SEP IRASolo 401(k)/Solo Roth 401 (k)SIMPLE IRAPayroll Deduction IRAProfit Sharing
Best forSelf-employed people; employers with one or more employeesSelf-employed people with no employees other than a spouseSelf-employed people; businesses with up to 100 employeesSelf-employed people; employers with one or more employeesSelf-employed people; employers with one or more employees
Funded byEmployer; individual, if self-employedSelf or qualified spouseEmployee deferrals; employer contributionsEmployee, via payroll deductionEmployers, at their discretion; might be linked with employer’s workplace retirement plan
2018/2019 EMPLOYEE contribution limitsContributions for employees made solely by employer (or sole proprietor); limit of 25% of net self-employment income, to a maximum of $56,000 Lesser of $19,000 or $25,000 for those age 50 and older and 100% of earned income$13,000; $16,000 for those age 50 or older Based on employee’s IRA eligibility; maximum of $6,000; $7,000 for those age 50 and olderBased on employee’s IRA eligibility; maximum of $6,000, or $7,000 for those age 50 or older
2018/2019 EMPLOYER contributionsThe lesser of up to 25% of compensation or $56,000 As both an employee (of yourself) and employer, up to $56,000, or $62,000 with catchup contribution Mandatory matching contribution of up to 3% of an employee’s compensation or fixed contribution of 2%N/AThe lesser of up to 25% of employee compensation or $56,000
Taxes on contributions and earningsContributions and investment income are tax deferred; earnings grow tax-deferredContributions and investment income in a traditional Solo 401(k) are tax deferred; contributions to a Solo Roth 401(k) are taxable; earnings grow tax-freeContributions and investment income are tax-deferred; earnings grow tax-deferredContributions to a traditional IRA might be deductible; contributions to a Roth are taxable; earnings grow tax-deferredNo taxes on contributions; earnings grow tax-deferred
Taxes on withdrawals after age 59 1/2Taxed at ordinary ratesTraditional Solo 401(k) withdrawals are taxed at ordinary rates; Solo Roth 401(k) withdrawals aren’t taxedTaxed at ordinary ratesTraditional withdrawals are taxed at ordinary rates; Roth withdrawals aren’t taxedTaxed at ordinary rates
ProsSimpler for employers to set up than Solo 401(k)s; employers get tax deductions on contributionsAllows small business owners to make both employee and employer contributions for themselves; has higher contribution limits than some other plansEmployees can contribute up to 100% of compensation, up to limitEasy to set up and maintain; no minimum employee coverage requirementsEmployee might be able to borrow penalty-free from vested balance before retirement age (although borrowed amounts are subject to income tax)
ConsLower contribution limits for sole proprietor than a Solo 401(k); doesn’t allow catchup contributions; employer contributions are discretionaryMore complicated to set up than a SEP IRA; only allows withdrawals before age 59 1/2 for disability or plan termination25% penalty on distributions made before age 59 1/2 and within the first two years of the plan; no loans allowedEmployees subject to Roth and traditional IRA eligibility requirementsVesting period is generally required; no diversification, tied to employer earnings
Good to knowThere is a different calculation to determine allowable SEP contributions if you’re both the employer and employee   Employer contributions might be subject to vesting termsDistribution rules penalize rollovers to another account within the first two years of plan ownership; a SEP IRA or 401(k) might be better for the self-employedThe employer chooses the providerContributions are at employer’s discretion and can vary based on salary and job level

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *