Posted by Larry Kenneth Hurt

New Retirement Tax Laws – How it might help you

New Retirement Tax Laws – How it might help you

Congress ended in 2019 with a single budget. This fact in itself is a rare result for the representative bodies dissipated and always distracted from this country. Such documents, as always, offer much praise, concern, and criticism. It had specific details intended for retirement, mostly reasonable recognition of reality, although part of the new tax law reverses planning.

The great reality of Congress is that Americans, on average, have insufficient retirement savings. When the Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401 (k) were created decades ago, the goal was to encourage the retirement economy by offering personal tax benefit agreements. Things did not go as planned by the creators of this law. For various reasons, people have not fully exploited these financial vehicles. Economists estimate that the general public faces a deficit of $ 3.83 billion in what will have to be withdrawn safely.

The new law addresses this gap, further encouraging the pension economy in three ways: first, it makes it easier for small businesses to come together to share the administrative costs of 401 (k) contracts. Second, employers must include part-time workers in 401 (k) plans. Third, it allows employers, by automatically enrolling employees in 401 (k) plans, to save at a rate above 15% instead of 10%.

The large-scale estimates mentioned suggest that these provisions will increase the pension savings fund by about $1 billion, reducing the current deficit by more than a quarter, this is not a complete answer, of course, but a good start. The law includes other provisions to help older Americans make better use of their savings. On the one hand, they will allow people to continue contributing to their IRA accounts after 70 years. This change will at least allow this segment of the surplus population to continue to build up at that time when it does not have this surplus. To further expand the use of existing retirement savings, the new law increases the age at which retirees must use pension funds (and pay taxes) by 70 and a half years, in accordance with the previous law that placed the benchmark on 72.

Congress has also attempted to remedy this situation by encouraging IRAs and 401 (k) agreements that replicate obsolete retirement agreements if benefits are guaranteed for life. The only way to do this in these structures is to provide participants with registration fees. Currently, relatively few 401 (k) or IRA plans include annuities. Insurance companies are naturally satisfied with this prospect.

But there are problems. Annuities can undoubtedly offer higher payments for more extended periods than most savings plans because when the beneficiary dies, the insurer retains the remaining principal. But several 401 (k) administrators say they will give up annuities, claiming that the commissions involved consume much of the benefits. Several lawsuits have reported this problem, but it remains to be seen how many plans will become annuities and how much they will offer to help overcome the country's retirement deficit.

Due to the tax benefits of IRA accounts and 401 (k) plans, as well as insurance, these new agreements will generate state revenues that will not reach what could have been. The Joint Tax Committee estimates that these changes to the law will create an income deficit of approximately $ 16 billion over the next ten years. To recover this money, the new law includes other provisions. In particular, it is much less generous for people who inherit a retirement account.

Under the previous law, these heirs, whatever their age, could gradually use these funds throughout their lives, paying taxes only on what they had taken each year and enjoying non-taxable profits on it that they had stopped investing. Under the new law, these heirs would have to dry their bills (and pay taxes) within ten years.  

The old rules continue to apply to surviving spouses and people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The law also provides exemptions for minors and those who are not ten years younger than the original owner of the IRA. According to the Joint Tax Committee, these provisions will collect about $ 15.7 billion in revenue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund over ten years.

This change will require some adjustments from those who did their estate planning around the old law. The burden will fall on those who inherit middle age when their other incomes are likely to be close to their maximum lifetime value and their tax rate. However, the new law contains a provision that can ease these tensions. It does not oblige the heirs to delete the account, even gradually. People who inherit an IRA can wait until the tenth year to get it, benefiting from ten years of tax-free reporting and hoping to pay taxes until they reach an age when their income could have gone down and their tax rate. Such a decision may not help a person who inherits at 45 and must settle at 55. But it would help a person who inherits at 55 and settles at 65 after retirement.

In general, these aspects of the Congressional bill are beginning to face real problems for Americans. Some issues may require estate planning adjustments that take advantage of the overly generous successive provisions of the old law, but which pose few significant difficulties. Meanwhile, the rest of the law opens the benefits of these savings vehicles to a larger share of the population than before and allows them to use these benefits longer. This is worthy compensation, especially since financial planners are sure they will find ways to protect the assets of the heirs of the IRA.

Larry Kenneth Hurt
Contact This Member