The Solo 401(k) plan is unique and so popular because it is designed explicitly for small, owner only business. It’s a tax efficient and cost effective plan that offers all the benefits of a Self Directed IRA plan, and includes additional benefits, such as high contribution limits (up to $49,000) and a $50,000 loan feature. There are many features of the Solo 401(k) plan that make it so appealing and popular among self employed business owners. A solo 401(k) Plan is typically used by owner owned business for the following purposes:
- High Contribution Limits: For the salary deferral portion in 2012, you can contribute the regular 401(k) maximum of $17,000 (with an additional $5,500 if over the age of 50 at year end). And, you can add up to 25% of compensation for the profit-sharing portion. The combined maximum of these contributions can’t exceed $50,000, plus catch-up additions, if applicable ($55,500 if over the age of 50). Also, your Solo 401(k) Plan can be designed with a “designated Roth component”, if you desire it allowing you to make Roth type contributions (after-tax) to your Solo 401(k) Plan.
Under the 2013 new Solo 401(k) contribution rules, a plan participant under the age of 50 can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $17,500. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $51,000, an increase of $1,000 from 2012.
For plan participants over the age of 50, an individual can make a maximum employee deferral contribution in the amount of $23,000. That amount can be made in pre-tax or after-tax (Roth). On the profit sharing side, the business can make a 25% (20% in the case of a sole proprietorship or single member LLC) profit sharing contribution up to a combined maximum, including the employee deferral, of $56,500, an increase of $1,000 from 2012.
- Loan Feature: While an IRA offers no participant loan feature, the Solo 401k allows participants to borrow up to $50,000 or 50% of their account value (whichever is less) for any purpose.
- Finance a Business or investment: Borrow up to $50,000 to finance a business or make an investment.
- Flexible Investment Options: You can invest in almost any type of investment, including real estate, private business entities and commercial paper and channel the gains back into your 401(k) tax free.
- Roth Type Contributions: With IRAs, those who earn high incomes are disallowed from contributing to a Roth IRA or converting their IRA to a Roth IRA. The Solo 401(k) plan contains a built in Roth sub-account which can be contributed to without any income restrictions.
- Cost Effective Administration: In general, the solo 401(k) plan is easy to operate. There is generally no annual filing requirement unless your solo 401(k) plan exceeds $250,000 in assets, in which case you will need to file a short information return with the IRS (Form 5500).
- Exemption from UDFI: When an IRA buys real estate that is leveraged with mortgage financing, it creates Unrelated Debt Financed Income (a type of Unrelated Business Taxable Income) on which taxes must be paid. A Solo 401(k) plan is exempt from UDFI.
Retirement Saving Consolidation Through Rollovers
A solo 401(k) plan can accept rollovers of funds from another retirement savings vehicle, such as an IRA, a SEP, or a previous employer’s 401(k) plan.