Individual Retirement Accounts

Research Report

Individual Retirement Accounts

From The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy
October 1, 1999


Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are savings accounts with specific income tax incentives and penalties designed to encourage working people to save for retirement. IRAs were first authorized in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) as a means of encouraging working people to save for retirement. Recently, pre-retirement withdrawals from IRAs for higher-education costs and a first-time home purchase have been authorized. This article provides the history of IRAs and their effect on saving.

Research Area: 
To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.