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Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)


Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) refers to an individual’s total gross income or household’s combined total income after certain deductions. These deductions are mainly adjustments to income such as student loan interest, half of the self-employment tax, tuition fees and others. MAGI is used to determine eligibility for certain tax benefits, credits, exclusions and deductions.


Modified: /ˈmɑː.də.faɪd/Adjusted: /əˈdʒʌs.tɪd/Gross: /ɡroʊs/Income: /ˈɪn.kʌm/MAGI: /ˈmædʒi/

Key Takeaways

Sure, here it is:

  1. Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is a measure used by the IRS to determine if a taxpayer is eligible to use certain deductions, credits, or retirement plans. It starts with your adjusted gross income (AGI) and adds back certain deductions such as student loan interest, specific tuition fees and costs, and half of the self-employment tax.

  2. MAGI is not a line on your tax return. To find it, you need to first identify your AGI, which is your total income minus certain adjustments. You then modify the AGI by adding back certain deductions. This is useful for certain tax calculations based on income thresholds.

  3. Using MAGI can affect your eligibility for certain tax benefits such as premium tax credits, individual retirement account (IRA) contributions, and deductions for higher education costs. It is important to accurately calculate your MAGI to ensure you’re eligible for maximum tax benefits.


Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is a crucial term in business and finance as it is utilized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in determining if a taxpayer is eligible for certain income-based deductions, credits, or retirement plans. It is essentially an individual’s or a household’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) with specific deductions added back in. These additions may include non-taxable interest income or foreign earned income. As such, MAGI offers a more comprehensive view of one’s financial standings. Understanding one’s MAGI is important in accurate tax planning and identifying eligible government aid programs, like Medicaid or subsidized health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Being aware of your MAGI can help to strategically manage your total taxable income and potentially reduce your tax burden.


Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is a critical metric used by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to determine an individual’s eligibility for certain tax benefits and deductions. It’s an adjustment of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and might include additional income that is not taxable and deductions that are nonallowable. The purpose of using the MAGI as a means to measure an individual’s income is to provide a more accurate representation of their total income. By considering non-taxable income and non-allowable deductions, the IRS can ensure that people only receive tax benefits that accurately correspond to their true financial situation.MAGI calculations have a wide range of utility across different financial domains. They are often used in the assessment of an individual’s eligibility for income-based programs such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and premium tax credits. Additionally, it’s applied to aid in the determination of contribution limit eligibility for Roth IRAs and deductions for IRA contributions. Assessed on an annually updated scale, the MAGI thus serves as a critical index of individual income, ensuring fair and flexible taxation as well as program eligibility.


Example 1: Let’s say John is a single filer who has a gross income of $80,000 per year. He has $5,000 in student loan interest deductions and withdrew $5,000 from his Traditional IRA. For tax purposes, his Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) would be $75,000 ($80,000 – $5,000). However, the $5,000 early withdrawal from his IRA would add back to his income to calculate MAGI. Hence, John’s Modified Adjusted Gross Income would be $80,000 ($75,000 + $5,000).Example 2: Alice is a single filer with a gross income of $100,000. She contributed $10,000 to her Traditional IRA, reducing her AGI to $90,000. However, for the calculations of taxable social security benefits, this IRA contribution should be added back. So, Alice’s MAGI would be again $100,000.Example 3:Dan and Karen are a married couple filing jointly. They have a combined gross income of $150,000. They put $15,000 into their health savings account (HSA), reducing their AGI to $135,000. But for purposes of figuring out their eligibility for Premium Tax Credits, this $15,000 is added back to their income. Therefore, their MAGI would be $150,000.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI)?

Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) determines your eligibility for important tax benefits, including whether you can deduct contributions to an individual retirement account or contribute to a Roth IRA. Essentially, it’s your gross income from your tax return with certain deductions added back in.

How is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) calculated?

The computation for MAGI starts with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which is your gross income minus certain adjustments like student loan interest or contributions to a traditional IRA, and then adds back certain items such as tax-exempt interest income, non-taxable Social Security benefits and excluded foreign income.

Why is Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) important in finance and business?

MAGI is important because it can directly impact the benefits you receive. It can determine whether you’re eligible for certain deductions or credits, or for contributing to an IRA. Depending on your MAGI, you may not be eligible for these benefits, or they may be limited.

Do all tax benefits rely on MAGI to determine eligibility?

No, not all tax benefits use MAGI. Some tax provisions may refer to your AGI, or to your taxable income. The specific calculations depend on the particular tax provision in question.

Does MAGI affect my eligibility for healthcare subsidies under the ACA?

Yes, your MAGI is used to determine your eligibility for certain health care benefits, such as lower premiums on insurance purchased through the federal Marketplace. If your MAGI is below a certain level, you may qualify for these benefits.

Can I lower my MAGI?

Yes, there are strategies for lowering your MAGI. This can involve increasing your contributions to tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, or making contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA). Consulting a tax professional or financial advisor is recommended to understand your options.

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