Roth 403(b)

Roth 403(b)

Effective as of October 1, 2008 anyone who is eligible to make 403(b) contributions may also elect to make Roth 403(b) contributions.  Participants may elect to make both 403(b) contributions and Roth 403(b) contributions in the same year. 

Roth 403(b) contributions are subject to the same limits as 403(b) contributions.  In fact, the 402(g) limits ($17,500 for Calendar Year 2013) and the limits on catch-up contributions apply to the sum of a participant's 403(b) contributions and Roth 403(b) contributions.

 

Roth 403(b) Contributions v. Pre-Tax 403(b) Contributions v. After-Tax 403(b) Contributions:

  

Pre-Tax 403(b) Contributions

Regular pre-tax 403(b) contributions are not subject to the federal income tax for the year that you make the contribution.  When the contributions are distributed from the 403(b) Plan, such as upon retirement, the contributions and all accumulated gains are subject to the federal income tax.  Therefore, making pre-tax 403(b) contributions enable participants to defer taxes intil a distibution is taken. 

After-Tax 403(b) Contributions

After-tax 403(b) contributions are subject to the federal income tax for the year that the contributions are made.  When the contributions are distributed from the 403(b) Plan, the contributions are not subject to the federal income tax a second time, but any accumulated gain that is distributed will be subject to the federal income tax.

Roth 403(b) Contributions

Roth 403(b) contributions are subject to the federal income tax for the year in which the contribution is made.  When Roth contributions are distributed from the 403(b) Plan, the Roth contributions and all accumulated gains are not subject to the federal income tax if you have a "qualified distribution".  Making Roth 403(b) contributions enables participants to avoid taxes, not merely derfer taxes.  However, participants need to meet certain requirements in order to avoid taxation.

Qualified Distributions from a Roth 403(b)

In order for a distribution to be a "qualified distribution", a participant must participate in the Roth feature for at least five (5) years, and the distribution must be made after the participant:

  • reached age 59 1/2
  • suffers a disability (under IRS standars, which may not be identical to the standard benefits under the University's long-term disability plan)
  • dies

Please review the University of Pittsburgh 403(b) Plan and 401(a) Retirement Plan Summary Plan Description for additional provisions and information regarding the Roth 403(b) feature. 

Please also consider consulting with a personal financial planner, tax advisor, or a TIAA-CREF and/or Vanguard representative to determine if the Roth 403(b) feature is right for you.