skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ#

Affordable Care Act
Tax Topic Index

International
Tax Topic Index

FAQs
Forms
Publications
Tax Topics

Comments
About Tax Map

IRS.gov Website
Publication 571
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239785

Chapter 10
Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (Saver's Credit)(p19)

If you or your employer make eligible contributions (defined later) to a retirement plan, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 (up to $2,000 if filing jointly). This credit could reduce the federal income tax you pay dollar for dollar.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239786

Can you claim the credit?(p19)

rule
If you or your employer make eligible contributions to a retirement plan, you can claim the credit if all of the following apply.
  1. You are not under age 18.
  2. You are not a full-time student (explained next).
  3. No one else, such as your parent(s), claims an exemption for you on their tax return.
  4. Your adjusted gross income (defined later) is not more than:
    1. $57,500 for 2012 ($59,000 for 2013) if your filing status is married filing jointly,
    2. $43,125 for 2012 ($44,250 for 2013) if your filing status is head of household (with qualifying person), or
    3. $28,750 for 2012 ($29,500 for 2013) if your filing status is single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er) with dependent child.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239787
Full-time student.(p19)
You are a full-time student if, during some part of each of 5 calendar months (not necessarily consecutive) during the calendar year, you are either:You are a full-time student if you are enrolled for the number of hours or courses the school considers to be full-time.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239788
Adjusted gross income.(p19)
This is generally the amount on line 38 of your 2012 Form 1040 or line 22 of your 2012 Form 1040A. However, you must add to that amount any exclusion or deduction claimed for the year for:
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239789

Eligible contributions.(p19)

rule
These include:
  1. Contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA,
  2. Salary reduction contributions (elective deferrals, including amounts designated as after-tax Roth contributions) to:
    1. A 401(k) plan (including a SIMPLE 401(k)),
    2. A section 403(b) annuity,
    3. An eligible deferred compensation plan of a state or local government (a governmental 457 plan),
    4. A SIMPLE IRA plan, or
    5. A salary reduction SEP, and
  3. Contributions to a section 501(c)(18) plan.
They also include voluntary after-tax employee contributions to a tax-qualified retirement plan or a section 403(b) annuity. For purposes of the credit, an employee contribution will be voluntary as long as it is not required as a condition of employment.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239790

Reducing eligible contributions.(p19)

rule
Reduce your eligible contributions (but not below zero) by the total distributions you received during the testing period (defined later) from any IRA, plan, or annuity included earlier under Eligible contributions. Also reduce your eligible contributions by any distribution from a Roth IRA that is not rolled over, even if the distribution is not taxable.
Do not reduce your eligible contributions by any of the following:
  1. The portion of any distribution which is not includible in income because it is a trustee-to-trustee transfer or a rollover distribution.
  2. Any distribution that is a return of a contribution to an IRA (including a Roth IRA) made during the year for which you claim the credit if:
    1. The distribution is made before the due date (including extensions) of your tax return for that year,
    2. You do not take a deduction for the contribution, and
    3. The distribution includes any income attributable to the contribution.
  3. Loans from a qualified employer plan treated as a distribution.
  4. Distributions of excess contributions or deferrals (and income attributable to excess contributions and deferrals).
  5. Distributions of dividends paid on stock held by an employee stock ownership plan under section 404(k).
  6. Distributions from an eligible retirement plan that are converted or rolled over to a Roth IRA.
  7. Distributions from a military retirement plan.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239791
Distributions received by spouse.(p19)
Any distributions your spouse receives are treated as received by you if you file a joint return with your spouse both for the year of the distribution and for the year for which you claim the credit.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239792
Testing period.(p19)
The testing period consists of:
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239793

Example.(p19)

You and your spouse filed joint returns in 2010 and 2011, and plan to do so in 2012 and 2013. You received a taxable distribution from a qualified plan in 2010 and a taxable distribution from an eligible section 457(b) deferred compensation plan in 2011. Your spouse received taxable distributions from a Roth IRA in 2012 and tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA in 2013 before April 15. You made eligible contributions to an IRA in 2012 and you otherwise qualify for this credit. You must reduce the amount of your qualifying contributions in 2012 by the total of the distributions you and your spouse received in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239794

Maximum eligible contributions.(p19)

rule
After your contributions are reduced, the maximum annual contribution on which you can base the credit is $2,000 per person.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239795

Effect on other credits.(p19)

rule
The amount of this credit will not change the amount of your refundable tax credits. A refundable tax credit, such as the earned income credit or the additional child tax credit, is an amount that you would receive as a refund even if you did not otherwise owe any taxes.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239796

Maximum credit.(p19)

rule
This is a nonrefundable credit. The amount of the credit in any year cannot be more than 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 education credits, then you will not be entitled to this credit.
taxmap/pubs/p571-025.htm#en_us_201212_publink1000239797

How to figure and report the credit.(p19)

rule
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%. Your credit rate depends on your income and your filing status. See Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions, to determine your credit rate.
The maximum contribution taken into account is $2,000 per person. On a joint return, up to $2,000 is taken into account for each spouse.
Figure the credit on Form 8880. Report the credit on line 50 of your Form 1040 or line 32 of your Form 1040A, and attach Form 8880 to your return.