You could claim the Saver’s Tax Credit if you work and save some of your income in a retirement plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The Saver’s Tax Credit is referred to in IRS tax forms as the “Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.” This non-refundable credit may be helpful if matched-savings plans, such as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), are not available or when saving for retirement is a high priority.
To claim the Saver’s Tax Credit, taxpayers must:
- be age 18 or older;
- not be enrolled as a full-time student for 5 months or more;
- not be considered a dependent for tax filing purposes; and
- have adjusted gross income in 2022 under:
- $68,000 if married filing jointly
- $51,000 if filing as head of household
- $34,000 if filing single or married filing separately
Unlike the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), if you work and don’t owe income tax, you cannot claim the Saver’s Tax Credit.
Some families with children who earn moderate incomes may get a larger EITC when they contribute income to a retirement account through pre-tax salary deductions and claim the Saver’s Tax Credit. Since the salary deductions made for retirement reduce your taxable income, depending on your earnings, you may qualify for a larger EITC.
Example: Randy and Meg are married, earned $30,000 in 2022, and have two children attending college full-time. They would usually owe income tax of $410 and would get an EITC of $5,371. Since they contributed $1,000 to Meg’s retirement plan at work through pre-tax salary deductions in 2022, their taxable income is reduced to $29,000. Their income tax is now $310 and since only the remaining $29,000 is considered in calculating the EITC, they qualify for a higher credit of $5,582. They can claim the Saver’s Tax Credit (in their case worth up to 50 percent of their $1,000 contribution — as much as $500 in reduced income tax), which eliminates their $310 income tax. Overall, by making the $1,000 contribution to Meg’s retirement account and taking the Saver’s Tax Credit, the couple gets a tax benefit of $711.
Employer-Administered Retirement Plans
Retirement contributions made through pre-tax salary deductions to the following types of plans are eligible:
- a 401(k) plan, including a SIMPLE 401(k)
- a section 403(b) annuity
- a governmental 457(b) plan
- a SIMPLE IRA plan
- a salary reduction SEP (Simplified Employee Pension)
Individual Retirement Accounts
Contributions to both traditional and Roth IRAs are eligible for the Saver’s Tax Credit.
Voluntary after-tax contributions to a qualified retirement plan or 403(b) annuity also qualify for the Saver’s Tax Credit.
Designated beneficiaries who contribute to Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts qualify for the Saver’s Tax Credit.
You could receive a tax credit worth up to 50 percent of the maximum $2,000 contribution. Married workers may each make the maximum contribution. The credit amount is based on your adjusted gross income for the tax year.
2021 Adjusted Gross Income
|Married Filing Jointly||Head of Household||All Other Filers||Credit|
|$0 – $41,000||$0 – $30,750||$0 – $20,500||50% of contribution|
|$41,001 – $44,000||$30,751 – $33,000||$20,501 – $22,000||20% of contribution|
|$44,001 – $68,000||$33,001 – $51,000||$22,001 – $34,000||10% of contribution|
|More than $68,000||More than $51,000||More than $34,000||Credit not available|
Claiming the Credit
You must complete IRS Form 8880,“Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions,” and enter the amount of the credit on Form 1040 or 1040A and submit Form 8880 with the tax return.
- Publication 590-A, “Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)” – Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
See Chapter 3, “Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit)”