5 Retirement Plan Options for Small Businesses

5 Options for Small Business Retirement Plans

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Offering a retirement plan is a great way for a small business to attract and retain employees. It helps everyone, including the owner, shelter income from taxes while saving for retirement.

To accommodate different needs of small businesses, the tax code offers several types of small business retirement plans.

Among the small business retirement options are:

  • Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP): Under this plan, the employee establishes an IRA and the employer contributes up to 25% of an employee's compensation each year. There is no employee contribution. It's simple, and it's popular with small family-owned businesses.

  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE): Companies with fewer than 100 employees can set up a SIMPLE IRA plan. Each employee opens an IRA account, and both employer and employee contribute money to it. There is minimal paperwork and no separate administration fees. It's an efficient way to provide a retirement plan to a large group of people, that is, large by small-business standards.

  • Traditional 401(k): This retirement plan allows employees to set aside a portion of their salary for retirement on a pre-tax basis. Designated Roth Contributions are also an available option to provide employees the ability to contribute a portion of their salary on an after-tax basis. Companies offering a 401(k) need to file paperwork each year to ensure their plan complies with IRS regulations. But still, a traditional 401(k) plan is a good option for businesses that plan to grow and want flexibility in how much money the company contributes on behalf of eligible employees.

  • Safe Harbor 401(k) Plan: This type of 401(k) plan is similar to a traditional 401(k) plan in many respects. Under a Safe Harbor Plan, the administration is reduced because the plan includes either a matching or an automatic employer contribution that allows all employees to potentially contribute the maximum amount each year to their accounts. Although it is less flexible than a traditional 401(k), it may be easier for a small business to operate and comply with IRS regulations.

  • Individual 401(k) Plan: A 401(k) plan for a company that only has an owner(s) and their spouse, if applicable, with no common law employees. An individual 401(k) plan may allow the owner(s) to set aside more income than other types of retirement plans.


Neither State Farm®¬†nor its agents provide tax or legal advice.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.