The Thrift Savings Plan, the federal government’s 401(k)-style retirement plan, ended the year on a high note, with all five core funds yielding positive returns for the second straight month.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving for roughly 6 million current and former federal employees as many are looking to file for retirement in the coming weeks or organize their finances in preparation for tax season.

The TSP has been around for decades and has been cited as one of the unique benefits of working in the public sector. In a 2023 survey conducted by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 82% of participants reported being satisfied with the TSP, though that figure has fallen over the last three years.

Those in the newer Federal Employees Retirement System get matching contributions up to 5%, while those who retired under the Civil Service Retirement System receive no match but can still contribute.

Overall, the TSP managed $726 billion in assets as of September 2022, the latest year for which data is available.

Here’s how the TSP did in December:

— The S fund, which aims to match stock indexes comprised of small and medium-sized U.S. companies, performed the best last month with returns of 10.45%. While still in the green, the government securities investment, or the G fund, grew the smallest at 0.39%.

— Year to date, the C fund has the highest return of 20.8% and the G fund has hovered around 4%.

— Each of the ten lifecycle, or L, funds also improved in December, as they did in November.

As the IRS prepares to begin tax season on Jan. 23, here are some reminders for TSP account holders:

In November, the agency announced contribution limits for 2024, which increased to $23,000 for regular contributions and an additional $7,500 for catch-up contributions for those 50 and older.

And recall that any withdrawals taken Dec. 28 or 29 count as taxable income for 2024.

Additionally, employees who wish contributions to begin on the first pay date of 2024 had to have made their TSP selections for pay period 26, which ended Dec. 30.

In 2024, there will be 26 pay dates.

For annuitants anticipating 1099-R tax forms from the government, the Office of Personnel Management traditionally mails those out by the end of the month, but beware that you may not receive it until February, depending on delivery times.

In the past, OPM has said retirees can sign in to their online retirement services account starting the third week in January to digitally access their tax form.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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