Appropriately enough, President Bush signed the Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities Act of 2006 — the HERO Act, for short — into law on Memorial Day of this year. This new federal law expands retirement planning benefits for members of our armed forces currently serving in combat zones.
Briefly stated, an individual is permitted to contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA only if he or she has compensation (such as salary from a job) during the year. For the 2006 tax year, the limit on contributions is the lesser of $4,000 or the annual compensation. A taxpayer who is age 50 or older can make an extra $1,000 "catch-up" contribution.
The contributions to the traditional IRA may be fully or partially deductible depending on the taxpayer’s income and whether he or she actively participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Roth IRA contributions are never tax deductible.
Under prior tax law, combat pa…