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  • SiekmannCo

Secure Act- What you Need to Know

The SECURE Act represents significant change in retirement plan legislation. This change is intended to benefit both employers and employees, by providing administrative relief along with expanded retirement plan coverage and increased savings opportunities to improve retirement security.

Expansion of Access

• Allows employers of all sizes and types of businesses to join together to create “open” multiple-employer plans (MEPs) to make retirement plans more accessible

• Allow long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans

Start Up Tax Credits

• Increases tax credits for small employers who start new retirement plans—from $500 per year to as much as $5,000 per year for three years

• Adds an additional $500/year tax credit for new plans that include automatic enrollment Preserves


• Delays the required minimum distribution age from 70½ to 72

• Increases the cap on auto-escalation of contributions for certain safe harbor 401k plans from 10% to 15% of pay after the first year

• Encourages lifetime income options through new participant disclosures, new provider selection rules, and new ways to increase the portability of lifetime income investments

Support for Employers

• Offers consolidated Form 5500 filing for a “group of plans” using the same fiduciaries and investments for certain DC plans

• Provides more time to retroactively adopt certain retirement plans

• Makes it easier to adopt, change, and manage a safe harbor 401(k) plan

• Reduces payout period for non-spouse beneficiaries of DC plans (and IRAs) to 10 years after the participant’s (owner’s) death

Support for Employees

• Eliminates the current age 70½ limit for contributing to an IRA

• Allows graduate students to count stipends and non-tuition fellowship payments as compensation for IRA contribution purposes

• Permits penalty-free withdrawals of up to $5,000 from qualified retirement savings plans to help pay for childbirth or adoption expenses (with repayment permitted)

• Expands allowable expenses for 529 college savings plans to include apprenticeships, or up to $10,000 of qualified education loan repayments

• Waives the 10% additional tax on distributions for up to $100,000 of qualified disaster distributions

• Fixes the “Gold Star Family” tax problem, also known as the “widow’s tax” Increases Penalties

Increased Penalties

• Increases penalties for failure to file retirement plan returns (such as Forms 5500), required notifications of changes and required withholding notices

• Increases penalties for individuals who fail to file tax returns

Mandatory plan amendments to cover SECURE Act changes will not be required until the 2022 plan year for most plans.

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