2020 & 2021 Saver’s Tax Credit Qualifications & Income Limits

The Saver’s Tax Credit details below have been updated for the 2020 and 2021 tax years.

What is the Saver’s Credit?

The Saver’s Credit (aka the ‘Retirement Savings Contribution Credit‘) is a lesser known, highly advantageous tax credit that the IRS offers to incentivize low and moderate income taxpayers to make retirement contributions to an IRA, 401K, 403B, 457B, or any other IRS recognized retirement account.

What is nice about the Saver’s Credit is that it is an actual tax credit – not merely a tax deduction. If you’re not sure how the two differ, a tax deduction simply subtracts the value from your taxable income and you pay taxes on the remaining taxable income. A tax credit, on the other hand, actually gives you the entire dollar value back or subtracts the value from the taxes you owe – making it far more valuable monetarily than a deduction. In the case of the Saver’s Credit, it is non-refundable, meaning it can only be subtracted from the taxes you owe, possibly down to zero, but it can’t provide you with a tax refund.

Unfortunately, due to its limited popularity (and a serious lack of retirement contributions), only about 12% of eligible taxpayers actually claim this tax credit – which is a huge shame, since it is so advantageous!

As we’re nearing the end of a calendar year, we’re at an important crossroads of still being able to take advantage of the Saver’s Credit in 2020, while starting to plan ahead for 2021.

2020 Maximum Income Level for the Saver’s Credit

The AGI (adjusted gross income) limit to qualify for the Saver’s Credit in 2020 is:

  • $32,500 for single filers and married individuals filing separately
  • $48,750 for heads of household
  • $65,000 for married couples filing jointly

2021 Maximum Income Level for the Saver’s Credit

The AGI (adjusted gross income) limit to qualify for the Saver’s Credit in 2021 is:

  • $33,000 for single filers and married individuals filing separately
  • $49,500 for heads of household
  • $66,000 for married couples filing jointly

How much is the Saver’s Credit?

The short answer is that it depends on your income level and your contribution amount. It will take a small bit of effort to determine how much of a credit you will receive, but don’t let that deter you – if you are eligible, the result is free money!

The absolute most you could receive in a given year is $1,000 on a retirement contribution of $2,000 (double those numbers if married and filing jointly). In order to figure out what kind of credit you are eligible to receive, you will have to fill out IRS form 8880 (PDF), as the credit phases out at certain income levels. Or check out the contribution tables below.

2020 Saver’s Credit Amount

2021 Saver’s Credit Amount

Once you figure out the amount of the credit from form 8880, add it to Form 1040 (PDF).

The 2020 and 2021 versions of these forms have not yet been released.

Saver’s Credit Eligibility

The following individuals are not eligible for the Saver’s credit:

Can you Claim Both the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Saver’s Credit?

Yes, the Earned Income Credit (EITC) and the Saver’s Credit can be simultaneously claimed.

Saver’s Credit Discussion:

  • Those under age 18.
  • Those claimed as dependent on another person’s return.
  • Those at income levels above the aforementioned limits.
    • Have you ever claimed the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit (Saver’s Credit)?

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