The SECURE 2.0 Act, passed in the final days of 2022, made a lot of key changes to popular retirement accounts, but it also spelled the end for a popular tax credit aimed at low-income workers. Taxpayers will still be able to claim it on their returns for 2022 and for a few years afterward, but once it's gone, they'll have to look for other ways to save on their taxes.

It's not all bad news, though. Here's what you need to know about the changes coming in the next few years.

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Get a tax break just for saving for retirement

The Saver's Tax Credit was intended to encourage low-income families to save for retirement by offering them a tax break for doing so. Eligible single workers can shave up to $1,000 off their tax bill by contributing at least $2,000 to their retirement accounts for the 2022 tax year. Married couples who contribute at least $4,000 to their retirement accounts can reduce their 2022 tax bill by $2,000.

But not everyone gets quite that much. Your credit rate -- the portion of your annual retirement contributions that counts toward the tax credit -- shrinks as your adjusted gross income (AGI) rises. The following table shows how this tax credit phases out for higher earners in 2022 based on their tax filing status:

Credit Rate

Single, Married Filing Separately, or Qualifying Widow(er)

Married Filing Jointly

Head of Household

50% of your contribution

AGI of $20,500 or less

AGI of $41,000 or less

AGI of $30,750 or less

20% of your contribution

$20,501 to $22,000

$41,001 to $44,000

$30,751 to $33,000

10% of your contribution

$22,001 to $34,000

$44,001 to $68,000

$33,001 to $51,000

0% of your contribution

More than $34,000

More than $68,000

More than $51,000

Data source: IRS.

The maximum contribution that qualifies for the tax credit is $2,000 for single adults and $4,000 for married couples filing jointly. So if you were a single adult whose AGI fell into the 20% credit rate, your maximum Saver's Tax Credit would be $400 -- 20% of $2,000.

Those who are at least 18, are not students, and aren't claimed as dependents on someone else's tax return can qualify for the Saver's Tax Credit, as long as their income isn't too high.

You can use this credit to reduce your 2022 tax bill, and you'll be able to claim it over the next four years as well. But 2026 marks the last time anyone can claim it.

Why is the tax credit going away?

The federal government has decided to end the Saver's Tax Credit in favor of a new Saver's Match, which will debut in 2027. This match will work in a similar way to the tax credit, but instead of earning a break on your tax bill, you'll get a matching contribution from the government deposited into a retirement account on your behalf.

Income limits will still apply, and the maximum match will still be $1,000 per individual. Married couples will be eligible for up to $2,000 in matching contributions, or $1,000 for each partner.

This could turn out to be more valuable than the current Saver's Tax Credit because the Saver's Match will be invested into a retirement account where it can grow into much more. A $1,000 Saver's Match could grow to be worth over $17,000 in 30 years with a 10% average annual rate of return. And your actual balance could be much higher, since you will have to contribute at least $2,000 in order to get the $1,000 Saver's Match in the first place.

But some might not like the fact that -- unlike the Saver's Tax Credit, which provides an immediate reward -- the Saver's Match will follow traditional retirement account rules. That means there will be a penalty for withdrawing funds without a qualifying reason before turning 59 1/2.

As we get closer to 2027, we'll probably get more details about how the Saver's Match will work and how the match phases out at higher income levels. For now, it's just something to keep on your radar.

But if you think you qualify for the current Saver's Tax Credit, be sure to note the amount of your retirement contributions in 2022. And if you weren't able to make any retirement contributions last year but still want the credit, you might still be able to squeeze in a prior-year contribution. Just make sure you do this before you file your 2022 tax return.