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HOW 401(K) CONTRIBUTIONS IMPACT YOUR TAXES

Unlock the power of 401(k) tax benefits.

retirement planning

When it comes to securing your financial future, contributing to a 401(k) retirement account can be a powerful tool. It not only helps you save for retirement but also provides some valuable tax benefits along the way. In this article, we will explore the tax implications of contributing to a 401(k) and how it can affect your annual tax return.

What is a 401(k)?

A 401(k) is a retirement savings account that allows you to set aside a portion of your income for the golden years. It's named after a section of the tax code and comes in two primary forms: Traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k). The primary goal of these accounts is to help you save and invest for retirement.

Tax Benefits of Contributing to a 401(k)

One of the significant advantages of contributing to a 401(k) is the immediate tax benefits it provides. When you contribute to your 401(k), the money you put in is deducted from your taxable income for the year. This means you pay less in taxes. The more you contribute, the lower your taxable income, and the less you'll owe to the IRS.

How Contributions Impact Your Taxes

Here's the magic of a 401(k): contributions reduce your taxable income. Let's say your annual salary is $50,000, and you contribute $5,000 to your 401(k). Your taxable income for the year is now $45,000. As a result, you'll pay taxes on that reduced amount. This tax-saving benefit, known as "tax deferral," allows you to defer paying taxes on your 401(k) contributions until you withdraw the money in retirement. In the meantime, you can invest the money that would have gone to the taxes and watch your retirement savings grow.

Contribution Limits

While the tax benefits are enticing, there are annual contribution limits to 401(k) accounts. For the year 2023, the limit is $20,500 for those under 50. If you're 50 or older, you can make "catch-up" contributions of an additional $6,500, totaling $27,000. These limits are set by the IRS to encourage fair usage of 401(k) accounts.

Employer Match

Many employers offer a 401(k) match as part of their benefits package. This is essentially free money. If your employer matches your contributions up to a certain percentage, you should take full advantage. Not only does it boost your retirement savings, but it also decreases your taxable income further.

Withdrawal and Taxation in Retirement

It's essential to know that the tax benefits of 401(k) contributions eventually come full circle. When you retire and start withdrawing funds from your 401(k), you'll be liable for income tax on those withdrawals. The idea is that you'll be in a lower tax bracket during retirement, so you'll pay less tax. The type of 401(k) you have will also determine how your withdrawals are taxed. Traditional 401(k) withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income, while Roth 401(k) withdrawals are tax-free, assuming you meet certain conditions.

Importance of Proper Planning

As you navigate the complexities of 401(k) contributions and taxation, it's crucial to have a well-thought-out plan. Proper planning can help you maximize your tax benefits and retirement savings. It's a wise idea to consult with a tax professional who can provide personalized guidance based on your financial situation.

LET LIBERTY TAX HELP

Worried about your 401(k)? We can help. At Liberty Tax, we're here to assist you in making the most of your 401(k) contributions and tax benefits. Don't hesitate — reach out to our experts for guidance tailored to your unique situation. Whether you prefer in-person meetings or digital consultations, we're just a click away to ensure your financial future is secure.

COMMON QUESTIONS

*Every tax situation is unique. With a tax-deferred 401(k) plans, you contribute part of your pay before federal and state income taxes are withheld, potentially lowering your overall taxable income. This is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; this is not personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.