Postponing taxes until a later date. Investment earnings such as interest, dividends or capital gains that accumulate tax free until the investor withdraws and takes possession of them. The most common types of tax-deferred investments include those in individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k), 403(b), Keogh Plans, pension plans and deferred annuities.
By deferring taxes on the returns of an investment, the investor benefits in two ways. The first benefit is tax-free growth: instead of paying tax on the returns of an investment, tax is paid only at a later date, leaving the investment to grow unhindered. The second benefit of tax deferral is that investments are usually made when a person is earning higher income and is taxed at a higher tax rate. Withdrawals are made from an investment account when a person is earning little or no income and is taxed at a lower rate.