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Profit sharing plans are added to 401(k)s by businesses of all sizes because they want to contribute to employee retirement funds while also being able to control these contributions based on the performance of their company during the year. Let’s look at some of the additional advantages to include profit sharing in your company’s 401(k), as well as the considerations to make and procedures to take if you determine profit sharing is ideal for your firm.

What is Profit Sharing?

An employer can share some of their profits to their employees through profit sharing. Profit sharing is frequently combined with an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Only 401(k) profit sharing plans are discussed in this blog article.

The 401(K) Profit Sharing Plan

Profit sharing is a provision of a 401(k) plan that allows an employer to contribute to their workers’ 401(k) accounts depending on their profits. Unlike a 401(k) with “employer match,” which mandates businesses to match employee contributions up to a set percentage of their pay, profit sharing gives employers the freedom to decide how much money to contribute each year, if any at all.

Employees who join in the 401(k) element of the plan receive an account where they can set down a portion of their paycheck, similar to any other 401(k) plan. This money is taken out before taxes and invested in cash, bonds, and mutual funds to increase over time and assist the employee in saving for retirement.

How Do Profit Sharing 401(K) Plans Work?

A corporation sets aside a portion of its pre-tax income to contribute to their employees’ retirement accounts under profit sharing 401(k) programs. Employees can get the money in the form of a percentage of their salary or a fixed monetary amount. The annual contribution limit for profit sharing 401(k) plans is $61,000 per employee (or 100 percent of their salary, whichever amount is lower). A simple plan amendment can be used to add profit sharing to a 401(k) plan.

Three Types of Profit Sharing Plans

Profit sharing plans are divided into three categories: pro-rata (the most prevalent), new comparability (the most flexible), and age-weighted (most helpful for retaining talent). You can choose the one that will work best for your organization by thinking about profit sharing contributions in terms of employee age, value to your firm, and business goals. The following are the specifics for each:

Benefits of 401(K) and Profit Sharing

Why Profit Sharing is Enticing for Employers

Control 401(k) Costs: You have complete control over the amount you give, so you can do what makes the most sense for your company. You can also divide employees into multiple eligible categories, allowing you to contribute at different rates for different groups of employees depending on a pre-determined formula.

Attracting and Retaining Talent: The average employer contribution in a profit sharing plan is 4.7 percent of an employee’s income as of 2016.1 Using this as a baseline, you can choose to provide particular employee groups a greater contribution rate in order to recruit and retain top talent. You may also set up your vesting schedule, exactly like a standard small business 401(k) plan, to establish how long an employee must work for your firm before they own 100 percent of the profit sharing contributions you make.

Reducing Tax Liability: All contributions to a 401(k) plan with profit sharing plan are tax deductible, just as other forms of 401(k) plans. Profit sharing 401(k) plans, on the other hand, can assist you make the biggest possible contributions to get the largest possible write-off if you’re wanting to minimize your small business’s taxable income in more lucrative years. Because these plans have a substantially higher maximum employer contribution limit, it will be $61,000 per year in 2022 (or $67,500 for employees over 50), or 100 percent of the employee’s gross salary, whichever is lower.

Why Profit Sharing is Appealing for Employees

Retirement Savings: Employees appreciate profit sharing because it means their employer is investing in their retirement. Employees in the United States recognize that they are unprepared for retirement. In fact, 46% of American workers who haven’t yet retired believe they won’t have enough money saved to live comfortably in retirement.2 A 401(k) plan of any kind provides them with an employer-sponsored way to easily save and invest in order to maintain their standard of living in retirement, especially when it’s backed by the educational support they need to make good saving decisions.

Reward for their Hard Work: Employees understand that their efforts can assist their company achieve profitability. You’re giving your employees a direct incentive to work harder and keep the company in the black by sharing your profits with them through a profit sharing 401(k) plan.

Rules in Profit Sharing Plans

Maximum contributions, tax deduction restrictions, reporting, and timing are all important considerations in profit-sharing 401(k) plans.

Limits in Total Contribution: Employers are only allowed to contribute up to 100% of an employee’s pay, or $56,000 as of 2019, whichever is less.

Rules in Computation: Only compensation up to $280,000 per year can be considered for calculating a single employee’s profit sharing contribution; anything more would push total contributions above the $56,000 annual cap.

Limits in Tax Deduction: Employers can deduct profit sharing contributions up to the maximum contribution limitations from their taxes.

Disclosures and Forms: Employers must provide disclosures to employees and anyone else who participates in a 401(k) profit sharing plan, just like they must for many other 401(k) plans. In addition, the Department of Labor requires the annual filing of Form 5500.

Deadline for Funding: The yearly funding deadline for all employer contributions to a profit sharing plan is April 15th (unless an extension is filed). For additional information on funding deadlines, see our 2019 compliance calendar.

How Does Profit Sharing Differ from 401(K)?

Because they give complimentary benefits to the firm, 401(k) plans are frequently used in conjunction with profit sharing programs. A 401(k) plan allows employees to contribute up to $19,000 per year of their own money to the plan. Employers can contribute up to $61,000 per year into employee accounts through a profit sharing scheme, but employees cannot contribute to their own accounts. Combining the two allows for both employee and employer contributions, as well as more flexibility in employee compensation schemes and more savings for the business owner.

Remember that there are advantages and disadvantages to adding a profit sharing plan to your 401(k) (k). For example, profitability may vary from year to year, putting a strain on morale if employees are paid less than projected. Discuss these and any other negatives with your provider, and see if the benefits of profit sharing outweigh the risks for your company.

Setting Up of a Profit Sharing Plan as Part of the 401(K) Plan

Setting up a profit sharing plan as part of your 401(k) is as simple as amending your plan agreement, but an effective profit sharing plan requires some planning. To make profit sharing and 401(k) plan administration easier in the future, the finest profit sharing programs connect with a company’s goals. Plan ahead, consider your vision for the future of your plan and company, and locate a reliable partner to help you design a profit-sharing 401(k) plan that provides employees with a meaningful benefit as well as an incentive to do their best job as your company grows and thrives.

Got questions on how to effectively establish profit sharing plans for your employees? Contact Credo today!