If I Want to Establish a SIMPLE IRA, Do I Have to Establish One For All Owners of My Business?

The IRS has criteria for assessing whether an employee-employer relationship exists, and if employees meet these criteria, they must be given the opportunity to participate in the plan. Silent partners and other non-participating owners do not need to be included in the plan. However, if a business owner does offer a SIMPLE IRA to employees, contributions must be made on their behalf, and a system for calculating and making those contributions must be established.

If you're a small business owner looking to offer a retirement plan to your employees, a SIMPLE IRA can be a great option. But if you're wondering whether you need to establish a SIMPLE IRA for all owners of your business, the answer is no. In fact, only employees must be included in SIMPLE IRAs.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has about 20 criteria for assessing whether an employee-employer relationship exists. This includes factors such as the degree of control the employer has over the work performed, whether the worker is paid a salary or hourly wage, whether the worker receives benefits like health insurance and vacation time, and whether the employer has the right to terminate the worker at any time.

If you have employees who meet the criteria for being considered employees, you must offer them the opportunity to participate in a SIMPLE IRA. This means setting up the plan and making contributions on their behalf. However, silent partners and other owners who do not participate in the business or draw wages do not need to be included in the plan.

The reason for this is that SIMPLE IRAs are designed to be retirement plans for employees. As such, they are subject to certain rules and regulations, including contribution limits, eligibility requirements, and distribution rules. These rules are in place to ensure that the plan is being used for its intended purpose – to help employees save for retirement.

To be eligible to participate in a SIMPLE IRA, employees must have received at least $5,000 in compensation in the preceding year two years. This includes wages, salaries, tips, and other forms of compensation. If an employee meets this requirement, they must be given the opportunity to participate in the plan.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Unionized employees can be excluded from the plan if their union has negotiated a different retirement plan on their behalf. Additionally, employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that does not allow for participation in a SIMPLE IRA can also be excluded.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you do offer a SIMPLE IRA to your employees, you must make contributions to the plan on their behalf. There are two types of contributions that can be made to a SIMPLE IRA – employee contributions and employer contributions.

Employee contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, meaning that the money is taken out of the employee's paycheck before taxes are withheld. These contributions are subject to annual limits, which are set by the IRS. In 2023, the annual limit for employee contributions to a SIMPLE IRA is $14,000. Employees who are age 50 or older can also make catch-up contributions of up to $3,000.

Employer contributions, on the other hand, are made by the employer on behalf of the employee. These contributions are also subject to annual limits, which are set by the IRS. In 2023, the employer contribution limit for a SIMPLE IRA is 3% of the employee's compensation or $14,000, whichever is less.

It's important to note that if you do offer a SIMPLE IRA to your employees, you must make contributions to the plan on a regular basis. This means that you'll need to set up a system for calculating and making contributions, which can be time-consuming and complex.

In conclusion, if you're looking to establish a SIMPLE IRA for your employees, you do not need to establish one for all owners of your business. Only employees must be included in SIMPLE IRAs, and silent partners and other owners who do not participate in the business or draw wages do not need to be included. However, if you do offer a SIMPLE IRA to your employees, you must make contributions on their behalf, and you'll need to set up a system for calculating and making those contributions on a regular basis.