Three Main Types of Tax Exempt Savings Plans

By on | Tax & Bankruptcy Law Information.

Tax exempt savings are important to many taxpayers. By finding a way to save additional tax free—and often matched—income, you are able to save money and prepare for the future. Through health savings accounts, the 529 savings plan, and retirement plans, you can invest a portion of your income to prepare for medical expenses, college tuition, and funding your retirement.Health Savings AccountsThe Health Savings Account, or HSA, is a tax exempt savings plan that provides you with control over your health care dollars by helping you manage your health care costs. This tax exempt savings plan allows you to pay for medical expenses for you and your tax dependents both currently and after retirement.HSAs allow unused funds to carry over annually and can gain interest over time. All contributions, withdrawals, and interest earned are tax free up to a set amount fixed by the federal government if they are used to pay for medical expenses. If you opt to use a portion of the money for another purpose, you will have to pay income tax on the amount and a ten percent penalty.In order to enroll in a HSA, you will need to apply for a HSA qualified high deductible health plan, or HDHP for short. You can open a HSA at a bank or financial institution. Once you have an account open, you can make contributions up to a preset annual maximum. If you are contributing through employee status, these contributions are tax deductible on your next tax return. If you are contributing as an employer, your contributions are exempt from federal employment taxes.When you need to pay for medical expenses, you can withdraw money from your account to cover the costs. When the year ends, any money left over in your account will roll over to the next year. If you stop the HDHP coverage, you can still withdraw funds for qualified medical expenses.529 Savings PlansA 529 savings plan was created to help save for a child’s education. This plan will direct the money towards tuition at a state university, providing the future student to lock in lower tuition rates. An alternative to this plan lies in saving the money for a period of time and choosing the university at a later date. By paying for an allowable expense, such as tuition, books, or room and board, you can help contribute to paying for your child’s long-term education. In order to enroll in a 529 plan, you need to talk with an investment service or financial institution. When you open up your 529 plan account, you can arrange for an automatic deposit of a fixed amount. In the event you want to make an unscheduled deposit, you can contact your plan’s administrator to deposit the additional amount. Withdrawals from the 529 plan are completely tax free.Each state has a different plan and depositing money in a 529 savings plan outside of your home state may result in paying taxes or fees. Primary differences between each state’s plans include variations in the minimum contribution you can make, penalties and fees for withdrawals, and the risk of the investment. This tax exempt savings plan can benefit anyone you name as a beneficiary and the beneficiary can be changed if desired.Retirement PlansAnother option for a tax exempt savings plan lies in retirement plans: 401(k), 403(b), and 457. These plans are available for employees to deposit a portion of their salary in. Supported by the IRS, the retirement plans provide an opportunity to prepare for retirement.401(k) plans work when an employee contributes a portion of the salary earned into the plan. The employer will then match the contribution up to a certain percentage. Although you can borrow from a 401(k) and use the money before turning 60—the age for retirement—you will face a 10% penalty for the withdrawal. A 403(b) plan is offered to those who work at nonprofit organizations, such as schools and museums. Although the employee contributes pretax earnings to the plan, the employer typically does not contribute any money.457 plans are offered to employees of state government, local government, universities, unions, and other tax exempt organizations. Similar to the 401(k) and 403(b) plans, the 457 plan is funded through an employee’s pretax salaried contributions. Although you need to start withdrawing from the plan before the age of 70, there is a 10% penalty if withdrawn before the age of 59. This penalty does not apply to someone retiring from a job with the government under the age of 59 or if it is in a time of an unforeseen emergency. Unlike 407(k) and 403(b) plans, the employer does not make any contributions to the plan and does not always allow them to carry the plan over into an IRA.The HSA, 529 savings, 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans are all plans which are exempt from state taxes and any other taxes when contributing the amount. In order to avoid being charged for the taxes, you need to have a tax exempt form on file for reference. These beneficial tax exempt savings plans provide you an opportunity to set aside pretax money in support of health, higher learning, and retirement.