Can you avoid taxes on savings account interest? (2024)

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MoneyWatch: Managing Your Money
Can you avoid taxes on savings account interest? (2)

This is a great time to try and maximize what you're earning on your savings. For starters, certificate of deposit (CD) and high-yield savings account rates are significantly higher than they were just a couple of years ago. And, the most recent inflation report shows that the inflation rate ticked back up in December unexpectedly, which increases the odds that rates on interest-bearing accounts will climb in the future.

But while earning extra money on your savings may seem like a simple but lucrative feat, there are some factors you should consider first. For example, theinterest rates on high-yield savings accounts arevariable, while CD rates are fixed, so it's important to determine which, if any, makes the most sense for you. These accounts also typically come with specific requirements or restrictions for account holders, so it's important to understand the full picture before opening one.

And, there are also the potential tax implications to consider. In general, the interest you earn on your savings account istaxable, which could cost you more than you expected at tax time each year. As such, you may be wondering whether it's possible to avoid paying taxes on your savings account interest.

Find the right type of high-yield savings account for you online here.

Can you avoid taxes on savings account interest?

The short answer to that question is no — not typically, anyway. Generally, both the interest and dividends earned on savings accounts is considered taxable income, according to theIRS, which means that you're on the hook for taxes on the earnings each year. So, if you're using a high-yield savings account to earn hefty interest right now, chances are good that you'll need to pay taxes on what you earn.

That said, whether or not you have to pay these types of taxes typically depends heavily on your tax bracket. If your income is high enough, a proportion of the interest earned on your savings must be reported as income, subjecting it to federal and, in some instances, state taxes.

Learn more about how a high-yield savings account could benefit you here.

Strategies to avoid paying taxes on your savings

While completely sidestepping taxes on savings account interest may pose challenges, there are some legitimate strategies that you may be able to employ to help minimize the tax impact. Here are a few specific ways to optimize your savings and potentially reduce the tax liability associated with savings account interest:

Leverage tax-advantaged accounts

Tax-advantaged accounts like theRoth IRA can provide an avenue for tax-free growth on qualified withdrawals. Contributions to these accounts are made with after-tax dollars, but the growth and withdrawals are tax-free. This unique structure can serve as a shield for the interest earned on savings accounts, making it an integral component of a tax-efficient financial strategy.

Other types of tax-advantaged accounts, like health savings accounts (HSAs), can also be beneficial. For example, HSAs offer a triple tax advantage, allowing contributions, investment growth and qualified withdrawals for medical expenses tax-free. While the primary purpose of HSAs is to cover healthcare costs, the tax benefits extend to creating a tax-efficient environment for other savings, potentially including interest income.

Optimize tax deductions

Staying informed about the availabletax deductions is also crucial. While savings account interest itself may not be deductible, exploring other deductions, such as education expenses or homeownership, can help offset the overall tax liability, indirectly benefiting the tax impact on interest earnings.

Focus on strategic timing of withdrawals

Timing withdrawals strategically can also help to optimize tax efficiency. For example, if you anticipate being in a lower tax bracket in the future, delaying withdrawals or interest accruals may result in a reduced tax liability on savings account interest. Note, though, that this strategic approach requires careful consideration of individual financial circ*mstances and long-term tax planning.

Consider diversifying with tax-efficient investments

Diversification of investments goes beyond the conventional approach and offers an opportunity to create a tax-efficient portfolio. For example, index funds and tax-managedmutual fundsare designed to minimize taxable events, making them conducive to creating a tax-friendly environment for wealth accumulation. These investments are structured to limit capital gains distributions, providing a level of control over the tax implications of the overall portfolio.

In addition, tax-efficient investments like municipal bonds, exempt from federal taxes and potentially state taxes, can be considered as part of a broader strategy. While these bonds come with their own set of risks, the tax benefits make them a viable option for those seeking tax efficiency in their investment and savings approach.

The bottom line

Fully avoiding taxes on savings account interest may be challenging, given the prevailing tax regulations. However, a nuanced understanding of the tax landscape, combined with strategic financial planning, may enable you to deploy legitimate strategies to reduce your tax burden. It may also benefit you to consult with a tax professional to tailor these strategies to specific situations, ensuring compliance with tax laws and facilitating well-informed financial decisions that are aligned with individual goals. Ultimately, by deciphering the intricacies of tax complexities, you can proactively shape a financial future that maximizes savings and minimizes the impact of taxes on interest earnings.

Angelica Leicht

Angelica Leicht is senior editor for CBS' Moneywatch: Managing Your Money, where she writes and edits articles on a range of personal finance topics. Angelica previously held editing roles at The Simple Dollar, Interest, HousingWire and other financial publications.

Can you avoid taxes on savings account interest? (2024)
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