The first thing to understand about how 401k tax works is that it is not actually a “deduction”. While this is very important to understand, then you have to pick up a little in the process to see why this is both true and important distinction to make.
With traditional account contributions are taken from your income before taxes are taken out. This means many things, but most important to the topic at hand, this reduces annual income, as far as the US government is concerned.
ratio you get charged for the tax is determined by what tax bracket you fall into. If contributions to a retirement account lower annual income enough that you can fall into a lower tax bracket and owes a lower rate of tax for the year.
All this obviously makes it look like 401k contributions are tax incentives, but there is more to it than this.
However, this year, it is the type of deduction, it is more of a postponement. You have only to put off paying taxes on this money.
When you make withdrawals in retirement will then pay taxes on this money.
Why is this such a good thing to do then, if you have to pay taxes on this money eventually anyway? Well, it may not be, but it is likely. The first thing to consider here is that the money you would have been paying in taxes has been invested in recent years until you withdrawals in retirement, earning you returns and increasing your savings. The benefit is that in retirement you will probably have a lower income (that hopefully will not have the income to pay the mortgage or other charges you are now) and will fall into the lower tax bracket, which means you pay a lower percentage of this cash taxes overall.
While this is a lot to take in, when you break it down it’s a fairly simple process. The tax applies to traditional 401k accounts, and is really more of a suspension of the deduction.