An Additional Tax Credit

Retirement Savings Contribution Credit (Savers Credit)

For anyone who has made a contribution to a retirement account in 2015 or is considering contributing in 2016, you might be eligible for an additional tax credit. The Retirement Savings Contribution Credit, also known as the Savers Credit, is a special tax break to low and moderate income taxpayers who are saving for retirement. This credit, in addition to other tax benefits for saving for retirement, can reduce or even eliminate your tax bill if you qualify.

Interestingly enough, a recent survey showed that only 12% of American workers with annual incomes of less than $50,000 are aware of the Savers Credit. In other words, the population that should know about this Savers Credit the most is under-informed. With hopes of raising awareness and equipping savers on how they could potentially pay less in taxes, see below for a brief Q&A on the Savers Credit on how it works and what you should know.

How much could the Savers Credit cut from my tax bill?

You can claim the credit for the 50%, 20%, or 10% of the first $2,000 you contribute to a retirement account depending on your adjusted gross income and tax filing status. Note that the largest credit amount a married couple filing jointly can claim together is $2,000 and the credit is a “non-refundable” credit. This means that the credit can reduce the taxes you owe down to zero, but it can’t provide you with a tax refund.

What retirement accounts qualify?

The Savers Credit can be claimed for your contributions to a 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plan, Simple IRA, Traditional IRA, and ROTH IRA. Note that you cannot claim any employer contributions to employer sponsored retirement accounts.

Am I eligible?

In order to claim a Savers Credit you must be:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Not a full-time student
  • Not claimed as a dependent on another person’s return

Additionally you must meet the necessary income requirements. In 2015 the maximum adjusted gross income for the Savers Credit is $61,000 for a married couple filing jointly, $45,750 for head of household, and $30,000 for all other filers. The maximum credit you can claim phases out as your income increases. See the below table that outlines how much you can claim and at what income levels:

2015 Saver's Credit
Credit Rate Married Filing Jointly Head of Household All Other Filers
50% of your contribution AGI not more than $36,500 AGI not more than $27,375 AGI not more than $18,250
20% of your contribution $36,501 - $39,500 $27,376 - $29,625 $18,251 - $19,750
10% of your contribution $39,501 - $61,000 $29,626 - $45,750 $19,751 - $30,500
0% of your contribution more than $61,000 more than $45,750 more than $30,500

This information can also be seen at on the IRS website. If you are eligible use the Form 8880 to claim your credit and other best practices.

Example:

Dan and Kailey are married and file jointly. He contributed $1,000 to his 401(k) and she contributed $500 to an IRA. Their 2015 combined AGI is $35,000. Therefore, each of them is eligible to claim a 50% credit for their contributions and together their credits are worth $750.

If you have questions on if you are eligible for the Savers Credit feel free to email or call us and we would be happy to walk you through this blog post in more detail and how you can best take advantage of this credit.

 

*Please note that Human Investing does not provide tax advice/guidance and you should contact your CPA with specific tax related questions.

RetirementAndrew Nelson