Employee Retirement Income Security Act
Retirement Savings Not Covered By Erisa
ERISA covers employment-based private retirement plans (and health care plans). It does not apply to government plans such as Social Security or a state teachers retirement system. State and local government plans are, however, subject to many of the usual tax qualification rules in the Internal Revenue Code, but these plans are not subject to the minimum funding rules, nor are they required to pay premiums to insure their plans with the BGC.
Favorable tax rules are also available for certain individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Almost any worker can set up an IRA account with a bank or other financial institution and contribute up to a specified maximum amount per year to that account. Workers who are not covered by another retirement plan usually can deduct their IRA contributions. If a worker is covered by another retirement plan however, the deduction may be reduced or eliminated if the worker's income exceeds $33,000 for a single taxpayer or $53,000 for married taxpayers (in the year 2001). Like private pensions, IRA earnings are tax-exempt, and distributions are taxable.
Since 1998, individuals have also been permitted to set up so-called Roth IRAs. Unlike regular IRAs, contributions to Roth IRAs are not tax-deductible. Instead, withdrawals are tax-free. Like regular IRAs, however, the earnings of these IRAs are tax-exempt.
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