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MONEYWATCH

Increasing your contributions a little each pay period can greatly increase your retirement savings. Plus, every dollar you contribute reduces your federal taxable income by a dollar and lowers your tax bill at the end of the year. This year, tax laws allow you to save even more. The 2006 plan limit is $15,000 for employees under age 50 and $20,000 for employees age 50 or over.

To determine the impact that increased tax-deferred contributions could have on your take-home pay, visit TIAA-CREF’s TDI Advantage Contributions Evaluator at www.tiaa-cref.org under Calculators and Planning Tools.

The sooner you increase your tax-deferred-investment (TDI) contributions, the more time your money has to grow tax deferred. To increase or start your TDI, complete a new “Salary Reduction Agreement,” available at Benefit Services or online at www.wsu.edu/benefits (click on PDF Forms). Mail the completed form to Washington State University, Attention Marie Weiss, Benefit Services, P.O. Box 641024, Pullman, WA 99164-1024 or send through intercampus mail using campus zip 1024.

If you have questions about your TIAA-CREF account, counselors from TIAA-CREF are on the Pullman campus every month to meet with you. Go to the Benefit Services website at www.wsu.edu/benefits and click on “Training” to view the monthly schedule.

Adjust your W2 for 2006 now
To help you submit your tax return on time, Washington State University’s Payroll Service office already has mailed out the 2005 Form W2 Wage and Tax Statements to employees’ local mailing addresses. If you lose your W2 or would like it immediately, the electronic version of this form has been added to the W2 display at the Web PBS site, where you can view or print it. All you need is a personal computer with Internet access, a WSU network ID and password.

If you itemize income-tax deductions, the amount of supplemental pension/worker’s compensation that may be claimed on IRS Schedule A for 2005 is $71.23.

And, concerning 2006 taxes, you can calculate and adjust your W2 withholdings at www.wsu.edu/payroll. This lets you make sure you’re not sending more tax than is necessary to Uncle Sam in your paycheck. If your income or the dependants in your family have changed in the past year, you probably should update this.

Hint: If you are getting back a large tax return this year, that probably means you should make an adjustment in your W2 withholdings. A big tax return means you are loaning your money to Uncle Sam interest free. You would be better off adjusting your W2, then putting that additional money in a savings or investment account where you can at least draw interest or have it grow.

Questions on any of these issues can be directed to Payroll Services, 335-9575 or payroll@wsu.edu.

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