Most people would probably rank filing taxes somewhere between a root canal and watching paint dry on their list of least-favorite activities. But avoiding massive fines and jail time is enough motivation to get people to do it anyway.

You might think you'll get a break from this in retirement when you're no longer earning a paycheck, but you'd be wrong. Most retirees still pay taxes each year, but there is something you can do to reduce how much you'll owe Uncle Sam after you leave the workforce.

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Your retirement account dictates when you owe taxes

Most retirement accounts are tax-deferred, which means that when you put money in, the government subtracts this from your taxable income for the year. For example, if you earn $50,000 in 2023 and you put $5,000 in a 401(k), the government will only tax you on the remaining $45,000 right now. But you don't avoid taxes on that other $5,000 forever.

You owe taxes on tax-deferred retirement account contributions and earnings when you withdraw the money. So let's say that $5,000 401(k) contribution grows into $30,000 by the time you retire. You'll have to pay taxes on all of it when you take it out. And the government can actually force you to take it out once you reach a certain age by mandating required minimum distributions (RMDs).

Roth retirement accounts, on the other hand, make things a lot simpler for you in retirement. You can withdraw money from them as needed and the government won't tax you as long as you've had the account for at least five years. You also won't pay any early withdrawal penalties for using your savings before age 59 1/2 as long as you stick to contributions you've made personally. You will still pay a penalty if you withdraw earnings before this age without a qualifying reason.

But the trade-off is that you have to pay taxes on your contributions when you make them. To return to our example from above, if you earned $50,000 this year and put $5,000 in a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA, you'd still owe taxes on the full $50,000 right now. This could potentially place you in a higher tax bracket today than you would be by using tax-deferred accounts. But that could be worth it if you want to reduce your retirement tax bill.

Often, Roth accounts are more advantageous for those who believe they'll be in the same or a higher tax bracket in retirement than they are currently. But those who are in a high tax bracket now may prefer to delay taxes until retirement if they expect their annual income to drop significantly by then.

How to build up your Roth savings for retirement

The most popular types of Roth retirement accounts are Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s. Roth 401(k)s are available through an employer, but not all companies offer them. If yours does, this can be a great place to stash your savings, especially if you qualify for an employer match. You can contribute up to $22,500 in 2023 if you're under 50, or $30,000 if you're 50 or older.

Roth IRAs have much lower contribution limits -- $6,500 for adults under 50 in 2023, or $7,500 for those 50 and older. But these accounts aren't offered through an employer, so most people can open one on their own. They also give you a lot more freedom to invest in whatever you'd like. Plus, they're pretty popular, so you can find them with just about any broker.

You may not be able to contribute directly to a Roth IRA if you have a high annual income, though. The government prohibits high earners from contributing directly to one of these accounts. But you can get around this by putting the money in a traditional, tax-deferred IRA and then doing a Roth IRA conversion in the same year. This is known as a backdoor Roth IRA.

Stashing money in one or both types of Roth accounts could make taxes a little less painful in retirement. But unless all of your savings are Roth, you can expect to owe something. Make sure you're budgeting for your estimated taxes in your retirement plan.

Think about how much you plan to withdraw from tax-deferred accounts annually and how much you expect to take in from other sources, like a job or Social Security. Use this to estimate which tax bracket you'll fall into and make sure you have enough extra cash on hand to pay the government its share.