ASPPA members gird for tax battle

Pension professionals are drawing up battle plans for tax reform efforts expected to begin in earnest after Election Day.

For attendees at the annual conference this week of the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries, protecting retirement incentives during the tax reform battles was the first and last message.

Both presidential candidates want to change tax rates. Republican candidate Mitt Romney would pay for lower rates with fewer tax deductions, including those for retirement savings. President Barack Obama would raise tax rates for higher income levels and cap retirement contribution exclusions.

“The tax reform threat is a concern to anyone in the retirement business, particularly smaller plans that rely on tax incentives,” outgoing ASPPA President Robert Richter said in an interview at the conference's conclusion Wednesday in National Harbor, Md. “We're concerned because a cut in the tax rates has to be paid for, and the way it's going to be paid for is by eliminating these (retirement) deductions,” Mr. Richter said.

ASPPA has launched a grass-roots effort to have members take the message to their representatives on Capitol Hill, in person and through a letter-writing campaign. Contributions to the ASPPA political action committee have also reached a historic high.

“You can't sit on the sidelines,” Mr. Richter said.