After-Tax Contribution Definition

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After-Tax Contribution Definition

What Is an After-Tax Contribution?

After-tax contributions are funds placed into a retirement or investing account after income taxes have been deducted. When creating a tax-advantaged retirement account, a person may opt to postpone the income taxes payable until after retirement if it is a conventional retirement account, or to pay the income taxes in the year the contribution is made if it is a Roth retirement account.

Some savers, primarily those with higher salaries, may contribute after-tax earnings to a conventional account in addition to the maximum permissible pre-tax contribution. They get no immediate tax gain. This blending of pre-tax and post-tax funds necessitates proper tax accounting.

Key Takeaways

  • After-tax donations may be made to a Roth account.
  • 401(k)s are typically funded using pre-tax monies deducted from your salary.
  • Contributing to a Roth may make sense if you believe you will have a better income after retirement.
  • If you are under the age of 50, the yearly maximum for financing an IRA is $6,000 each year.
  • There is a minimum income requirement to contribute to a Roth IRA account.

Understanding After-Tax Contributions

To encourage Americans to prepare for their retirement years, the government provides numerous tax-advantaged retirement plans, including the 401(k) plan, which many corporations give to their workers, and the IRA, which anybody with earned income may join via a bank or a brokerage.

Most, but not all, persons who create a retirement account have two primary options:

  • The typical retirement account enables the account holder to invest “pre-tax” funds. That is, the funds are not liable to income tax in the year they are received. The amount of the contribution is deducted from the saver’s total taxable income for that year. The IRS will be paid when the account holder withdraws the funds, most likely after retirement.
  • The Roth account is a “after-tax” account. It enables the saver to deposit funds after they have been taxed. This has a greater impact on the individual’s immediate take-home pay. However, following retirement, no more taxes are due on the account’s total amount. The Roth 401(k) option (also known as a designated Roth option) is newer, and not all employers provide it to their workers. Earners who earn more than a certain amount are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA account.
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Post-Tax or Pre-Tax?

The post-tax Roth option entices investors with the prospect of a tax-free retirement nest egg. It makes the greatest sense for individuals who predict they will pay a higher tax rate in the future, either because of projected retirement income or because taxes would rise.

Furthermore, money deposited after-tax may be retrieved at any time without incurring a hefty IRS penalty. (The gains in the account remain untouchable until the account holder reaches the age of 5912).

The disadvantage of the post-tax option is that each donation to the account results in a lesser paycheck. The classic or pre-tax method decreases the saver’s taxes owing for the year the contributions are made and has a lower impact on current income.

The disadvantage is that withdrawals from this form of retirement fund are taxed income, regardless of whether the money was put in or the profits made.

After-Tax Contributions and Roth IRAs

A Roth IRA is a retirement account in which gains increase tax-free if the money is retained in the Roth IRA for at least five years. Contributions to a Roth are made after-tax monies, therefore they are not tax deductible. However, you may withdraw your retirement savings tax-free.

There are annual contribution restrictions for both post-tax and pre-tax retirement funds.

  • For tax years 2021 and 2022, the annual contribution maximum for both Roth and standard IRAs is $6,000 per year. Those aged 50 and older may make an extra $1,000 catch-up donation.
  • For 2022, the contribution maximum for Roth and standard 401(k) plans is $20,500, additional $6,500 for individuals 50 and over.
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If you have a pre-tax or traditional account, you must pay taxes on any money removed before the age of 5912, and the funds are subject to a steep early withdrawal penalty.

Early Withdrawal Tax Penalty

As previously stated, money put in a post-tax or Roth account, but not any profits earned, may be withdrawn without penalty at any time. The IRS is unconcerned since the taxes have already been paid.

However, whether the account is pre-tax or traditional, any money removed before the age of 5912 is fully taxed and subject to a steep early withdrawal penalty.

If an account holder moves employment, the money may be transferred to a comparable account at the new workplace without being taxed. The phrase “roll over” has significance. It implies that the money is transferred from account to account and never reaches your hands. Otherwise, it may be considered taxable income for that year.

Special Considerations

As previously stated, the amount of money that a person may contribute to a retirement account each year is limited. (In reality, you may have many accounts, or a post-tax and a pre-tax account, but the overall contribution limitations remain the same.)

Withdrawals from typical IRAs made after-tax should not be taxed. However, the only way to prevent this from happening is to submit IRS Form 8606. Form 8606 must be completed each year you make after-tax (non-deductible) contributions to a conventional IRA, and each year after that until you have depleted your after-tax amount.

Because the money in the account are divided between taxable and non-taxable components, calculating the tax payable on the mandatory distributions is more difficult than if the account holder had only made pre-tax contributions.

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