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Tax credit for low- and middle-income taxpayers

You may be eligible for a tax credit (called the “Saver’s Credit”) if you’re a low- or middle-income taxpayer saving for retirement through an IRA, 403(b) or 401(k) plan.

The amount of the credit you can get is based on the contributions you make and your credit rate. The credit rate can be as low as 10% or as high as 50%, depending on your adjusted gross income — the lower your income, the higher the credit rate. The credit rate also depends on your filing status.

The maximum credit is $1,000 per person. If you are married and file a joint tax return, you could receive a total credit of up to $2,000 ($1,000 for you and $1,000 for your spouse).

The credit is available to you if you:

  • are 18 or older,
  • are not a full-time student,
  • are not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s return, and
  • are within the adjusted gross income levels in the chart below.

Based on your adjusted gross income (AGI), the credit is 50%, 20% or 10% of your retirement plan contributions up to $2,000 ($4,000 if married filing jointly).1 Calculate your total credit by using the chart below.

  1. Identify your filing status
  2. Find your AGI
  3. Determine your credit rate in the right-hand column
2021 Saver's Credit
Married Filing Jointly Head of Household All Other Filers* Credit Rate
AGI ≤ $39,500 AGI ≤ $29,625 AGI ≤ $19,750 50% of your contribution
$39,501–$43,000 $29,626–$32,250 $19,751–$21,500 20% of your contribution
$43,001–$66,000 $32,251–$49,500 $21,501–$33,000 10% of your contribution
> $66,000 > $49,500 > $33,000 0% of your contribution

*Single, married filing separately or qualifying widow(er)

Source: 1IRS, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver’s Credit) IRS.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit

The amount of your saver’s credit will not change the amount of your refundable tax credits. A refundable tax credit, such as the earned income credit or the refundable amount of your child tax credit, is an amount that you would receive as a refund even if you did not otherwise owe any taxes.

The amount of your Saver’s Credit in any year cannot exceed the amount of tax that you would otherwise pay (not counting any refundable credits or the adoption credit) in any year. If your tax liability is reduced to zero because of other nonrefundable credits, such as the Hope Scholarship Credit, then you will not be entitled to the Saver’s Credit.

Special note for ministers — Ministers taking advantage of the minister’s housing allowance may find they are eligible for the Saver’s Credit since minister’s housing allowance is not included in their adjusted gross income.

This educational information is not intended as legal or tax advice. Ministers or churches with specific legal or tax questions should consult a legal or tax advisor who understands ministerial tax issues.