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Retirement Saver's credit: Incentives

Retirement Saver's credit: Incentives

In 2017, 49% of adults aged 55 to 66 had no retirement savings; this is according to the US Census Bureau. Since that time, various policies such as the Secure Act 2.0 have been used in an attempt to incentivize citizens to save more for retirement. The Retirement Saver’s Credit is a federal program that aims to address the lack of retirement savings. 

This program was created to help Americans with low-incomes by lowering their tax bills. Their tax bills are lowered only if they make contributions to retirement accounts. 

What is the Retirement Saver’s Credit?

The retirement saver’s credit, also referred to as the retirement savings contributions credit, is a federally run tax credit incentive that pushes low- to moderate income families to save for retirement. According to experts, the saver’s credit is a program meant to make the prospect of saving for retirement more appealing to lower-middle and lower income earners.

For those that qualify for the Retirement Saver’s credit, the tax benefits received will depend on the amount contributed to a retirement plan—such as a 401(k) or individual retirement account—in a given year. This tax credit can be claimed by both household earners, either individually or via a joint tax return.

How Does One Qualify For the Retirement Saver’s Credit?

To become eligible for the retirement saver’s credit, you will first need to be a taxpayer that is at least 18 years old. You also have to not be a full-time student or a dependent claimed on another individual’s tax return.

Moreover, as a taxpayer, you must pay contributions to a qualifying retirement account. This can be a 401(k), Roth IRA, 403(b), or traditional plan. Your AGI—annual adjusted gross income—is a pertinent determining factor in whether you qualify for the retirement saver’s credit.

What Incentives Do the Saver’s Tax Credit Offer?

Reduction in Tax Liability

The Saver's Tax Credit allows eligible individuals to directly reduce their federal income tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. It is a non-refundable credit, which means it can reduce the amount of tax owed but cannot result in a tax refund if the credit exceeds the tax liability.

Encourages Retirement Savings

The primary aim of the Retirement Saver's Credit is to incentivize individuals with lower incomes to save for retirement. It can be quite useful in overcoming financial barriers by providing a significant benefit to individuals that contribute to qualified retirement plans, such as employer-sponsored 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

Progressively Structured Credit

The credit is structured to provide higher benefits to individuals with lower incomes, targeting those who may face greater challenges in saving for retirement. The credit is available in three tiers based on adjusted gross income (AGI), allowing individuals with modest incomes to benefit the most.

Increased Retirement Nest Egg

By taking advantage of the Saver's Tax Credit, eligible individuals can contribute to retirement savings accounts and potentially build a larger retirement nest egg. This tax credit provides an extra incentive for individuals to save, which can lead to greater financial security during their retirement years.

Potential Eligibility for Other Tax Benefits

The Saver's Tax Credit can increase eligibility for other tax benefits and deductions. For instance, contributing to retirement plans can help lower an individual’s AGI, potentially making them eligible for other tax credits or deductions that have income thresholds, such as the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Combination with Employer Contributions

The Saver's Tax Credit can be combined with employer contributions to retirement plans, further boosting the retirement savings. Employer matches or contributions to qualified retirement plans can enhance the overall savings potential, and the credit provides an additional incentive for individuals to maximize their employer-sponsored retirement benefits.



Pat Raskob
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