SIMPLE 401(k) Plan


What Is a SIMPLE 401(ok) Plan?

A SIMPLE 401(ok) is a retirement financial savings account supplied by small enterprise employers with 100 or fewer workers. The SIMPLE 401(ok) works similar to an everyday 401(ok) plan, combining it with the simplicity of a SIMPLE IRA with a number of minor adjustments. Workers can defer a few of their wages to the plan and employers should both make an identical or non-elective contribution of a certain quantity of every worker’s wages.

Employers who’re eligible to arrange these plans should meet sure eligibility necessities and the Inner Income Service (IRS) units limits on how a lot could be contributed every year.

Key Takeaways

  • SIMPLE 401(ok) plans are retirement financial savings plans supplied by small enterprise employers or corporations with 100 or fewer workers.
  • This type of plan combines the options of conventional 401(ok)s with the simplicity of SIMPLE IRAs.
  • Contributors should be a minimum of 21 and have one 12 months of service earlier than they will take part.
  • Contributions to the plan are absolutely vested instantly and workers are allowed to borrow in opposition to their account balances.
  • Workers who present SIMPLE 401(ok)s cannot supply their workers another choices and contribution limits are decrease than conventional 401(ok) plans.

How SIMPLE 401(ok) Plans Works

Because the identify implies, the SIMPLE 401(ok) is a simplified, stripped-down model of an everyday 401(ok) plan that’s geared towards self-employed people and small enterprise homeowners. And similar to SIMPLE IRA accounts, solely employers with a employees of 100 or fewer can set up SIMPLE 401(ok) plans. Establishing companies could be structured in any kind, together with sole proprietors, firms, and partnerships.

SIMPLE 401(ok)s work similar to common 401(ok)s. Workers contribute with pre-tax {dollars} out of their paychecks, investing the funds in choices supplied by the plan administrator. The IRS limits annual contribution quantities, that are about two-thirds of these allowed for normal 401(ok)s. Workers can contribute a most of $14,000 in 2022 and $15,500 in 2023. Individuals 50 and over are allowed to deposit an extra catch-up contribution of $3,000 in 2022 and $3,500 in 2023.

All employer contributions to a SIMPLE 401(ok) are topic to an worker compensation cap, which is $305,000 for 2022 and $330,000 for 2023. That is a technique the SIMPLE 401(ok) differs from a SIMPLE IRA. In contrast to conventional 401(ok)s, employers are required to make both an identical contribution to their workers’ accounts—as much as 3% of every worker’s pay or a nonelective contribution of two% of every eligible worker’s pay.

Corporations that provide their workers a SIMPLE 401(ok) plan should file Type 5500 yearly.

SIMPLE 401(ok) Guidelines and Rules

Workers who’re a minimum of 21 years outdated and full a minimum of one 12 months of service should be allowed to take part of their employers’ SIMPLE 401(ok) plans. They need to additionally obtain a minimum of $5,000 in SIMPLE compensation from their employers for the previous 12 months with a view to participate.

A SIMPLE 401(ok) should be established between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1. Funds should be held within the account till the worker reaches age 59½. Withdrawals made earlier than that time are topic to an early withdrawal penalty of 10%.

The employer should present a deferral discover to every eligible worker for the 12 months the plan is established and for every year the employer continues to keep up the plan. This notification should be supplied a minimum of 60 days earlier than the worker turns into eligible to take part. It should embody an announcement of the worker’s proper to make wage deferral contributions and to terminate their participation within the plan.

The SIMPLE in a SIMPLE 401(ok) plan is brief for Financial savings Incentive Match Plan for Workers of Small Employers.

Benefits and Disadvantages of SIMPLE 401(ok)s

There are a variety of various advantages to collaborating in a SIMPLE 401(ok) plan. However there are additionally a number of drawbacks. We have famous a number of the main ones beneath.


Contributions to a SIMPLE 401(ok) are instantly 100% vested. An worker who meets the necessities to obtain distributions from the plan could withdraw their complete account steadiness every time they like and will not lose it in the event that they change jobs after the cash is of their account.

One of many simplified options is that SIMPLE 401(ok) plans don’t require nondiscrimination and top-heavy testing to make sure that the plan operates in compliance with IRS guidelines. Such testing should typically be finished by professionals and could be fairly pricey.

Though withdrawals earlier than the age of 59½ are topic to a penalty, workers can take out loans in opposition to their SIMPLE 401(ok) balances. Additionally they have the choice of constructing hardship withdrawals from their plans in the event that they want to take action.


In contrast to different retirement choices, employer contributions are obligatory for individuals who supply SIMPLE 401(ok) plans to their workers. As famous above, employers have one in all two choices accessible. They will contribute both 3% of every worker’s pay or they will make nonelective contributions of two% of every eligible employee’s wage.

IRS guidelines prohibit an organization from providing different sorts of retirement plans to workers already coated by a SIMPLE 401(ok). That stated, these corporations could select to keep up a separate retirement plan for different workers not coated by the SIMPLE 401(ok).

Contribution caps to SIMPLE 401(ok)s are smaller than these for conventional 401(ok) plans. As famous earlier, workers can solely contribute $14,000 in 2022 to a SIMPLE 401(ok) plan with catch-up contributions of $3,000 per 12 months for these 50 and older. Although these quantities elevated to $15,500 of contributions with a catch-up of $3,500 in 2023, these quantities are nonetheless decrease than different retirement plans. For instance, taxpayers can put aside $20,500 to their 401(ok)s in 2022 and $22,500 in 2023. Catch-up contributions for these plans are $6,500 in 2022 and $7,500 in 2023.


  • Speedy 100% vesting for workers

  • No discrimination testing for employer

  • Loans and hardship withdrawals allowed


  • Necessary contributions (for employer)

  • No different plans allowed

  • Smaller worker contributions than common 401(ok)

  • Decrease worker contribution limits

Who Is Eligible for a SIMPLE 401(ok)?

A SIMPLE 401(ok) is offered for small companies which have 100 or fewer workers who earn greater than $5,000 per 12 months.

What Is the Distinction Between a SIMPLE 401(ok) and SIMPLE IRA?

Each SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(ok) plans are choices for small enterprise homeowners to offer retirement advantages to themselves and their workers. The important thing variations are that SIMPLE 401(ok)s enable for loans whereas SIMPLE IRAs don’t; and a SIMPLE 401(ok) requires workers be 21 years or older whereas SIMPLE IRAs haven’t any age restrictions;

How A lot Can You Contribute to a SIMPLE 401(ok)?

A SIMPLE 401(ok) limits workers to $14,000 in contributions for 2022 and $15,500 in 2023. That is in distinction to a conventional 401(ok), which has a $20,500 restrict in 2022 and $22,500 restrict in 2023. People may additionally qualify to make catch-up contributions for each plans.

Can I Have a SIMPLE 401k and a Conventional IRA?

Sure, you may preserve and contribute to a person retirement account (IRA) whereas additionally having and contributing to an employer-sponsored SIMPLE 401(ok) plan.

The Backside Line

Serving to your workers save for retirement is a good way to maintain turnover charges down and retention up. It does not harm in attracting expertise, both—preserving a small agency aggressive with the perks supplied by bigger firms.

Whereas SIMPLE 401(ok) plans have a whole lot of advantages, comparable to easy-to-manage guidelines, they do have some disadvantages when put next with different financial savings plans. The obligatory contributions and the paperwork, simplified although it’s, generally is a burden.

Consequently, they are not for each firm however then, few choices are. Seek the advice of with 401(ok) plan suppliers and your group of tax professionals to see if this retirement automobile is the most effective fitted to you and your employees.

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