How To Avoid Paying Taxes In Retirement


Doing No Tax Planning Before Retirement

How Can I Avoid Paying Tax On Retirement Income

Tax planning does you no good after the year is over. Low-income years can be particularly useful, and you can use them to your advantage. Losing a job or otherwise having less income for some reason is never good, but it might present a tax-planning opportunity.

You might be able to convert some of your IRA to a Roth IRA and pay little to no tax if you’re experiencing a year where you have low income and high tax deductions, such as mortgage interest or health-related expenses. This can save you thousands of dollars, but it doesnt happen unless you do your tax planning before the year ends.

How Taxes Factor Into Your Retirement Plan

You might already face taxes on your retirement account withdrawals, and Uncle Sam could take a bite out of your Social Security benefits as well. But if you’re strategic about how you save for retirement as well as what state you call home in your senior years, you just might be able to avoid taxes entirely and keep more of your hard-earned money.

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If you’re like most Americans, you’re a few years behind on your retirement savings. But a handful of little-known “Social Security secrets” could help ensure a boost in your retirement income. For example: one easy trick could pay you as much as $16,728 more… each year! Once you learn how to maximize your Social Security benefits, we think you could retire confidently with the peace of mind we’re all after. Simply click here to discover how to learn more about these strategies.

If Your Life Expectancy Is Less Than A Year

You may be able to take all the money in your pension as a tax-free lump sum, if all of the following apply:

  • youre expected to live less than a year because of serious illness
  • youre under 75
  • you dont have more than the lifetime allowance of £1,073,100 in pension savings

If youre over 75 youll pay Income Tax on the lump sum.

Check with your pension provider. Some pension funds will keep at least 50% of your pension for your spouse or civil partner.

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Tax Planning Saves Money

Two types of tax planning can help you reduce retirement taxes and increase your after-tax retirement income:

  • Long-range tax planning provides general guidance as to how much you should withdraw from which accounts from year to year, and how to coordinate your sources of income with your Social Security benefits to deliver more after-tax income.
  • Annual tax planning addresses how tax rates and deductions can change each year. Annual tax planning that’s done in the fall can uncover tax planning opportunities that wouldn’t be discovered with long-range tax planning alone.

Defer Taking Social Security

How to Keep Your Taxes Down in Retirement

To keep your taxable income lower withdrawal) and also possibly stay in a lower tax bracket, consider putting off taking your Social Security benefits. One way is to delay or defer Social Security payments as part of a tax-saving strategy that includes converting some funds to a Roth IRA.

If retirees can afford to delay collecting Social Security benefits, they can raise their payment by almost a third. If you were born within the years 19431954, for example, your full retirement agethe point at which you will get 100% of your benefitsis 66. But if you delay to age 67, you’ll get 108% of your age 66 benefit, and at age 70, you’ll get 132% . This strategy stops yielding any extra benefit at age 70, however, and no matter what, you should still file for Medicare Part A at age 65.

Don’t confuse delaying Social Security benefits with the old “file and suspend” strategy for spouses. The government closed that loophole in 2016.

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Tax On Transition To Retirement Income Streams

With a transition to retirement income stream, you can access your super while working. To get one of these pensions, you must have reached your preservation age .

Find out your preservation age.

You can take out up to 10% of the balance each financial year. You can’t withdraw it as a lump sum.

You pay the same amount of tax as on other super income streams, according to your age. Investment returns on TTR pensions are taxed at up to 15%, the same as a super accumulation fund.

Income Tax Personal Allowance

The Standard Personal Allowance is £12,570 . This means youre able to earn or receive up to £12,570 in the 2022-23 tax year and not pay any tax.

This is called your Personal Allowance. If you earn or receive less than this, youre a non-taxpayer.

Your Personal Allowance might be higher than this if you qualify to claim

Your Personal Allowance may be lower than this in certain circumstances for example, if youre a high earner and your adjusted net income is over £100,000.

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How Can I Avoid Paying Tax On My Pension

The way to avoid paying too much tax on your pension income is to aim to take only the amount you need in each tax year. Put simply, the lower you can keep your income, the less tax you will pay.

Of course, you should take as much income as you need to live comfortably. But unlike when taking a salary theres less advantage to having more income than you need and putting it into savings. In most cases, its best to leave money inside your pension until you are sure you are going to spend it.

This is where it can be an advantage to use a drawdown scheme. Drawdown lets you vary your income from year to year, which can potentially lead to tax savings. For example, if in one year you spend £25,000 but in the next year you only need to spend £20,000, you will save £1,000 in tax if you draw down only as much as you need. However, if you draw the same income but end up not spending it, youll have wasted that £1,000.

If you have an annuity, you wont have this flexibility, as your annuity income will be at least the same every year. However, drawdown comes with its own set of risks. Talk to an IFA about which option is better for you.

Income From More Than One Source

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In later life, its common to have income from different sources. For example, you might still work part-time and have an income from one or more pensions, as well as perhaps from some savings.

If you have income from more than one source, make sure HMRC know this so you pay the right amount of tax against each income.

Your Personal Allowance will normally be allocated against your main job or pension usually the income thats more than the Personal Allowance.

If this is the case, any other income you get will all be taxed according to which tax band the other income falls into.

Details of the current tax bands for the UK are on the GOV.UK website

Your PAYE tax code will have letters against it, which tells you how much tax will be deducted from each income source.

Do you have income from different sources below the Personal Allowance ? Then ask HMRC to spread your Personal Allowance between the different sources of income to make sure you dont pay too much tax.

If you do overpay tax, you can claim this back at the end of the tax year.

Make sure you check the tax code so you know that the right amount of tax is deducted.

Not sure whether your tax code is correct? The charity the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group have more information on their website

If you continue to work and are self-employed or your total income is £100,000 or more for the tax year, youll have to fill in a Self Assessment tax return.

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Tip #: Consider Roth Conversions

Once youre in retirement, your tax liabilities could begin to increase, for reasons such as delayed Social Security payments or large RMDs. If so, a Roth conversion could help you generate more tax-free income in retirement and lead to a lower tax rate in the future. Another advantage is that there are no RMDs from a Roth IRA during the lifetime of the original owner.

Be aware that a Roth conversion is a taxable event. But by paying taxes when you do the conversion, you will pay no federal income taxes on any future withdrawals, as long as they are taken after you’ve had the account for five years and are at least 59½.

Because of the tax impact, the timing of your conversion is important. If possible, choose a time when your taxable income is lower than a typical year, or if you have accounts that have lost value. You may also want to consider Roth conversions in smaller amounts over a number of years, to spread the tax impact and avoid creeping into a higher tax bracket. Due to the nuances of Roth conversions, you should consult with a financial professional.

Do I Pay Tax On My State Pension

State pension income is taxable, but whether or not you have to pay tax will depend on your total annual income.

Your annual allowance is £12,570 and the maximum new state pension you can receive is £9,627.80. So if your only income is from the state pension, you wont pay any income tax. However, if you have income from other sources that push your income over the annual allowance, you will pay income tax on everything above that figure.

Heres an example. Adam receives the full new state pension, and also has an annuity that pays him £8,000 a year. His total income for the year is £17,627.80. After his annual allowance of £12,570 this leaves £5,057.80 to be taxed at 20 per cent which is £1,011.56. Adams net income after tax is therefore £16,616.24.

State pension income


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What Are The Rules For A 401 Distribution

You can withdraw money from your 401 penalty-free once you turn 59½. The withdrawals will be subject to ordinary income tax, based on your tax bracket. For those under 59½ seeking to make an early 401 withdrawal, a 10% penalty is normally assessed unless you are facing financial hardship, buying a first home, or needing to cover costs associated with a birth or adoption.

What Is The Best Way To Withdraw Money From Tsp

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Full withdrawal is the best way to use the funds you have worked so hard to build up.

Is it bad to withdraw from TSP?

As the TSP is a retirement plan, there is no penalty for withdrawing your money during retirement. If you stop working for the federal government, you can start withdrawing money when you turn 55. You will still have income tax on your withdrawal entire retirement.

How much will I lose if I withdraw my TSP?

The early withdrawal penalty is a 10% penalty. In addition to any taxes you owe on your withdrawal, you will owe an additional 10%. The ability to avoid the early withdrawal penalty if you separate in the year you turn 50 or 55 applies only if you leave your money in the TSP transfers are subject to the penalty.

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You Can Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Image source: Getty Images.

Benjamin Franklin said it best: “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except for death and taxes.”

When you’re making the transition into retirement, or you’ve been retired for years or decades already, the last thing you want to think about is forking over a large percentage of your annual income to the federal government because of taxes. Unfortunately, this is the fate most seniors will endure.

According to The Senior Citizens League, 56% of retirees receiving Social Security will owe federal tax on at least a portion of their benefits during retirement. When compounded with the possibility that Social Security benefits could be cut by up to 21% within the next two decades , it could leave retirees with far less income during their golden years than they anticipated.

But here’s the good news: It’s possible to earn income during retirement without having to fork part of it over to the federal government. Here are five such ways you may be able to completely avoid Uncle Sam during your golden years.

Image source: Getty Images.

Why Is My Pension Taxed

You may be puzzled that you have to pay income tax on most of the money taken from your pension. The reason for this is that your pension is not like a bank account you dont yet own all that money, but rather it is being held for you by the pension scheme. This means that when you take money from your pension, it counts as ordinary income .

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Consider Relocating To A State That Doesn’t Tax Benefits

Federal taxes are only one side of the equation, and you could face state taxes on your benefits as well. The majority of states do not tax Social Security benefits, so there’s a good chance you’re already off the hook. However, a handful of states still tax benefits to some degree.

Utah and Nebraska follow the federal tax guidelines, using your combined income to determine how much you’ll pay in taxes. Montana, New Mexico and West Virginia also tax benefits, but they have certain modifications. For example, in West Virginia, state taxes on benefits are being phased out, so retirees can expect to pay less in taxes each year until 2022, when benefits will be exempt from taxes.

Many other states exclude Social Security benefits from taxation based on factors like age or income level, so you might be able to get out of paying taxes depending on how much you’re withdrawing from your retirement accounts.

Keep in mind, though, that Social Security taxes are only one factor to consider if you’re thinking about moving. Some states might not tax benefits but have exorbitant property taxes, for instance. Or you could get a tax break but reside in a state where the general cost of living is far higher than average. So before you start packing your bags, make sure you’ve considered the big picture.

Control Your Taxes Now & Later

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The longer you wait to claim Social Security benefits, the better chance you’ll have to boost the overall tax efficiency of your retirement income plan. Here’s how.

Drawing down traditional tax-deferred assets before collecting Social Security can enable you to control both your current and future taxes.

The amount you withdraw from a traditional IRA, for example, lowers your account balance, which may reduce your future required minimum distributions .

Since your RMD is considered ordinary income, having smaller distributions while you’re collecting benefits may reduce the taxes on your benefitsor keep you from paying taxes altogether.

In addition, managing your retirement income in this way can also help you qualify to pay lower Medicare parts B and D premiums, which are income-based.

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Save Roth Accounts For Last

“Generally, it’s in your interest to hold off on tapping Roth assets for as long as possible,” Hayden says. That’s because:

  • Withdrawals are entirely tax-free starting at age 59½, provided you’ve held the account for at least five years.
  • Roth IRAs aren’t subject to RMDsyou can leave these assets to grow indefinitely during your lifetime.
  • Withdrawals are also tax-free for your heirs. “The laws could always change, but at least for now its one of the best assets you can pass on to the next generation,” Hayden says.

Unlike Roth IRAs, Roth 401s are subject to RMDswhich is why it might make sense for some people to roll over any existing Roth 401 accounts into a Roth IRA. Be aware, however, that converting a Roth 401 to a Roth IRA could reset the five-year holding requirementunless funds are rolled into an existing Roth IRA, in which case they benefit from the holding period on that account.

If you’re considering a rollover, its best to check with a financial advisor before you decide.

Tip #: Know The Benefits Of Tax Diversification

Tax diversification is important to control how much you pay in taxes and when those taxes are paid. In the same way that you diversify investments across different asset classes, you can also diversify across different types of taxation. This also gives you flexibility should tax laws change. Tax diversification starts by knowing the differences between tax-deferred, tax-free and taxable accounts:

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Explore Net Unrealized Appreciation

If you have company stock in your 401, you may be eligible for net unrealized appreciation treatment if the company stock portion of your 401 is distributed to a taxable bank or brokerage account. When you do this, you still have to pay income tax on the stock’s original purchase price, but the capital gains tax on the appreciation of the stock will be lower.

So, instead of keeping the money in your 401 or moving it to a traditional IRA, consider moving your funds to a taxable account. This strategy can be rather complex, so it might be best to enlist the help of a pro.

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