Senate Finance Democrats Unveil Bill to Boost Saver’s Credit, Resurrect MyRA

A group of Senate Democrats have introduced a bill “designed to help more working families and middle-class Americans save for retirement” – and it brings back MyRA.

The legislation – the Encouraging Americans to Save Act (EASA) – enhances retirement savings incentives by:

  • restructuring the existing, nonrefundable Saver’s Credit into a refundable, government matching contribution of up to $500 a year for middle-class workers who save through 401(k) type plans or IRAs (including state-run automatic IRA programs for private sector workers, like OregonSaves);
  • making the full 50% credit rate of the existing Saver’s Credit available to taxpayers making up to $32,500 a year/couples with income up to $65,000 (in contrast with the current phaseouts), with those income levels indexed for inflation;
  • providing the match to be claimed on the individual 1040 or 1040-EZ income tax form (currently it’s only claimable on the 1040); and
  • requiring that the credit above be directly contributed into the saver’s retirement plan or IRA… or – if no account number is provided (or the individual provides an erroneous account number)…

The legislation also reestablishes the myRA, a program established in 2014 to create starter retirement savings accounts for people without access to a 401(k) at work.

With regard to the latter, the legislation also requires the Secretary of the Treasury to educate taxpayers on the benefits of the refundable government matching contribution established by EASA, as well as the MyRA program.

The Trump administration ended myRA in July 2017 after a review of the program and its cost-effectiveness, noting that the program cost $70 million to administer since it was instituted, found that demand for myRAs has been extremely low, and that had the program continued, it would have cost taxpayers approximately $10 million a year to manage the program.

The Encouraging Americans to Save Act is sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), along with Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).

Add Your Comments

3 Comments

  1. Joseph Gordon
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I would like to see the data showing how many millions of American workers actually use the saver’s credit today. Bet it is not many.

  2. Charles Miller
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    The Saver’s Credit has not been promoted by the government the same way the Earned Income Credit is not taken enough because taxpayers don’t know about it.

  3. Nevin E. Adams, JD
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    The Saver’s Credit turns out to be a pretty expensive piece of retirement legislation despite – as Joe indicates – pretty disappointing take up rates. In fairness, I think the relatively low income levels to which it applies – and the reality that you can only claim it on Form 1040 (not 1040 EZ, which is how a lot of those low-income workers file) – and that many of those workers don’t pay enough federal taxes to take advantage – are more to fault than government promotions. See also https://www.napa-net.org/news/plan-optimization/retirement-incomes/6-things-may-not-know-savers-credit/

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