Effective: February 7, 2022
Your Stuff & Your Permissions
When you use our Services, you provide us with things like your files, content, messages, contacts, and so on ("Your Stuff"). Your Stuff is yours. These Terms don’t give us any rights to Your Stuff except for the limited rights that enable us to offer the Services.
We need your permission to do things like hosting Your Stuff, backing it up, and sharing it when you ask us to. Our Services also provide you with features like eSign, file sharing, email newsletters, appointment setting and more. These and other features may require our systems to access, store, and scan Your Stuff. You give us permission to do those things, and this permission extends to our affiliates and trusted third parties we work with.
Sharing Your Stuff
Our Services let you share Your Stuff with others, so please think carefully about what you share.
You’re responsible for your conduct. Your Stuff and you must comply with applicable laws. Content in the Services may be protected by others’ intellectual property rights. Please don’t copy, upload, download, or share content unless you have the right to do so. We may review your conduct and content for compliance with these Terms. With that said, we have no obligation to do so. We aren’t responsible for the content people post and share via the Services.
Help us keep you informed and Your Stuff protected. Safeguard your password to the Services, and keep your account information current. Don’t share your account credentials or give others access to your account.
You may use our Services only as permitted by applicable law, including export control laws and regulations. Finally, to use our Services, you must be at least 13, or in some cases, even older. If you live in France, Germany, or the Netherlands, you must be at least 16. Please check your local law for the age of digital consent. If you don’t meet these age requirements, you may not use the Services.
Some of our Services allow you to download client software (“Software”) which may update automatically. So long as you comply with these Terms, we give you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, revocable license to use the Software, solely to access the Services. To the extent any component of the Software may be offered under an open source license, we’ll make that license available to you and the provisions of that license may expressly override some of these Terms. Unless the following restrictions are prohibited by law, you agree not to reverse engineer or decompile the Services, attempt to do so, or assist anyone in doing so.
We sometimes release products and features that we are still testing and evaluating. Those Services have been marked beta, preview, early access, or evaluation (or with words or phrases with similar meanings) and may not be as reliable as other non-beta services, so please keep that in mind.
The Services are protected by copyright, trademark, and other US and foreign laws. These Terms don’t grant you any right, title, or interest in the Services, others’ content in the Services, CountingWorks and our trademarks, logos and other brand features. We welcome feedback, but note that we may use comments or suggestions without any obligation to you.
We respect the intellectual property of others and ask that you do too. We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement if they comply with the law, and such notices should be reported to legal@CountingWorks.com. We reserve the right to delete or disable content alleged to be infringing and terminate accounts of repeat infringers. Our designated agent for notice of alleged copyright infringement on the Services is:
You’re free to stop using our Services at any time. We reserve the right to suspend or terminate your access to the Services with notice to you if:
We won’t provide notice before termination where:
Discontinuation of Services
We may decide to discontinue the Services in response to unforeseen circumstances beyond CountingWorks control or to comply with a legal requirement. If we do so, we’ll give you reasonable prior notice so that you can export Your Stuff from our systems.
Services “AS IS”
We strive to provide great Services, but there are certain things that we can't guarantee. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, CountingWorks AND ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS MAKE NO WARRANTIES, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ABOUT THE SERVICES. THE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED "AS IS." WE ALSO DISCLAIM ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. Some places don’t allow the disclaimers in this paragraph, so they may not apply to you.
Limitation of Liability
WE DON’T EXCLUDE OR LIMIT OUR LIABILITY TO YOU WHERE IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL TO DO SO—THIS INCLUDES ANY LIABILITY FOR CountingWorks OR ITS AFFILIATES’ FRAUD OR FRAUDULENT MISREPRESENTATION IN PROVIDING THE SERVICES. IN COUNTRIES WHERE THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF EXCLUSIONS AREN’T ALLOWED, WE'RE RESPONSIBLE TO YOU ONLY FOR LOSSES AND DAMAGES THAT ARE A REASONABLY FORESEEABLE RESULT OF OUR FAILURE TO USE REASONABLE CARE AND SKILL OR OUR BREACH OF OUR CONTRACT WITH YOU. THIS PARAGRAPH DOESN’T AFFECT CONSUMER RIGHTS THAT CAN'T BE WAIVED OR LIMITED BY ANY CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT.
IN COUNTRIES WHERE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY ARE ALLOWED, CountingWorks, ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS WON’T BE LIABLE FOR:
THESE EXCLUSIONS OR LIMITATIONS WILL APPLY REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT CountingWorks OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES HAS BEEN WARNED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
IF YOU USE THE SERVICES FOR ANY COMMERCIAL, BUSINESS, OR RE-SALE PURPOSE, CountingWorks, ITS AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS OR DISTRIBUTORS WILL HAVE NO LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ANY LOSS OF PROFIT, LOSS OF BUSINESS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. CountingWorks AND ITS AFFILIATES AREN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT, WHETHER ONLINE OR OFFLINE, OF ANY USER OF THE SERVICES.
Let’s Try To Sort Things Out First. We want to address your concerns without needing a formal legal case. Before filing a claim against CountingWorks or our affiliates, you agree to try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting legal@CountingWorks.com. We’ll try to resolve the dispute informally by contacting you via email.
Judicial forum for disputes. You and CountingWorks agree that any judicial proceeding to resolve claims relating to these Terms or the Services will be brought in the federal or state courts of Orange County, California, subject to the mandatory arbitration provisions below. Both you and CountingWorks consent to venue and personal jurisdiction in such courts. If you reside in a country (for example, European Union member states) with laws that give consumers the right to bring disputes in their local courts, this paragraph doesn’t affect those requirements.
IF YOU’RE A U.S. RESIDENT, YOU ALSO AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING MANDATORY ARBITRATION PROVISIONS:
These Terms will be governed by California law except for its conflicts of laws principles. However, some countries (including those in the European Union) have laws that require agreements to be governed by the local laws of the consumer's country. This paragraph doesn’t override those laws.
These Terms constitute the entire agreement between you and CountingWorks with respect to the subject matter of these Terms, and supersede and replace any other prior or contemporaneous agreements, or terms and conditions applicable to the subject matter of these Terms. These Terms create no third party beneficiary rights.
Waiver, Severability & Assignment
CountingWorks failure to enforce a provision is not a waiver of its right to do so later. If a provision is found unenforceable, the remaining provisions of the Terms will remain in full effect and an enforceable term will be substituted reflecting our intent as closely as possible. You may not assign any of your rights under these Terms, and any such attempt will be void. CountingWorks may assign its rights to any of its affiliates or subsidiaries, or to any successor in interest of any business associated with the Services.
We may revise these Terms from time to time to better reflect:
If an update affects your use of the Services or your legal rights as a user of our Services, we’ll notify you prior to the update's effective date by sending an email to the email address associated with your account or via an in-product notification. These updated terms will be effective no less than 30 days from when we notify you.
If you don’t agree to the updates we make, please cancel your account before they become effective. By continuing to use or access the Services after the updates come into effect, you agree to be bound by the revised Terms.
Effective: February 7, 2022
Thanks for visiting our website. Our mission is to create a web based experience that makes it easier for us to work together. Here we describe how we collect, use, and handle your personal information when you use our websites, software, and services (“Services”).
What & Why
We collect and use the following information to provide, improve, and protect our Services:
Account information. We collect, and associate with your account, the information you provide to us when you do things such as sign up for your account, opt-in to our client newsletter or request an appointment (like your name, email address, phone number, and physical address). Some of our Services let you access your accounts and your information via other service providers.
Your Stuff. Our Services are designed to make it simple for you to store your files, documents, comments, messages, and so on (“Your Stuff”), collaborate with others, and work across multiple devices. To make that possible, we store, process, and transmit Your Stuff as well as information related to it. This related information includes your profile information that makes it easier to collaborate and share Your Stuff with others, as well as things like the size of the file, the time it was uploaded, collaborators, and usage activity. Our Services provide you with different options for sharing Your Stuff.
Contacts. You may choose to give us access to your contacts (spouse or other company staff) to make it easy for you to do things like share and collaborate on Your Stuff, send messages, and invite others to use the Services. If you do, we’ll store those contacts on our servers for you to use.
Usage information. We collect information related to how you use the Services, including actions you take in your account (like sharing, viewing, and moving files or folders). We use this information to improve our Services, develop new services and features, and protect our users.
Cookies and other technologies. We use technologies like cookies to provide, improve, protect, and promote our Services. For example, cookies help us with things like remembering your username for your next visit, understanding how you are interacting with our Services, and improving them based on that information. You can set your browser to not accept cookies, but this may limit your ability to use the Services.
Marketing. We give users the option to use some of our Services free of charge. These free Services are made possible by the fact that some users upgrade to one of our paid Services. If you register for our free Services, we will, from time to time, send you information about the firm or tax and accounting tips when permissible. Users who receive these marketing materials can opt out at any time. If you do not want to receive marketing materials from us, simply click the ‘unsubscribe’ link in any email.
We sometimes contact people who do not have an account. For recipients in the EU, we or a third party will obtain consent before contacting you. If you receive an email and no longer wish to be contacted by us, you can unsubscribe and remove yourself from our contact list via the message itself.
Bases for processing your data. We collect and use the personal data described above in order to provide you with the Services in a reliable and secure manner. We also collect and use personal data for our legitimate business needs. To the extent we process your personal data for other purposes, we ask for your consent in advance or require that our partners obtain such consent.
We may share information as discussed below, but we won’t sell it to advertisers or other third parties.
Other users. Our Services display information like your name, profile picture, device, and email address to other users in places like your user profile and sharing notifications. You can also share Your Stuff with other users if you choose. When you register your account with an email address on a domain owned by your employer or organization, we may help collaborators and administrators find you and your workspace by making some of your basic information—like your name, workspace name, profile picture, and email address—visible to other users on the same domain. This helps you sync up with workspaces you can join and helps other users share files and folders with you. Certain features let you make additional information available to others.
Workspace Admins. If you are a user of a workspace, your administrator may have the ability to access and control your workspace account. Please refer to your organization’s internal policies if you have questions about this. If you are not a workspace user but interact with a workspace user (by, for example, joining a shared folder or accessing stuff shared by that user), members of that organization may be able to view the name, email address, profile picture, and IP address that was associated with your account at the time of that interaction.
Law & Order and the Public Interest. We may disclose your information to third parties if we determine that such disclosure is reasonably necessary to: (a) comply with any applicable law, regulation, legal process, or appropriate government request; (b) protect any person from death or serious bodily injury; (c) prevent fraud or abuse of our platform or our users; (d) protect our rights, property, safety, or interest; or (e) perform a task carried out in the public interest.
Stewardship of your data is critical to us and a responsibility that we embrace. We believe that your data should receive the same legal protections regardless of whether it’s stored on our Services or on your home computer’s hard drive. We’ll abide by Government Request Policies when receiving, scrutinizing, and responding to government requests (including national security requests) for your data:
Security. We have a team dedicated to keeping your information secure and testing for vulnerabilities. We also continue to work on features to keep your information safe in addition to things like blocking repeated login attempts, encryption of files at rest, and alerts when new devices and apps are linked to your account. We deploy automated technologies to detect abusive behavior and content that may harm our Services, you, or other users.
User Controls. You can access, amend, download, and delete your personal information by logging into your account.
Retention. When you sign up for an account with us, we’ll retain information you store on our Services for as long as your account is in existence or as long as we need it to provide you the Services. If you delete your account, we will initiate deletion of this information after 30 days. But please note: (1) there might be some latency in deleting this information from our servers and back-up storage; and (2) we may retain this information if necessary to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, or enforce our agreements.
Around the world. To provide you with the Services, we may store, process, and transmit information in the United States and locations around the world—including those outside your country. Information may also be stored locally on the devices you use to access the Services.
EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield. When transferring data from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, We rely upon a variety of legal mechanisms, including contracts with our customers and affiliates. We comply with the EU-U.S. and Swiss–U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of personal information transferred from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland to the United States.
We are subject to oversight by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. JAMS is the US-based independent organization responsible for reviewing and resolving complaints about our Privacy Shield compliance—free of charge to you. We ask that you first submit any such complaints directly to us via privacy@CountingWorks.com. If you aren’t satisfied with our response, please contact JAMS at https://www.jamsadr.com/eu-us-privacy-shield. In the event your concern still isn’t addressed by JAMS, you may be entitled to a binding arbitration under Privacy Shield and its principles.
If we are involved in a reorganization, merger, acquisition, or sale of our assets, your information may be transferred as part of that deal.
Your Right to Control and Access Your Information
You have control over your personal information and how it is collected, used, and shared. For example, you have a right to:
Your personal information is controlled by CountingWorks, Inc. Have questions or concerns about CountingWorks, our Services, and privacy? Contact our Data Protection Officer at privacy@CountingWorks.com. If they can’t answer your question, you have the right to contact your local data protection supervisory authority.
Third Party Vendors
Amazon Web Services
Updated: June 2020.
strives to ensure that its services are accessible to people with disabilities. has invested a significant amount of resources to help ensure that its website is made easier to use and more accessible for people with disabilities, with the strong belief that every person has the right to live with dignity, equality, comfort and independence.
makes available the UserWay Website Accessibility Widget that is powered by a dedicated accessibility server. The software allows us to improve its compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
Enabling the Accessibility Menu
The accessibility menu can be enabled either by hitting the tab key when the page first loads or by clicking the accessibility menu icon that appears on the corner of the page. After triggering the accessibility menu, please wait a moment for the accessibility menu to load in its entirety.
continues its efforts to constantly improve the accessibility of its site and services in the belief that it is our collective moral obligation to allow seamless, accessible and unhindered use also for those of us with disabilities.
In an ongoing effort to continually improve and remediate accessibility issues, we also regularly scan with UserWay's Accessibility Scanner to identify and fix every possible accessibility barrier on our site. Despite our efforts to make all pages and content on fully accessible, some content may not have yet been fully adapted to the strictest accessibility standards. This may be a result of not having found or identified the most appropriate technological solution.
Here For You
If you are experiencing difficulty with any content on or require assistance with any part of our site, please contact us during normal business hours as detailed below and we will be happy to assist.
If you wish to report an accessibility issue, have any questions or need assistance, please contact customer support.
We keep you up-to-date on the latest tax changes and news in the industry.
Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)
Penalty for Not Taking an RMD
Excess Contribution or Distribution Penalty Statute of Limitations
Nanny Retirement Contributions
Credit for Small Employer Pension Plan Start-up Costs
Military Spouse Retirement Plan Eligibility Credit for Small Employers
Firefighter Retirement Distributions
Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Domestic Abuse Victims
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) to Split Interest Entity
Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs)
Tax Free Sec 529 Plan to Roth Rollovers
Additional Nonelective Contributions to Simple Plans
Indexing IRA Catch-Up Contributions
Employers Can Make Matching Contributions Based on Student Loan Payments
Withdrawals for Certain Emergency Expenses
Emergency Savings Accounts
Increased Catch-Up Contributions for Those Aged 60 Through 63
Automatic Enrollment in Retirement Plans Requirement
Long-Term Part-Time Employee 401(k) Participation
Enhancement and Modification of the Saver’s Credit
The President, on December 29, 2022, signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, which is the “omnibus spending bill” Congress needed to pass to avoid a government shutdown. That legislation also included the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) 2.0 Act, a.k.a. the SECURE 2.0 Act, that can significantly impact and augment your retirement planning strategies. The SECURE 2.0 Act incorporates provisions from proposed legislation that was passed by the House and another bill that was passed by the Senate that had not previously been reconciled.
So What’s in the Legislation That May Affect You?
Included are over 300 pages of provisions affecting tax-favored retirement benefits that modify many provisions of the original SECURE Act enacted back in 2019. Some apply to individuals while others benefit businesses. The provisions of the SECURE 2.0 Act become effective over several years stretching out until 2026. This article includes the most significant provisions.
THOSE EFFECTIVE IN 2023
Here are the takeaways for those effective in 2023:
Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) – To prevent an individual from investing in tax-deferred retirement plans, including Traditional IRAs, but never withdrawing from the plans, the account owner is required to begin taking RMDs in the year the IRA owner reaches the mandatory age set by Congress.
The policy behind the RMD rule is to ensure that individuals spend their retirement savings during their lifetime and not use their retirement plans for estate planning purposes to transfer wealth to beneficiaries.
Originally RMDs had to begin at age 70½, until the original SECURE Act increased it to 72 beginning in 2020. Now the SECURE 2.0 Act is increasing it to age 73 in 2023 and age 75 in 2033, giving folks longer to accumulate their retirement savings.
Penalty for Not Taking an RMD – For years, the penalty (technically an excise tax on “excess accumulation”) for an individual failing to take the required minimum amount from their traditional IRA or retirement plan has been a draconian 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn but wasn’t for the year. The SECURE 2.0 Act decreases the penalty to 25% and further reduces it to 10% if corrected in a timely manner.
Excess Contribution or Distribution Penalty Statute of Limitations – Individuals often are not aware of the penalty for excess contributions or not taking a required minimum distribution leading to an indefinite accumulation of interest and penalties. To provide finality for taxpayers in the administration of these excise taxes, the SECURE 2.0 Act provides that a 3-year period of limitations begins when the taxpayer files an individual tax return (Form 1040) for the year of the violation, except in the case of excess contributions, in which case the period of limitations runs 6 years from the date Form 1040 is filed.
Nanny Retirement Contributions – The act permits employers of domestic employees (e.g., nannies) to provide retirement benefits for such employees under a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)plan. The reason these plans are referred to as simplified is the contributions are maintained in an IRA account of an employee and subject to normal IRA rules. SEP-IRAs require little administration on the part of the employer and contributions immediately vest for the employee.
The employer can decide what amount to contribute each year, anywhere from $0 to the maximum SEP-IRA contribution which is, 25% of compensation or $66,000 for tax year 2023, whichever is less.
Credit for Small Employer Pension Plan Start-up Costs – SECURE 2.0 Act modifies the credit by creating a second category of employer – those with 50 or fewer employees – while leaving the original credit in place for employers with more than 50 employees but not more than 100.
Thus, for employers with 50 or fewer employees the maximum credit is increased from $500 to $1,000. In addition, the credit percentage is increased from 50% to 100% for the first-year expenses for starting a pension plan and for the next three years will be as shown here:
2nd Year......................................................... 75%
3rd Year.......................................................... 50%
4th Year.......................................................... 25%
Military Spouse Retirement Plan Eligibility Credit for Small Employers - Members of the military are transferred frequently and their spouses who move with them often do not remain employed long enough to become eligible for their employer’s retirement plan or to vest in employer contributions. The SECURE 2.0 Act provides small employers (no more than 100 employees earning more than $5,000 per year) a tax credit with respect to their defined contribution plans if they:
(1) Make military spouses immediately eligible for plan participation within two months of hire,
(2) Upon plan eligibility, make the military spouse eligible for any matching or nonelective contribution that they would have been eligible for otherwise at 2 years of service, and
(3) Make the military spouse 100% immediately vested in all employer contributions.
The tax credit equals the sum of:
(1) $200 per military spouse, and
(2) 100% of all employer contributions (up to $300) made on behalf of the military spouse.
This results in a maximum tax credit of $500. This credit applies for 3 years with respect to each military spouse.
Firefighter Retirement Distributions – Under current law, an employee who withdraws funds from their retirement plan before age 59½ will pay a penalty (additional tax) of 10% of the taxable amount of the distribution. An exception to the penalty is if an employee terminates employment after age 55 and takes a distribution from a retirement plan. Further, there is a special rule that allows firefighters to substitute age 50 for age 55 for purposes of this exception from the 10% tax. The SECURE 2.0 Act extends the age 50 rule to private sector firefighters.
Penalty-Free Withdrawals for Domestic Abuse Victims – The Act allows retirement plans to permit participants that self-certify that they experienced domestic abuse to withdraw a small amount of money and avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty when they withdraw the lesser of:
o $10,000, or
o 50% of the present value of the nonforfeitable accrued benefit of the employee under the plan.
The distribution may be redeposited to the retirement plan at any time during the 3-year period beginning on the day after the date on which the distribution was received and avoid the tax on the distribution.
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) to Split Interest Entity – Normally an individual at least age 70½ can annually transfer tax free up to $100,000 from their IRA to a qualified charity. That provision is expanded by the SECURE 2.0 Act to allow for a one-time, $50,000 distribution to charities through charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder unitrusts, and charitable remainder annuity trusts. Caution: Where a taxpayer made IRA contributions after reaching age 70½ there may be taxable ramifications; call this office before making a transfer.
Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs) - QLACs are generally deferred annuities that begin payment toward the end of an individual’s life expectancy. Because payments start so late, QLACs are an inexpensive way for retirees to hedge the risk of outliving their savings in defined contribution plans and IRAs.
Tax regulations published in 2014 imposed certain limits that have prevented QLACs from achieving their intended purpose in providing longevity protection.
The Act addresses these limitations by:
o Repealing the 25% of the account balance limit that applies to the amount of premiums paid for the contract,
o Allowing up to $200,000 (indexed) to be used from an account balance to purchase a QLAC, and
o Facilitating the sales of QLACs with spousal survival rights – and clarifies that free-look periods are permitted up to 90 days with respect to contracts purchased or received in an exchange on or after July 2, 2014.
THOSE EFFECTIVE IN 2024
Tax Free Sec 529 Plan to Roth Rollovers - Frequently individuals express concerns about funds being left over and stuck in 529 accounts when the beneficiary’s higher-education expenses paid from the plan have turned out to be less than the account’s value, leaving them no choice for getting access to the funds except taking a non-qualified withdrawal and assume a penalty.
The Act amends the tax code to allow for tax- and penalty-free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs, under certain conditions.
o Beneficiaries of 529 college savings accounts would be permitted to roll over up to $35,000 over the course of their lifetime from any 529 account in their name to their Roth IRA.
o The 529 account must have been open for more than 15 years.
o These rollovers are also subject to the Roth IRA annual contribution limits (for example, an inflation-adjusted $6,500 in 2023), which means the $35,000 maximum rollover can’t be done all in one year.
Additional Nonelective Contributions to SIMPLE Plans - Currently employers with SIMPLE plans are required to make employer contributions to employees of either 2% of compensation or 3% of employee elective deferral contributions.
Beginning in 2024 an employer can make additional contributions to each employee of the plan in a uniform manner, provided that the contribution may not exceed the lesser of:
o Up to 10% of compensation or
o $5,000 (indexed)
Indexing IRA Catch-Up Contributions - Currently the limit on IRA contributions is increased by $1,000 (not indexed) for individuals who have attained age 50. Beginning in 2024 catch-up contributions will be inflation adjusted in $100 increments.
Employers Can Make Matching Contributions Based on Student Loan Payments - This new retirement plan twist is intended to assist employees who may not be able to save for retirement because they are overwhelmed with student loan debt, and thus are missing out on available employer matching contributions for retirement plans.
The Act allows employees to receive matching contributions by reason of repaying their student loans and by permitting an employer to make matching contributions under a 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, SIMPLE IRA or 457(b) government plan with respect to qualified student loan payments.
A qualified student loan payment is largely defined as a payment made on any indebtedness incurred by the employee solely to pay qualified higher education expenses of the employee.
Withdrawals for Certain Emergency Expenses – Unless an exception applies, withdrawals from a 401(k) plan or a traditional IRA before attaining the age of 59½ are generally subject a 10% early withdrawal penalty.
Effective beginning in 2024, the Act provides an exception for certain distributions used for emergency expenses, which are unforeseeable or immediate financial needs relating to personal or family emergency expenses.
Only one distribution is permissible per year of up to $1,000, and a taxpayer has the option to repay the distribution to the plan within 3 years.
No further emergency distributions are permissible during the 3-year repayment period unless repayment occurs.
Emergency Savings Accounts - According to a report by the Federal Reserve, almost half of Americans would struggle to cover an unexpected $400 expense resulting in many tapping into their retirement savings.
Congress reasoned that separating emergency savings from one’s retirement savings account will provide participants a better understanding that one account is for short-term emergency needs and the other is for long-term retirement savings, thus empowering employees to handle unexpected financial shocks without jeopardizing their long-term financial security in retirement through emergency hardship withdrawals from their retirement plans.
Thus the Act provides employers the option to offer to their non-highly compensated employees pension-linked emergency savings accounts.
Employers may automatically opt employees into these accounts at no more than 3% of their salary, and the portion of an account attributable to the employee’s contribution is capped at $2,500 (or lower as set by the employer).
The first four withdrawals from an emergency savings account each plan year may not be subject to any fees or charges. At separation from service, an employee may take their emergency savings account as a cash distribution or roll it into their Roth defined contribution plan (if they have one) or an IRA.
EFFECTIVE IN 2025
Increased Catch-Up Contributions for Those Aged 60 Through 63 - Employees who have attained age 50 are permitted to make catch-up contributions under a retirement plan more than the otherwise applicable limits. The limit on catch-up contributions for 2023 is $7,500, except in the case of SIMPLE plans for which the limit is $3,500.
Effective beginning in 2025, these limits are increased to the greater of $10,000 or 50% more than the regular catch-up amount beginning in 2025 for individuals who have attained ages 60, 61, 62 and 63. The increased amounts are indexed for inflation after 2025.
Automatic Enrollment – Many Americans reach retirement age with little, or no savings simply because they are not offered an opportunity to save for retirement through their employers. Even for those employees who are offered a retirement plan at work, many do not participate.
The Act requires new 401(k) and 403(b) plans to automatically enroll participants in the respective plans upon becoming eligible (employees may opt out of coverage).
o The initial auto enrollment amount is a contribution by the employee of at least 3% but not more than 10% of their compensation.
o Each year thereafter that amount is increased by one percentage point until it reaches at least 10%, but not more than 15%.
o All current 401(k) and 403(b) plans are grandfathered (i.e., not required to have automatic enrollment).
The following employers are exempt from the mandatory enrollment requirement, including:
o Small businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
o Employers that have been in business for less than three years.
o Church Plans.
o Government Plans.
Long-Term Part-Time Employee 401(k) Participation – The Act significantly lowers the bar for part-time employees to participate in 401(k) retirement plans. Employers maintaining a 401(k) plan must have a dual eligibility requirement under which an employee must complete:
o 1 year of service (with the 1,000-hour rule) or
o 2 consecutive years of service where the employee completes at least 500 hours of service per year (down from 3 consecutive years).
EFFECTIVE IN 2027
Enhancement and Modification of the Saver’s Credit
Current law provides for a nonrefundable credit for lower income individuals who make contributions to individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”), employer retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans), and ABLE accounts. The Act repeals and replaces the credit with respect to IRA and retirement plan contributions, changing it from a credit paid in cash as part of a tax refund to a federal matching contribution that must be deposited into a taxpayer’s IRA or retirement plan.
The match is 50% of IRA or retirement plan contributions up to $2,000 per individual. Thus, the government’s contribution will be a maximum of $1,000. Since the matching contribution is for lower- and middle-income individuals, the matching contribution is phased as indicated in the table.
SAVER’S MATCH MAGI PHASEOUT
MAGI = AGI plus add back of foreign and possession (Internal Revenue Code Sections 911,931 and 933) exclusions.
The preceding covers only some of the provisions in the new law. As the IRS develops further guidance and tax regulations more details will emerge of which we will keep you informed.
If you have questions or would like to schedule a retirement planning appointment, please give this office a call.
Each month, we will send you a roundup of our latest blog content covering the tax and accounting tips & insights you need to know.