One way to pay less in taxes each year is to take advantage of all the tax credits available to filers. These change from year to year, but some are long-time credits (that might be modified some years).
If you're contributing to a retirement savings account, not only will you get the benefit of your contributions, but you might also qualify for a tax credit. The tax credit is known as the Saver's Credit for Retirement and ABLE Account Contributions.
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You can determine how much money you qualify for by filling out IRS Form 8880 Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions. Form 8880 is a simple one-page document you can fill out online (if you're filing electronically) or by using a paper form. Reviewing the process for filling out Form 8880 will help you get the maximum benefit to which you're entitled.
Consider also: Form 8880: What Is It & How to Qualify for the Saver's Credit
What Is Form 8880 About?
If you make contributions to traditional or Roth IRAs, 401(k), 457(b), 403(b), SEP, ABLE or other voluntary plans, you may qualify for a tax credit when you file your annual income tax return. The maximum credit for single filers is $1,000, while joint filers can qualify for $2,000. You can't be younger than 18, a student or claimed on another person's tax return as a dependent. If you have received retirement account contributions during the past three years, you'll deduct those from your contribution amount. This can often wipe out your Saver's Credit.
Consider also: Tax Credits: What Are They & How Do You Qualify?
Calculate Your Adjusted Gross Income
You'll need to know your adjusted gross income to see if you qualify for the Saver's Credit. Your adjusted gross income is your gross income (e.g. wages, salary, bonus, commission, investment income, retirement distribution) minus your adjustments, according to the IRS. Your adjustments include things like student loan interest, health savings account contributions, educator expenses, alimony payments or retirement account contributions.
For tax year 2021, you are not eligible if you are a single filer with an AGI of $33,000 or more, head of household with an AGI of $49,500 or more or joint filers with an AGI of $66,000 or more.
Consider also: What If I Made a Mistake on My Taxes?
Fill Out the Form
Once you've determined that you qualify for the contribution, start filling out the form. You'll begin by entering your name and Social Security Number at the top. You will use the instructions on the form to calculate what percentage of your contributions (from 10 to 50 percent) qualify for your credit, up to your $1,000 or $2,000 maximum.
The larger your AGI, the lower the percentage you can use to calculate your credit. The table you need to make this calculation is on Form 8880 in a large box, making it easy to find your numbers.
You will need to have the amounts of your retirement contributions available to fill out the form, so make sure you have those before you begin filling out the form. You will also need to submit documentation of your contributions.
For example, on lines 1 and 2 of the form, you'll need to enter the amount of your IRA and ABLE contributions on line 1 (if you're filing jointly, you'll enter the numbers for you and your spouse in separate boxes on the same line), then any elective deferrals to your 401(k) or other qualified employer plan and certain other contributions.
When you're finished with your calculations, submit this form along with your Form 1040 or 1004NR.