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What is the IRS Form 8880?

Updated for Tax Year 2015


OVERVIEW

Are you eligible for the Saver's Credit? IRS Form 8880 will help you determine if you are eligible this credit for retirement savings. Here are the details.


Introduction

To encourage people with lower incomes to contribute to their retirement savings accounts, the Internal Revenue Service offers a tax credit for contributions to them. A tax credit directly reduces the amount of tax you owe, unlike a deduction, which only decreases your taxable income. In order to claim the retirement savings credit, you must use IRS form 8880.

Eligible retirement plans

Contributions you make to any qualified retirement plan can be used to satisfy the credit’s eligibility requirements. Qualified retirement plans include traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and 457 plans. In the 2015 tax year, the maximum credit available to a single taxpayer is $1,000 and for joint filers, it increases to $2,000.

AGI limitations

Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) must fall below the income limits for your filing status. For 2015, single filers with an AGI of $30,500 or more, head of household filers with AGI of $45,750 or more and joint filers with an AGI of $61,000 are ineligible to claim the credit.

These limits can change each year for inflation. In addition to satisfying the MAGI limitations, you must be at least 18 years old, not enroll as a full-time student at any time during the tax year and you cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.

Calculating your eligible credit

Your Form 8880 will guide you through a calculation to determine the maximum credit amount you are eligible to claim. The size of your tax credit is a percentage of your annual retirement account contributions, which can range from 10 to 50 percent.

However, the credit percentage decreases as your AGI increases. For example, a single taxpayer with an AGI of $16,750 can claim a credit equal to 50 percent of her IRA contributions; whereas, a similar taxpayer with an AGI of $27,000 calculates the credit as only 10 percent of annual contributions. One thing to remember is that you can still claim the credit even if you claim a deduction for those same IRA contributions.

TurboTax will ask you simple questions to determine your eligibility and will do these calculations for you.

Preparing Form 8880

To claim the credit, you must complete IRS form 8880 and attach it to your tax return. Two key pieces of information you need before preparing Form 8880 is the AGI you calculate on your income tax return and documentation that reports your total retirement account contributions for the year.

The IRS only allows you to attach Form 8880 to a Form 1040, 1040A or 1040NR (not supported in TurboTax). Therefore, even if you qualify to file your tax return on Form 1040EZ, it may be beneficial foregoing the shorter tax form so that you can claim a credit for your retirement account contributions.

Again, when you use TurboTax to complete your tax return, we’ll fill in all the right forms for you.

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The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information designed to educate a broad segment of the public; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other business and professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other business and professional matters that affect you and/or your business.


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