September 30, 2019
Defined Benefit Plans have several deadlines. In order to receive favorable tax treatment and avoid penalties, you must meet these due dates in a timely fashion.
What deadlines must you be aware of in a Defined Benefit Plan?
We discuss these deadlines below in more detail. This article also answers how a Defined Benefit Plan may help you and what a Cash Balance Plan is.
You must set up the Defined Benefit Plan by the time you file your business return (with extension) for the applicable tax year. For example, if you have a calendar tax year, you could adopt the Defined Benefit Plan as late as September 15, 2021 to get a 2020 deduction. However, note that the Defined Benefit account also must be set up and funded by that date. Thus, for practical purposes, you may need to adopt the Plan in advance of that deadline.
Yes, the SECURE Act of 2019 extended the due date for adopting a Defined Benefit Plan. Previously, an employer had to adopt the Plan by the end of the tax year for which the deduction applied. For example, employers with calendar tax years had to adopt the Defined Benefit Plan by December 31, 2019 to receive a 2019 Plan deduction. However, for tax years beginning after 2019, the adoption due date was extended from the end of the tax year to the due date of the business filing (with extensions).
As long as you adopt and fund the Defined Benefit Plan before filing your 2020 business return, you may deduct the amount you fund for the 2020 tax year. However, you should begin the process of setting up the Plan 4 to 6 weeks before you file your return. It takes time to design the Plan to meet your objectives, draft the Plan document, adopt the Plan, set up the retirement account, and fund it before you file your return.
You must sign the Defined Benefit Plan document by the deadline. In order to meet the due date, your actuary will discuss with you what your objectives are in starting the Plan to ensure the provisions lay out an appropriate design.
In general, the due date for funding the 2020 Plan year is the date you file your business tax return (with extension) but no later than September 15, 2021 for a calendar tax and Plan year. Thus, there is no longer several months between the deadline for adopting and funding the Defined Benefit Plan.
You can deduct more in a Defined Benefit Plan than other retirement arrangements. For example, the contribution limits for SEPs and 401(k) Profit Sharing Plans are roughly $60,000 per year per person. If you want to deduct more than that, a Defined Benefit Plan may be your only option.
A Cash Balance Plan is a type of Defined Benefit Plan, and the deadlines are the same. The difference is a Cash Balance Plan is an account-based plan and a Traditional Defined Benefit Plan expresses the benefit as an amount payable for life at retirement age. Both types of Plans may provide a single sum distribution in lieu of an ongoing monthly benefit. In fact, in smaller Plans, nearly all participants elect the lump sum payment at termination.
Yes, you can have both a Defined Benefit Plan and a 401(k) Plan. Having both allows you to further increase your deductible limit. However, you must be aware of the combined deductible limit. Your TPA or actuary will assist you with this.
That depends on your age, earned income, business profitability and whether your spouse is an employee in the business. The Defined Benefit Calculator provides you an estimated deduction based on these factors.