAGI used for?

MAGI is utilized by the IRS to decide if you meet all requirements for certain tax projects and benefits. For example, it decides the size of your Roth IRA contributions. Moreover, you must understand that your MAGI can likewise assist with abstaining from confronting tax punishments since over-adding to these projects and others like them can trigger interest installments and fines. Your MAGI can likewise decide qualification for certain administration programs, for example, the sponsored insurance plans accessible on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Why does your MAGI matter?

The IRS eliminates credits and deductions as your income increments. By adding MAGI factors back to your AGI, the IRS decides the amount you truly acquired. In view of that, it decides if you can exploit exceptional tax credits. Here are only a couple things the IRS can decide dependent on your MAGI:

  • Your eligibility for the premium tax credit, which lowers your health insurance premiums if you buy a plan on the health insurance marketplace
  • If, and how much, you can contribute to a Roth IRA
  • If you can deduct your traditional IRA contributions from your spouse’s or your own employer-provided retirement plan

Changes made to the Affordable Care Act are such that nobody will pay over 8.5% of their MAGI for medical care bought through the exchanges in 2022.

Effects of MAGI on your taxes

Most outstandingly, the IRS utilizes the MAGI figure to decide how much a person’s IRA commitment is deductible, regardless of whether an individual is qualified for premium tax credits or not. The higher the MAGI, the less deductions you can take on IRA contributions. On the off chance that the MAGI is excessively high, IRA deductions can even be zero. On the off chance that this occurs, you can in any case add to an IRA plan. However, you can’t deduct any of the contributions on the next year’s taxes.

Your MAGI is utilized as a reason for deciding if you meet all requirements for certain tax deductions. Quite possibly the most striking is in deciding if your contributions to an individual retirement plan are deductible. For instance, starting in 2020, in case you were a single filer and covered by a retirement plan at work, you were unable to take an IRA deduction on the off chance that you had a MAGI of $75,000 or higher. You additionally couldn’t take a deduction for educational loan interest in 2020 on the off chance that you had a MAGI of $85,000 or higher as a single, or $170,000 whenever wedded and recording mutually.

Why is it important to understand your MAGI and its many uses?

Something significant to recall about your MAGI is that it’s not your income. As such, most of the salary limits for deciding your qualification for tax credits and deductions, adding to a Roth IRA, or in any event, getting health care coverage are not based on your actual wages, however, your MAGI – or AGI, contingent upon the tax break. Since your MAGI is normally lower than your gross income, it builds your opportunity to fit the bill for tax breaks, etc. Along these lines, don’t accept that you’re not qualified for a particular tax break since you think your gross income is excessively high. Figure out your MAGI first – there are chances that you may qualify. Look out for MAGI’s job in the accompanying:

Qualifying for tax credits. As a rule, the lower your MAGI, the more probable you are to fit the bill for certain tax credits, expecting that you meet any remaining capabilities too. Some normal tax credits that depend on your MAGI incorporate the Health Care Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity (Education) Tax Credit, and Lifetime Learning Credit.

Itemizing deductions on taxes. In the event that you decide to itemize deductions when documenting your taxes, there’s a possibility you’ll need to compute your MAGI essentially once. With regards to deductions, MAGI is regularly used to decide when certain tax deductions will start to eliminate or be decreased. For instance, on the off chance that you and your companion are covered by a retirement plan and you likewise have a Traditional IRA, you can’t deduct your Traditional IRA contributions if your MAGI surpasses the IRS’ established limit.

Adding to a Roth IRA. Your MAGI straightforwardly influences the amount you can add to a Roth IRA. The IRS utilizes MAGI as a pattern for deciding where your income is considered too high to even think about contributing everything – or any sum whatsoever. For instance, for 2021, in case you’re a solitary filer with a MAGI of under $125,000 you can contribute the entire limit to your Roth IRA. Somewhere in the range of $125,000 and $140,000, your commitment limits are decreased, and a MAGI of more than $140,000 implies you can’t contribute.

Getting medical coverage. If you get your health care coverage inclusion through a state health care coverage commercial center, you may as of now be comfortable with MAGI. Your MAGI is utilized to figure out which medical services plan you are qualified for, including Medicaid. The commercial center likewise utilizes your MAGI to help decide whether – and how much – you can save money on medical coverage plans.

How to reduce Modified Adjusted Gross Income?

You can diminish your MAGI by bringing in less cash. However, all things considered, many individuals like to search for deductions. Consider the accessible deductions on your tax return that are over the line that shows your AGI (this used to be Line 37 on the standard 1040; it’s currently Line 11). In case you’re not previously contributing the highest permissible sum to an individual retirement account (IRA), doing as such would bring down your MAGI (it must be a customary IRA; contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible). You and your mate can each add to an IRA, further bringing down your absolute family MAGI. Remember that on the off chance that you likewise have a retirement plan at work, the measure of deductible contributions you can make to a conventional IRA relies upon your income.

If you approach a business-supported pre-tax retirement plan like a 401(k), you can add to that to bring down your MAGI. In case you’re self-employed, you can set up a self-employed retirement plan. SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Solo 401(k) are common alternatives. Remember to have a chat with your accountant to see which one will turn out best for you, recalling that these retirement plans for self-employed individuals have commitment limits that are possibly a lot higher than conventional IRAs. Thus, making them a decent choice in case you’re attempting to diminish your MAGI. Contingent upon your income, you may likewise have the option to make tax-deductible contributions to a conventional IRA.

Independently employed individuals can likewise deduct their health care coverage premiums as a method for bringing down their MAGI, however, it gets somewhat convoluted in case that is the factor that makes you qualified for a premium endowment. Given underneath are some alternate routes through which you can reduce your MAGI.

Check your HSA contributions: Those with a passing high-deductible wellbeing plan (HDHP) with their insurance organizations have an alternative to make an HSA, or wellbeing investment account. Clients can store cash in the HSA to pay for deductibles and related clinical costs, and these contributions are not dependent upon government income tax – however, they do benefit from loan fees. HSAs are by and large not influenced by MAGI changes, making them an optimal alternative for meeting income prerequisites for the individuals who have a passing medical coverage plan.

Open a health care flexible spending account: Another comparative choice is making contributions to an adaptable spending account (FSA) planned especially for medical services purposes. The individuals who have wellbeing plans through their bosses can fit the bill for a medical care FSA and make sans tax contributions to it for the undertaking year. They are presently restricted to ​$2,750​ each year, yet this might be sufficient to arrive at as far as possible you have at the top of the priority list.

Make contributions to a 401(k) or thrift savings plan: These are two normal retirement plans, with the Thrift Savings Plan being a venture alternative planned explicitly for government workers. Contributions to retirement plans like these can fit the bill to decrease MAGI. In any case, watch the subtleties: Modified AGI may not permit a few contributions to count. IRA contributions, for instance, don’t qualify, so every retirement account is not reasonable for this interaction.

Concede revenue collection in your private venture: This alternative is especially reasonable for independent companies that gather cash installments from clients, as ​Inc. ​magazine examines. Money premise organizations can defer assortment until the next year to assist with changing MAGI. This is considerably more typical close to the furthest limit of the year when gathering steps can be deferred until January. In any case, it requires a cautious eye on the books and the specific furthest reaches that you need MAGI to reach.

An admonition about selling taxable securities at a loss: This is an extremely normal strategy to bring down AGI while additionally disposing of taxable securities that are showing misfortunes to effectively solidify your portfolio. In any case, it just works with AGI; MAGI explicitly returns “aloof misfortunes” like ventures that have lost cash, so security misfortunes can’t decrease MAGI. Selling protections possibly work if the misfortunes weren’t inactive, which means you are effectively associated with the business you have put resources into for a misfortune.


What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income? Since you have perused this article, you thoroughly understand what a MAGI is and what it involves. Modified adjusted gross income is utilized to decide your qualification for certain tax benefits, in addition to other things. With its numerous definitions, modified adjusted gross income can be confusing. Yet, it’s a vital factor in recording your taxes, meeting all requirements for a Roth IRA, or getting a government-subsidized medical coverage plan. Understanding the job of MAGI and how to ascertain yours can assist you with being able to get a good deal on your taxes as you’re lawfully permitted.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett

Tony Benett makes his living in the insurance industry by teaching and consulting. He is also recognized by the legal profession as an expert on insurance coverages. His insurance experience includes having worked at the company level, owned an independent general agency and having worked for an insurance association. He has received various certificates over the past few years and helps his clients and readers by giving them a realistic outlook on what they can expect to achieve within their set targets. At Insurance Noon, he is known for his in-depth analysis and attention to details with accuracy. He has been published as one of the most referred agents by his peers in the insurance community. Tony loves the outdoors and most sport events. His passion other than providing excellent advice is playing golf.