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Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
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Are you an employer considering a retirement plan for your employees (including yourself)?  Or are you an employer who already has a plan and could use some help maintaining the plan? Listed below are resources primarily from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) that may provide the information you need.

Articles and Publications:

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business - Starting a retirement savings plan can be easier than most business owners think. What’s more, there are a number of retirement programs that provide tax advantages to both employers and employees.  Learn more or if you prefer, watch a video, both provided by EBSA.

Lots of Benefits, Publication 4118 – This publication discusses the benefits of sponsoring and participating in a retirement plan.

The IRS Retirement Plan Products Guide, Publication 4460 -  Resources to help you choose and maintain the right retirement plan for your business.

Planning and Managing a Business Retirement Plan – Government eTools That Can Help - There are many ways to fund a retirement plan. In some cases, employers contribute. In others, employees or both (employer and employee) contribute. If you have no employees, your options are different again. The program you choose may dictate which options are available.

Retirement Plan Options to Consider Before Year End - The tax law offers an array of tax-advantaged retirement plans for small businesses and their employees.

Optional Employee Benefits - Businesses can provide optional benefits and incentives that can improve the lives of their employees and families. This guide will help explain legal and tax implications of these benefits and highlight some common employee incentive programs, such as retirement plans.

401(k) Plans for Small Businesses - This publication highlights some of a 401(k) plan’s advantages, some of your options and responsibilities as an employer operating a 401(k) plan, and the differences among the types of 401(k) plans.

Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans for Small Business – Do you want a retirement plan that provides a high level of participation and makes it easy for you to withhold employee contributions and select the investments for those contributions? Then you may want to consider an automatic enrollment 401(k) plan.

SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Business -A SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers) IRA plan offers great advantages if your business has 100 or fewer employees (who earned $5,000 or more during the preceding calendar year) and you do not currently have another retirement plan. If you are among the thousands of business owners eligible for a SIMPLE IRA plan, read this article to learn more.

Payroll Deduction IRAs for Small Business - Want to help your employees save for retirement but don’t want the responsibility of an employee benefit plan? Think about a payroll deduction IRA program.

Simplified Employee Plan (SEP) Retirement Plans for Small Business - Under a SEP, you can contribute directly to traditional individual retirement accounts (SEP-IRAs) for all employees (including yourself). A SEP does not have the start-up and operating costs of a conventional retirement plan and allows for a contribution of up to 25 percent of each employee’s pay.

Profit Sharing Plans for Small Business - Profit sharing plans can be a powerful tool in promoting financial security in retirement. They are a valuable option if you are considering a retirement plan, providing benefits to employees and their employers.

Designated Roth Accounts under a 401(k), 403(b) or governmental 457(b) Plans, Publication 4530 - An advantage of a designated Roth account is that employees pay tax on their contributions now, but later, when taking a qualified distribution from an account, it is tax-free. Less tax on your plan distributions could mean more money in your pocket during your retirement.

FAQs about Cash Balance Retirement Plans – Learn the facts about a cash balance retirement plan, a plan that defines the promised benefit in terms of a stated account balance. faq_compliance_cashbalanceplans.html


EBSA videos - This library of videos includes a number of choices that contain information on retirement plan options, as well as information on other employee benefits.

IRS Retirement Videos - A complete list of retirement plan videos available from the IRS.

Retirement Plans - A retirement plan has benefits for everyone – the employer, the business and, of course, the employees. Employers may also be eligible for tax credits or incentives for starting a retirement plan. Keep in mind that tax law changes may affect a retirement plan. Be sure to stay up-to-date with any tax laws.

Easy, Low-Cost Ways to Start Your Small Business Retirement Plan - Learn about low-cost retirement plans; low-maintenance alternatives to traditional 401(k)s; points to consider in choosing a plan for your business; and resources for setting up and operating your plan, and avoiding plan mistakes.

Starting a SET or SIMPLE IRA Plan - Finding an inexpensive, hassle-free way to plan for retirement -- your own and your employees -- is something many business owners would like to do. Two types of retirement plans, known as SEP and Simple IRA Plans, are solutions that are tailored for many small businesses.

How to Set Up a Retirement Plan for Yourself and Your Employees - This virtual workshop will help you navigate your way through some of the various retirement plan options. and provide you with IRS resources so you can make the best informed decision for your situation. 


Choosing a Retirement Solution – An interactive website developed by DOL and the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts to help small businesses consider their retirement savings options.

Small Business Retirement Savings Advisor - EBSA developed this Small Business Retirement Savings Advisor to answer a variety of commonly asked questions about retirement savings options for small business employers and help you determine which program is most appropriate for your business.



myRA® was developed by the United States Department of the Treasury to help more people start saving for retirement. It’s a simple, safe and affordable way for your employees to save. And, it’s really easy for employers. You simply share myRA information with employees. Then set up payroll deductions for employees, or tell them about other ways they can fund their myRA accounts. You don’t administer employee accounts, contribute to them, or match employee contributions. It only takes a few minutes for employees to sign up online.

  • And it's safe. We know you care about your employees. myRA is a Roth IRA that is backed by the United States Treasury and carries no risk of losing money.
  • It's affordable. myRA is available at no cost to employers. It costs nothing to open an account and employees choose how much they want to save.

To learn more or to find contact information, visit the myRA website at You can find details on how to introduce myRA in your workplace by visiting the site's most frequently asked questions section. And while on the website, sign up for the employer and partner e-newsletter. 


myRA: Helping Small Business Owners Support Their Employees’ Retirement Goals – This program enables employers to give workers access to a retirement savings account and a chance to begin saving regularly.

Help Your Employees Start Saving for the Future with myRA - Do you have part-time or seasonal employees who don’t have access to a retirement savings plan? Now there’s an easy way to help them start saving with myRA.

myRA: Helping Millions of Americans Save for Retirement - President Obama announced in his 2014 State of the Union address that he is directing the Department of the Treasury to create "myRA" -- a safe, simple, and affordable "starter" retirement savings account that will ultimately help millions of Americans begin to prepare for retirement.



Offering a retirement plan can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, decisions that you as an employer can make. The employees participating in the plan, their beneficiaries, and the employer all benefit when a retirement plan is in place. Administering a plan and managing its assets, however, requires certain actions and involves specific responsibilities. To meet your responsibilities as plan sponsor, you need to understand some basic rules, specifically the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA sets standards of conduct for those who manage an employee benefit plan and its assets (called fiduciaries). Below are resources available online to help you understand the law and tools to help you comply.

Articles and Publications:

Meeting Your Fiduciary Responsibilities - This booklet provides an overview of the basic fiduciary responsibilities applicable to retirement plans under ERISA.

Reporting and Disclosure Guide for Employee Benefit Plans – This guide is intended to be used as a quick reference tool for certain basic reporting and disclosure requirements under ERISA.

Fiduciary Education Campaign – This campaign is designed to improve workers' health and retirement security by educating employers and service providers about their fiduciary responsibilities under ERISA.

Fiduciary Requirements for Disclosure in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans – Fact Sheet - EBSA released a final rule that will help America's workers manage and invest the money they contribute to their 401(k)-type pension plans.

Fiduciary Requirements for Disclosure in Participant-Directed Individual Account Plans - Model Fee Chart - This document includes important information to help an employee compare the investment options under his or her retirement plan.

Understanding Retirement Plan Fees and Expenses – Those responsible for managing retirement plans have a responsibility to ensure that the services provided to their plan are necessary and that the cost of those services reasonable. This booklet will help you better understand and evaluate your plan’s fees and expenses.

Selecting and Auditor for Your Employee Benefit Plan - Generally, Federal law requires employee benefit plans with 100 or more participants to have an audit as part of their obligation to file an annual return/report (Form 5500 series). If your employee benefit plan is required to have an audit, one of the most important duties of the plan administrator is to hire an independent qualified public accountant.

Selecting and Monitoring Pension Consultants – Tips for Plan Fiduciaries - ERISA requires that fiduciaries of employee benefit plans administer and manage their plans prudently and in the interest of the plan’s participants and beneficiaries. In carrying out these responsibilities, plan fiduciaries often rely heavily on pension consultants and other professionals for help.

Retirement Correction Programs - Mistakes in benefit plans can – and do – happen. The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor have programs ready to help. Read this pamphlet to learn more.

Have you had your check-up this year? Publication 3066 - Just like your automobile, a retirement plan needs regular attention and care to keep it operating well. Take a retirement plan check-up now and save time, paperwork, and money for you, your business, and your employees.

401(k) Plan Checklist – Every year it's important that you review the requirements for operating your 401(k) retirement plan. Use this checklist to help you keep your plan in compliance with many of the important rules.

401(k) Plan Fees Disclosure Form for Employee Benefit Plans - This 401(k) plan fee disclosure form may assist you in making informed cost-benefit decisions with respect to your plan. The purpose of this form is to help you determine the total cost of the plan. It is also intended to provide you with a means to compare investment product fees and plan administration expenses charged by competing service providers, regardless of how a particular service provider structures its fees.

Adding Automatic Enrollment 401(k) Plans for Small Business - Approximately 30 percent of eligible workers do not participate in their employer's 401(k)-type plan. Studies suggest that automatic enrollment plans could reduce this rate to less than 15 percent, significantly increasing retirement savings. Whether you already have a 401(k) plan or are considering starting one, automatic enrollment 401(k) plans offer many advantages.

Drafting Qualified Domestic Relationship Orders (QDRO’s) – Answers to frequently asked questions about drafting QDROs.

QDROs - Determining Qualified Status and Paying Benefits – Answers to frequently asked questions about determining qualified status and paying benefits under QDROs.


A Plan Sponsor’s Introduction to Retirement Plan Loans - Loans through your business' retirement plan can help your employees through challenging economic times. However, it's important to know the rules before this lifeline results in unexpected tax consequences. As an employer, if you want to allow loans from your plan, your plan document or written loan program must specify the loan rules.

Retirement Plans Misclassification of Workers - Misclassifying workers as independent contractors or employees can have serious federal tax consequences for workers, employers and tax-qualified retirement plans.

Maintaining Your Plan - A retirement plan needs regular attention and care to keep it operating well. A program of internal controls, oversight, and periodic review is essential, and the business owner is the one most responsible for the plan's good health. It's easier to keep a plan in compliance than bring a neglected program back into shape.


Frequently Asked Questions About Retirement Plans and ERISA - The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a Federal law that sets standards of protection for individuals in most voluntarily established, private-sector retirement plans.

Compliance Assistance - This website will assist employers and employee benefit plan officials understand and comply with the requirements of ERISA as it applies to the administration of employee retirement, health and other welfare benefit plans.

Voluntary Correction Programs – The Voluntary Fiduciary Correction Program (VFCP) encourages voluntary compliance by self-correcting violations of the law. The program also helps plan officials understand the law and gives immediate relief from payment of excise taxes under a class exemption. Click on “Correction Programs” under Compliance Assistance in the left column on this webpage.

ERISA Fiduciary Advisor - The ERISA Fiduciary Advisor provides information and answers to a variety of questions about who is a fiduciary and his or her responsibilities under ERISA.

EFAST2 Electronic Filing System - EFAST2 is an all-electronic system designed by the Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to simplify and expedite the submission, receipt, and processing of the Form 5500 and Form 5500-SF. These forms must be electronically filed each year by employee benefit plans to satisfy annual reporting requirements under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code.

Fee Disclosure Failure Notice - This web page allows plan fiduciaries to electronically notify the Department of Labor of a service provider's failure to disclose fee information required by the Department's 408(b)(2) regulation.



Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) website - Loaded with additional information, including assistance after setting up a plan and webcast archives.

EBSA Frequently Asked Questions - The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Assistance Frequently Asked Questions web page provides quick information about programs and services, provides answers to your questions, and may assist you if you believe you have been denied a retirement benefit inappropriately. A staff of Benefits Advisors is ready to help.

Small Business Retirement Plan Availability and Worker Participation - This study looks at workers' access to and participation in retirement plans offered. Almost 72 percent of workers in small companies have no retirement plan.

Saving for Retirement: A Look at Small Business Owners - This paper identifies and fills several gaps in our understanding of the retirement savings behavior of business owners and the self-employed.

Employee Plans News – A webpage that posts links to articles related to employee benefit plans, including forms and new guidance.

Retirement Plans for Small Business (SEP, SIMPLE and Qualified Plans), Publication 560 – For use in preparing 2015 tax returns.