What is a Pension Adjustment?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2020
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Pension adjustments are the amount of contributions that can be made to certain types of retirement plans, even when the full limit of contributions have been made to another pension plan. This same amount can also be deferred for use in later years, if the contributor believes that using it as a tax deduction would be more useful later rather than sooner. Any pension adjustment must meet the regulations put in place by the tax agencies relevant to the location where the contributor lives.

In the United States, a pension adjustment usually refers to contributions that are made to a registered retirement savings plan, or RRSP. The ability to place funds into the RRSP effectively allows individuals to participate in a retirement or pension plan in addition to any plan that is provided by an employer, and still enjoy a tax deduction. The calculation is designed to maintain a standard of fairness between those who have an employer-managed retirement plan and those who make use of their own government approved pension plans, either alone or in conjunction with other plans. The pension adjustment essentially defines the amount of the deduction that can be claimed in the year where the contribution is made, or the later tax period where the contribution is claimed.


Employers normally calculate the pension adjustment for the company’s entire work force, rather than for each individual employee. Guidelines for calculating the adjustment vary from one country to another, and may be somewhat complicated. This is also true for individuals who operate their own businesses and establish their participation in a government approved pension plan. In many cases, seeking the services of a financial professional who is aware of current tax laws is the best way to make sure the figure is calculated properly.

As with many types of adjustments, the idea behind a pension adjustment is to encourage individuals to set aside funds for their retirement years. Providing tax benefits based on the amount of the contribution make the process of saving more practical, especially for households where budgets are extremely tight. In the long run, this is to the benefit of the government, since it helps to reduce the amount of support that citizens will require from the government once they have retired.

The pension adjustment also aids the individual in more ways than simply creating a tax deduction that can be used today. Encouraging contributions to pensions also helps to ensure that there will be enough resources on hand to allow the pensioner to maintain a decent standard of living. In addition, the contributions also increase the possibility of having the resources to deal with any medical expenses that may not be fully covered by insurance or other types of funds.



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