Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees

A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE Plan) is a written salary-reduction arrangement that allows small businesses that meet certain requirements to make retirement contributions on behalf of eligible employees. A SIMPLE Plan "is ideally suited as a start-up retirement savings plan for small employers not currently sponsoring a retirement plan." A SIMPLE Plan is established by a written agreement and setting up Individual Retirement Accounts for employees.

In order to be eligible to establish and maintain a SIMPLE Plan, a business can not maintain or sponsor another retirement plan and must have 100 or fewer employees who earned $5,000 or more in the prior year. All of the employees in this category are eligible to participate in the plan and the employer may not impose more restrictive eligibility requirements. The employer is required to make either a non-elective contribution of 2% of each eligible employee’s compensation or a match of the employee’s elective salary reduction of up to 3% of the employee’s compensation.

Employees can make salary reduction contributions up to $12,000 in 2013, plus catch-up contributions of $2,500 for individuals 50 or older. Elective deferrals of an employee’s wages are included in Form W-2 wages for social security and Medicare purposes only. Employer contributions to a SIMPLE Plan are excluded from the gross income of the employee and deductible by the employer.

While the contribution limits of a SIMPLE Plan are lower than some other small employer retirement plan options, SIMPLE IRA Plans do not have the start-up and operating costs of other plans, nor is there any filing requirement for the employer. Furthermore, because SIMPLE Plan contributions can reduce salary, they can be used to reduce payroll or self-employment tax when compared to some other retirement plans.