Pension Startup Credit for Employers Substantially Increased

Pension Startup Credit for Employers Substantially Increased

  • Learn about eligible plans.
  • Find out which expenses are eligible.
  • Learn about the qualification rules for the credit.
  • Discover the credit amount you may be eligible for as an employer.

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Appropriations Act of 2020. This law included a number of tax law changes. Among these changes were retroactively extending certain tax provisions that expired after 2017 or were about to expire, a number of retirement and IRA plan modifications, and other changes that will impact a large portion of U.S. taxpayers as a whole. In an effort to keep you informed, Fiducial will post a series of blogs detailing the changes of this act. In this blog, we introduce the pension startup credit for employers.

Pension startup credits give employers a helping hand

Thinking about a pension plan for your employees but wondering how to cover startup costs? Then consider the pension startup credit for employers. You may be entitled to the Credit for Small Employer Pension Startup Costs if you meet certain requirements. Eligible small employers that adopt a new plan, such as a 401(k), a SIMPLE plan, or a simplified employee pension plan (SEP), may claim a nonrefundable credit. Tax credits are always welcome, but when employers qualify for credits and employees benefit too, that's a win-win. So, now may be the time to take the leap!

The first credit year is the tax year that includes the date when the plan becomes effective or, electively, the preceding tax year. Some qualifying expenses are costs related to changing the employer’s payroll system, consulting fees, and set-up fees for investment vehicles.

office with employees at computers, pension startup credit
Photographer: Proxyclick Visitor Management System | Source: Unsplash

How do you qualify for pension startup credits?

There are some qualification rules for the pension startup credit, the most predominant being:

  • The business did not employ, in the preceding year, more than 100 employees with compensation of at least $5,000.
  • The plan must cover at least one non–highly compensated employee.
  • The plan must be a new plan. During the three prior years, the employer must not have had a qualified employer plan for which contributions were made or in which benefits accrued for substantially the same employees who are in the plan for which the credit is being claimed.
  • If the credit is for the cost of a payroll-deduction IRA plan, the plan must be made available to all employees who have worked with the employer for at least three months.

Increased credit for 2020

Prior to 2020, this non-refundable pension startup credit was limited to the lesser of $500 or 50% of administrative and retirement-education expenses for the plan, for each of the plan’s first three years.

The Appropriations Act of 2020 increased the maximum pension startup credit for years beginning after 2019 to the greater of $500 or the lesser of (a) $250 multiplied by the number of non-highly compensated employees of the eligible employer who are eligible to participate in the plan or (b) $5,000.

The term “highly compensated employee” generally means any employee who (a) was a 5% owner at any time during the year or the preceding year, or (b) had compensation from the employer in excess of $130,000 (2020 amount, which is inflation adjusted for future years) during the year.

Have questions related to starting a company pension plan or qualifying for this pension startup credit? Call Fiducial at 1-866-FIDUCIAL or make an appointment at one of our office locations. Ready to book an appointment now? Click here. Know someone who might need our services? We love referrals!