Squeeze More Out of a Company SEP

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If you want a retirement plan for your small company or self-employed business — but you don’t want to be buried in paperwork — consider a simplified employee pension plan or SEP.

Among the appealing advantages:

SEPs are set up by simply filling out a brief form.
Annual reports aren’t required to be filed with the IRS, although you must provide a copy of the SEP form to each covered employee. (Most retirement plans require detailed reports to be filed with the IRS and the Department of Labor.)
Contributions can go from zero to the maximum each year, so if your company has a bad year you can skip the contribution.
SEPs allow for “look-back” contributions. As an example, you can make a SEP contribution, up until the date you file your tax return (including extensions), and deduct that contribution on that tax return.
Employees make their own investment decisions. All SEP contributions are fully vested and portable. In fact, SEPs are sometimes referred to as SEP-IRAs. The maximum contributions are 25 percent of compensation for employees, or 20 percent of self-employment income for sole proprietors, partners and LLC members. The absolute maximum amount that can be contributed to an account and deducted is $52,000 for 2014 (up from $51,000 in 2013).

All in all, if you are a small corporation or self-employed, the ease of a SEP may simplify your life and help fund your retirement. Consult with your tax adviser for more information.

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