Tax Deferral as an Investment Strategy
Deferring taxes on your income is an investment strategy in which income taxes are paid at a later date for money invested now. The benefit of tax deferral is that it provides more money for you to invest now.
For example, you are able to deduct $1000 from your taxable income this year and invest it into an interest bearing account, and in return, this deduction allows you to pay approximately $200 less in income taxes for the current year. You now have $200 more than if you had not invested the $1000. If you add the $200 you deferred in taxes to the $1000 you have already invested, you now have $1200 growing in your investment.
Another type of tax deferral used by investors is the deferment of taxes paid on interest earned. The dollars invested have already been taxed, but any interest earned is tax free.
Investment Vehicles Tax deferred accounts shelter your money from taxes until you begin making withdrawals in the later part of your life, when you’re likely to be in a lower tax bracket. The type of investment vehicles best for you depends on your situation.
You could opt for the plan 401(k). This vehicle is open for you only if your employer offers it. This will allow you to make contributions that are deductible by tax but grow as deferred tax until you start withdrawing the money. Depending on your employer, your 401(k) might come with a bonus, when your employers add to your contributions, doubling it. You could make anywhere between 25%-100% on your contributions, if your employer adds to it.
By using the 401(k) planning, you could add more to your retirement plan, than most other plans. You can add around $9,500 to your retirement plan, and your employer can add another $30,000 every year. You can also add the yearly bonuses that you receive to this plan to help your retirement money grow even faster. If you leave your job or wish for more freedom with your money, you can always roll your assets over into an IRA account.
A 401 (K) may work for a beginner at investing, someone who does not know how to invest in stocks or which are the best stocks to invest in.
Another type of plan offered by an employer is the 403 (b). This plan is for public school and non-profit organization employees and it is tax deductible and tax deferred. You can contribute up to $9,500 of your annual gross income each year to this plan.
The other plan is the 403(b) which again has to be offered by your employer. This plan is meant for employees who work in public educational centers or other non profit organizations. Similarly in this plan the money is tax deductible and the investment is tax deferred and you can contribute up to $9,500 yearly. With this plan however you need to be aware of certain risks. You have to invest the money in a tax sheltered annuity which will result in high sale charges and the rates they give will not always be guaranteed.
Any person who has an earned income or the spouse of somebody who has an earned income can open their own IRA and add up to $2000 to it yearly. The earnings are not subjected to tax unless you start withdrawing from the account, but you will be charged penalty if you start withdrawing before the age of 59 and a half. However, even if your money is not tax deductible, they will be tax deferred.
Under the IRA schemes, there are different investment options, but it all depends on the custodian of the money. It is with the IRA that you will have the maximum options as compared to the other employer sponsored investment schemes.
The Keough plan is available to individuals who work for an unincorporated business or are self-employed. You can contribute up to 25% of your earned income up to a maximum of $30,000. All contributions are tax deductible and your earnings accrue tax deferred. You can contribute much more per year with a Keough than with an IRA. You can elect to contribute a fixed percentage annually, a different percentage annually, or a fixed amount which you decide on. There are three types of Keough plans available and a lawyer can assist you in setting one up.
The Simplified Employee Plan or the SEP is the other type of investment vehicle available. However, this scheme is open only to those business companies that employ les than twenty five people and at least half of them have to be a part of this plan. Under this plan, you can contribute up to $7,000 and the employee ca pay the rest with a maximum of $30,000.
All the above mentioned investment vehicles are divided under these two categories: Qualified and Non – qualified plans.
The 401(k) and the 403(b) are the plans that are qualified. These are those employer sponsored investment plans that offer good benefits but depend upon the kind of plan that the employer draws up. For example, the 403(b) plan needs you to invest the money in tax sheltered annuities. As compared to this, 401(k) offers a wider selection of more conventional investment options, such as fixed interest annuities, company stocks etc. but is yet restricted as compared to the non – qualified plans.
The non – qualified plans allow more freedom regarding when or if you want to make a contribution. All IRA’s are a part of this category. Usually investors find it easier to work with non – qualified plans than with qualified ones, they require less reporting and regulating and investors have more control over their investments this way. Often contributions made to these plans can be deducted from tax as a business expense.
Most investments made with the vehicles we have been discussing fall into one of two asset categories: The first is debt and the second is equity. As an investor, you are either an owner or a creditor. Equity owners are entitled to all free cash flows that exceed the debt payment obligations of the underlying economic entity. Creditors receive priority in agreed-upon future interest and principal payments.
When choosing a retirement plan, you want to be certain of the types of investments permitted with your plan. Do not open an account that does not give you the freedom to choose your own investment options, whether they are debt or equity investments.