With the job market and economy starting to improve, a growing number of workers are also finding themselves fortunate enough to be with a company that offers a retirement plan and contributes regularly to it. 

According to recent data from Hewitt Associates, 80 percent of companies that eliminated or scaled back their contributions to employee 401(k) programs during the recession are now planning to restore that benefit.

The study also found that employers are more likely to give workers the option of having their retirement contributions automatically increased over time. Part of this is due to general concern among many companies that workers may not be as well-equipped to retire with sufficient assets as they once were.

According to the Internal Revenue Service Web site, people can deposit up to $16,500 for the 2009 and 2010 tax filing years, while participants over the age of 50 may be able to benefit further from so-called catch-up contributions.

Under a traditional 401(k) plan, contributions and gains are not subject to federal tax until the time comes for distribution. This differs from the Roth IRA, which does not feature tax-deferred contributions. People who want to ensure that they are taking full advantage of their retirement savings options would do well to consult with a professional tax preparer.

Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.