Posted by Unifirst Financials & Tax Advisors

What You Need to Know About New Retirement Tax Laws

What You Need to Know About New Retirement Tax Laws

A budget of sorts was produced by the Congress when the year 2019 ended. This country’s ever-distracted and dissipated representative bodies actually have this as a rare accomplishment. As always, there will be a lot of concerns that can be raised and criticize in such kind of documents. Though some of the new tax law will upend planning, this one has a reasonable recognition of reality since it had particular specifics aimed at retirement. 

The fact that inadequate savings for retirement are what an average of Americans have is what the big reality the Congress addressed. Encouraging retirement savings by offering people tax-advantaged arrangement was the main objecting when 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) were established decades ago. What the originators of this legislation anticipated did not work out well. These financial vehicles have not been fully taken advantage of by people for a number of reasons. The public as a whole in order to retire securely will definitely face an estimate of $3.83 trillion deficit, the economists said. 

There are three ways to further encourage retirement savings that the new law did in response to this shortfall. First, in order to share the administrative costs of 401(k) arrangements, small companies will have an easier way to join together to do so. Second, in 401(k) plans, part-time workers are required to be included by the employers. Third, employers will be allowed to save at a higher rate of 15% instead of 10% when they automatically enroll their employees. 

These provisions will increase the pool of retirement savings some $1.0 trillion according to widely quoted estimates. Though this is not a complete answer, this may be a good start since it reduced the present shortfall by more than a quarter. Older Americans will have support through this law that has provisions for them to better use what savings they have. For one, after the age of 70, some people will still be allowed to contribute to their IRAs. A surplus income will be given to that population by this change for them to keep building for that time when they will not have such surplus income. Under the old law, retirees from 70 ½ years will have to draw on their existing retirement funds (and pay taxes) but the new law extends it to 72 to further extend the use of existing retirement savings. 

IRAs and 401(k) arrangement that duplicate old-fashioned pension arrangements which benefits will be guaranteed for life are encouraged by the congress as a remedy of this situation. Offering annuities to participants is the only way to do this within these structures. Presently, annuities are included in relatively few IRA or 401(k) plans. Naturally, this prospect makes insurers delighted. 

However, these are problems. Compared to most savings plans, annuities can offer greater and bigger payouts since on the death of the beneficiary, the principal left will be given to the insurer. But several 401(k) administrators claimed that the fees that are involved consume much of the benefit so they will refuse to annuities. In order to overcome the country’s retirement savings shortfall, it will remain an open question as to how much help they can offer and how many plans will turn to annuities and several lawsuits have already aimed at this problem. 

These new arrangements will cause government revenues will fall short of what they might have been otherwise because of the tax advantages of IRAs and 401(k) plans as well as insurance. Over the next ten years, a revenue shortfall at some $16 billion will be created by these changes in the law according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. The new law includes other provisions to make that money back. To people who will inherit a retirement account, this is much less generous in particular. 

Benefits such as paying only taxes on what they took out each year, could gradually draw on the funds over their lifetime and enjoy tax-free gains on what they left invested are given to such heirs under the old law no matter how old they are. Under the new law, within 10 years these heirs must get all the money from the account and pay taxes. Of course, there are several exceptions. In the old law, those who are disabled, chronically ill and surviving spouses will apply to them. Those who are more then ten years younger than the original IRA owner and for minors have also exceptions in the law. These provisions will return some $15.7 billion over ten years in revenue to the Treasury according to the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. 

Those who already did their estate planning around the old law will clearly have to make some adjustments. Those who inherit in middle age will have the burden fall the heaviest since presumably, their other income is near their lifetime high as well as their tax rate. However, such strains can be eased by one provision by the law. Heirs are not required to drain their account in even steps. They can wait until the tenth year to draw all of it and for them to enjoy tax-free returns. 

Since financial planners will no doubt find ways to protect the assets of IRA heirs, this is a worthy tradeoff.

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