Tuesday, May 02, 2006

U.S. Army Thrift Savings Plan helps New Recruits

The Army’s Thrift Savings Plan is now offering matching funds to new recruits willing to fill critical job specialties within the Army as part of a pilot program that runs to Sept. 30.

All non-prior service enlistees who elect to serve five or more years on active duty in a critical specialty designated by the Secretary of the Army will receive matching funds on the first five percent of pay contributed from each pay period during their initial enlistment term. The first three percent of pay that is contributed will be matched dollar for dollar, and the remaining two percent will be matched at 50 cents on the dollar. Only those who sign up during the recruitment process and make regular contributions into their TSP account will receive the matching funds.

This incentive is only one part of a new campaign to increase enrollment in the TSP program, Army officials stress. The TSP is a government-sponsored savings and investment program that offers tax-deferred opportunities similar to the civilian sector’s 401 (k) plan. All Soldiers have the opportunity to participate in TSP at any time.

Following this pilot test, using matching-funds incentives for recruitment will be studied with the possibility of making it a more permanent part of the Army’s recruitment policies.


Currently, a Soldier can elect to contribute any percentage from their basic pay, incentive, special or bonus pay up to the IRS annual tax-deferred limit of $15,000. A Soldier pays no taxes on this money until it’s withdrawn. A special feature of TSP is that money contributed while in a combat zone will never be taxed, even if it is withdrawn early out of the account. The only taxes paid on combat-zone contributions are on the earnings, rather than the balance.
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