How much of the tax code could get changed by a deal to avert the fiscal cliff is unclear. But interest groups representing 401(k) professionals aren’t sitting idly by for proposed changes to retirement plan tax incentives.
The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries is spearheading the Save My 401(k) campaign, which is against any changes to tax incentives for employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Many in Washington don’t expect thorough tax reform to be addressed until after a deal is reached to avert the fiscal cliff. But ASPPA CEO Brian Graff tells the Alley that “we want to make sure that even now the message starts being heard by folks in the rooms making [fiscal cliff] decisions so they don’t do something to hurt the tax incentive.”
The campaign, which is in conjunction with groups such as National Association of Plan Advisors, doesn’t include a major ad buy and is mostly Web and social-media based. Rather than being Hill-foucsed, the group wants to encourage regular folks, retirement plan workers and employers to contact their representatives in Congress on the issue.
Some debt reduction and tax reform proposals have been floated, but “there is a tremendous lack of clarity” as to the nitty-gritty within them, Graff says. “If there’s an overall cap on deductions, would that apply to 401(k)s? It’s unclear.”
So Graff says they are “loading up now” for the when and if of detailed tax reform. “We want to make sure that this piece of the puzzle is understood and very clearly.”
ASPPA is pitching its issue as a middle class one. According to the group, more than half of 401(k) or similar retirement plan participants earn less than $100,000 a year.
Other groups who are pushing the campaign include the National Tax Sheltered Accounts Association, Council of Independent 401(k) Recordkeepers and the ASPPA College of Pension Actuaries.
And if 401(k) facts and tax reform bore you, you could always just play ASPPA's Protect My Piggy video game, in which you run an adorable piggy bank around Washington to collect coins while avoiding evil-looking donkeys and elephants.