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Changing Your Plan to a Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan

Published by Kim Moore on Jun 7, 2021 6:00:00 AM

You may have heard something about a 401(k) Plan design called Safe Harbor and wondered what that is and would it be a good option for my company 401(k) Plan. The IRS defines a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan as: “a qualified plan that provides for employer contributions to the Plan to be fully vested when made”. “The safe harbor 401(k) plan is not subject to the complex annual nondiscrimination tests that apply to traditional 401(k) plans.”Safe Harbor 401 (k) plan

A Safe Harbor Plan may be an attractive option to use for your 401(k) Plan, especially if you are a small company and want all employees to be able to maximize their contributions. These types of Plans are deemed to automatically pass two important annual tests called the Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP) and Annual Contribution Percentage (ACP) tests.

Often, the more highly compensated employees or managers may have their contribution amounts reduced in a traditional 401(k) Plan to ensure the Plan passes these required tests. That can cause frustration for your employees as the amounts will be refunded out of the employee accounts and become taxable even if they were originally deemed to be pre-tax contributions.

Note: Be aware that Safe Harbor Plans require a set level of funding for all participants by the employer and the employer's safe harbor contributions are fully vested once contributed. These plans aren’t for everyone but they are something to consider if you desire a simpler and less confusing Plan design.

When it’s time for your annual audit it’s very important that you hire a CPA firm that specializes in retirement plans. Hiring the right firm will make a huge difference in how smoothly your audit goes.

Get a FREE  401k Audit Consultation

At Summit CPA we have the capability to assist you entirely “off-site”, and with little or no distraction to your daily office routine. We also offer flat-fee pricing for pension and 401k audits so there are no surprises when you receive your bill. To find out how we can assist your business, contact our office at 866-497-9761 to schedule an appointment.


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