You can also set up a 401(k) plan as a SIMPLE plan. However, there’s little advantage in doing so, because you’ll have the same lower contribution limits as a SIMPLE IRA plan while giving up the ease of administration that makes SIMPLE plans attractive in the first place.
*The 3% of pay match may be reduced to as little as 1% in any two of five years.
Looking for a retirement plan for your employees that’s easy and inexpensive to administer?
Well, there may be a simple answer: the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers, better known as the SIMPLE IRA plan.
A SIMPLE IRA plan lets your employees defer up to $12,500 in 2017 ($15,500 if age 50 or older). You promise to match employee contributions dollar for dollar up to 3% of pay,* or to make a “nonelective” contribution for all eligible employees, whether or not they contribute, equal to 2% of pay. (No more than $270,000 of pay can be taken into account in 2017.)
Your employees are eligible if they’ve earned at least $5,000 during any two preceding years (whether consecutive or not) and are expected to earn at least $5,000 in the current year. Eligibility does not depend on the employee’s age or how many hours the employee works for you.
You can adopt a SIMPLE IRA plan for 2017 only if you had 100 or fewer employees in 2016 (excluding employees who earned less than $5,000) and you don’t contribute to any other retirement plan. If your business qualifies, follow these three simple steps to set up your SIMPLE IRA plan. (You have until October 1 to set up a new SIMPLE IRA plan for 2017.)
Step 1: Adopt a written plan document
You can set up a SIMPLE IRA plan by completing either a pre-approved document provided by a financial institution (for example, a mutual fund company, insurance company, or bank) or an IRS model document (either Form 5305-SIMPLE or Form 5304-SIMPLE).
Form 5305-SIMPLE lets you specify the “designated financial institution” that will both act as your plan’s trustee/custodian and initially receive all plan contributions. Form 5304-SIMPLE, on the other hand, lets each eligible employee select the financial institution that will serve as trustee/custodian and receive all plan contributions.
Step 2: Provide information
You must provide your eligible employees with the following information before the beginning of each election period:
- An explanation of the employees’ ability to make or change salary reduction elections
- Whether you’ll make matching contributions or nonelective contributions for the coming year
- A summary description of the plan
- A notice that employees can transfer their account balances to an IRA provider of their choice without cost or penalty, if you use a designated financial institution
The election period is generally the 60-day period prior to the start of each calendar year (November 2 to December 31). However, the election period will be different if you set up a SIMPLE plan mid-year, or if an employee first becomes eligible after the 60-day period ends. Forms 5304 and 5305 contain most of the forms you’ll need to comply with these notice requirements.
Step 3: Set up employee accounts
A SIMPLE IRA account must be set up by or for each eligible employee, and all contributions to the plan must go into these accounts. Employees must make important decisions about investing their SIMPLE IRA retirement dollars based on the investment options available at the financial institution that holds their funds.
|SIMPLE IRA||401(k) PLAN|
|Employee Deferral Limits||$12,500, $15,500 if 50 or older||$18,000, $24,000 if 50 or older|
|Complex ERISA/tax compliance?||No||Generally yes|
|Employer contributions required?||Yes||Generally no|
|Additional employer contributions allowed?||No||Yes, total contribution (including deferrals) up to $54,000 or more possible|
|Creditor protection?||Yes in bankruptcy; unclear outside bankruptcy||Generally yes, inside and outside bankruptcy|
Early withdrawal penalty
25% first two years of participation, then 10%
About 360 Financial Group
360 Financial Group, founded in 1990, provides a holistic approach to comprehensive wealth management as well as tax and accounting and investment management services. At 360 Financial Group, our MISSION is to be our clients’ primary advisor. We believe our knowledge, experience, and intuitive approach to tax and financial planning gives our clients the confidence they need to help them realize their dreams.
Registered Representative, Securities Offered Through Cambridge Investment Research. Inc., a Registered Broker-Dealer, Member FINRA, SIPC and Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. 360 Financial Group and Cambridge are not affiliated.
Cambridge Investment Group, Inc. is a privately-controlled firm with a national reach across the financial services industry consisting of multiple broker-dealers and RIAs, including Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc. – a large corporate RIA; and Continuity Partners Group, LLC – a special purpose broker-dealer and registered investment advisor; and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. – an independent broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC, that is among the largest privately-controlled independent broker-dealers in the country supporting approximately 3,000 independent financial professionals nationwide who serve their clients as registered representatives and investment advisor representatives, choosing to use either Cambridge’s firm Registered Investment Adviser or their own. For more information visit www.joincambridge.com.
Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.
To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2017.