The Treasury Department is partnering with consumer tax software providers TaxAct, TaxSlayer and Intuit’s TurboTax to promote myRA retirement savings plans.
Taxpayers using the software may see messages encouraging them to save with myRA, short for “my Retirement Account,” as they finish filing their taxes this tax season and decide what to do with their tax refunds. myRA is designed to provide a retirement savings account, particularly for people who have not yet started saving for their later years or don’t have access to retirement plans in their workplace.
President Obama announced the myRA program during his 2014 State of the Union address and the retirement accounts became available in November 2015. MyRA is a type of Roth IRA account that is sponsored by the Treasury Department and administered by Comerica to encourage more Americans to put away money for retirement. However, the program has failed to catch on with the general public, and many people are unaware of its existence.
By partnering with the tax preparation industry, the Treasury is hoping to underscore the value of retirement savings at a key moment when individuals file their taxes.
The IRS estimates that more than 70 percent of tax filers will receive federal tax refunds this year, giving many people the opportunity to set aside money for their long-term retirement savings, assuming they don't need the money to pay their immediate expenses. The program will also encourage the millions of working Americans who report that they have no retirement savings or pension to open an account.
“We experienced strong interest in myRA during the 2016 tax filing season as filers recognized the value of beginning to save for retirement and learned about myRA,” said Richard Ludlow, executive director of the myRA program at the Treasury Department, in a statement. “We’re excited to expand on this interest this year so that more people can take that first step toward long-term financial security.”
The tax software companies participating in the partnership will link tax filers directly to the website www.myRA.gov, where they can learn more about the program and open a myRA account. Taxpayers can opt to transfer funds from their bank account or paycheck, or they can choose to direct-deposit all or a portion of their tax refund in their myRA account during the filing process.
"Tax time is one of the most important moments in an individual's financial life,” said Intuit senior vice president of corporate affairs Bernie McKay in a statement. “Encouraging savings at tax time, when most taxpayers receive a tax refund—which for many can be the biggest check of their year—can begin to make a real difference in a family's financial situation.”
The Treasury Department is also working this tax season with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites, Tax-Aide programs and nonprofits across the country to share information about myRA with low- and moderate- income tax filers who are looking for free help with their taxes.
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