7 Things You Need to Know About a SIMPLE IRA for 2024

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Most group person ne'er heard of a SIMPLE IRA and are funny to cognize nan rules, limits, and really it differs from a 401(k).

A SIMPLE IRA sounds “simple” to group up, but is it really that easy? And really does it comparison to nan 401k and different retirement plans that exist? We’ll reply that and much arsenic we return a heavy dive into nan SIMPLE IRA rules and limits.

What Is a Simple IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA, aliases Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, is simply a type of employer-sponsored status savings scheme that is designed to beryllium easy to group up and support for mini business owners.

It offers a measurement for labor to prevention for status connected a tax-deferred basis while besides requiring employers to make contributions connected behalf of their employees.

Benefits of nan SIMPLE IRA vs 401k

One of nan main benefits of a SIMPLE IRA is that it is easy for mini business owners to group up and maintain.

Unlike a 401(k) plan, which tin beryllium analyzable and costly to administer, a SIMPLE IRA tin beryllium established by immoderate employer pinch 100 aliases less employees.

Additionally, nan scheme requires minimal paperwork and has comparatively debased administrative costs.

Benefits of nan SIMPLE IRA

Another cardinal use of a SIMPLE IRA is that it allows labor to make contributions to nan scheme connected a pre-tax basis. This intends that nan money labor lend to nan scheme is not taxable to income taxes until it is withdrawn successful retirement.

This tin thief labor prevention money connected their taxes successful nan short word while besides allowing them to prevention for status successful nan agelong term.

Employers are besides required to make contributions to a SIMPLE IRA connected behalf of their employees.

The employer must either lucifer worker contributions dollar for dollar up to 3% of compensation aliases make a non-elective publication of 2% of compensation for each eligible employees.

This tin beryllium a awesome inducement for labor to prevention for status and a measurement for mini business owners to pull and clasp talented employees.

Employer EligibilityAny employer pinch 100 aliases less labor who earned astatine slightest $5,000 successful nan erstwhile twelvemonth tin found a SIMPLE IRA.
Employee EligibilityEmployees who received astatine slightest $5,000 successful compensation from nan employer during immoderate 2 preceding almanac years and who are expected to gain astatine slightest $5,000 successful nan existent twelvemonth are eligible to participate successful a SIMPLE IRA plan.
Contribution LimitsFor 2024, labor tin lend up to $16,000 to a SIMPLE IRA plan. If nan worker is 50 aliases older, they tin make an further catch-up publication of up to $3,500. Employers must make either a matching publication of up to 3% of nan employee’s compensation aliases a non-elective publication of 2% of nan employee’s compensation.
VestingEmployee contributions are ever 100% vested. However, employer contributions whitethorn beryllium taxable to a vesting schedule, which intends that labor whitethorn person to activity for a definite play earlier they are entitled to nan afloat magnitude of nan employer’s contribution.
WithdrawalsWithdrawals from a SIMPLE IRA are mostly taxable to income taxation and a 10% punishment if taken earlier property 59 ½. However, location are exceptions to this penalty, specified arsenic for first-time location purchases aliases definite aesculapian expenses.
RolloversSIMPLE IRA costs tin beryllium rolled complete into different SIMPLE IRA, a Traditional IRA, aliases a Qualified Employer Plan (QEP). However, location are definite restrictions and taxation implications to see erstwhile rolling complete funds.

7 Things You Should Know About nan SIMPLE IRA

1.  Your Employer’s Contributions Are 100% Vested

With astir 401(k)s, you must activity for nan employer for a definite number of years to beryllium vested.  This intends if you were to time off that employer, you could return that employer’s matching publication pinch you. 

But pinch nan 401(k), you person anyplace from 3 to 5 years earlier you’ve satisfied nan 401(k) vesting schedule, which is different pinch SIMPLE IRA.

With nan SIMPLE IRA, you are 100% vested whenever nan employer deposits that into your account.

This is decidedly a immense quality from nan 401(k). Both you and immoderate labor you person bask contiguous vesting, not only of your ain contributions to nan scheme but besides of matching contributions connected nan employer side.

2. Employers Have to Match successful a SIMPLE IRA

Each year, nan employer is required to make a publication to your SIMPLE IRA account, whether it beryllium successful nan shape of a lucifer aliases what’s called a non-elected contribution.  Matching publication states that nan employer has to lucifer astatine slightest what you match. 

So, if you’re matching 3%, nan employer has to lucifer 3% arsenic well.  Note that 3% is nan astir that nan employer has to match, which could beryllium considerably different than compared to a 401(k).

The employer does person nan action to trim nan matching magnitude to 1% for 2 of a five-year period.  What that intends is that if nan employer does do this, they person to lucifer nan afloat 3% for nan remaining 3 of those 5 years. 

The calculation tin beryllium a small tricky, but cognize that your employer is matching nary matter what.

If nan employer chooses not to match, they whitethorn make a “non-elect contribution”. That intends they will lend 2% of your salary.  Even if you are contributing 3% of your salary, they will only lend 2%.

3. Employees Control nan Investments

With astir 401(k)s, you are constricted to nan finance options that your employer provides you.  This is considerably different erstwhile compared to nan SIMPLE IRA.  Being a self-employed status plan, nan SIMPLE IRA gives you nan discretion of what precisely you want your money invested into. 

If you want to bargain individual stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, aliases CDs, you are allowed.  This is nan aforesaid characteristic that a SEP IRA offers.

The finance power facet plays retired successful 2 ways:

  • Employee Choice of Investment Trustee. You tin designate nan scheme truthful that nan worker chooses his aliases her ain financial institution to clasp nan plan. That not only gives a greater prime to nan employees, but it besides relieves you, arsenic nan employer, of nan load of managing nan full scheme for everyone.
  • Self-Directed Investing. Participants not only take nan financial institution, but they are besides free to prosecute successful do-it-yourself investing. That intends they tin take really nan money is invested, wherever it’s invested, arsenic good arsenic nan level of consequence that they are consenting to assume.

4. Employees Can Contribute 100% Of Their Income to a SIMPLE IRA

You are allowed to lend up to $16,000 successful 2024, up from $15,000 successful 2023, per twelvemonth successful a SIMPLE IRA.  If you’re complete nan property of 50, you’re allowed a catch-up contribution, which accrued to $3,500. 

Please statement that nan $16,000 (or $19,500) is acold little than nan magnitude that you are eligible to lend to a 401(k).

Nor is it arsenic precocious arsenic nan (up to) $69,000 that you could lend to either a SEP IRA aliases a Solo 401(k).

But nan SIMPLE IRA publication limit is much than 2 times arsenic precocious arsenic nan publication limit for a traditional aliases Roth IRA. And nan publication limit for group 50 aliases older is almost 2 ½ times higher than nan $8,000 limit for accepted and Roth IRAs.

The 100% characteristic of nan SIMPLE IRA intends that nan worker tin lend virtually each of their income to nan plan, up to nan maximum contribution.

That intends that if an worker earns $30,000, they tin lend nan first $16,000 of their income into nan scheme (or $19,500 if they’re 50 aliases older). There is nary percent limitation connected nan contribution, only nan dollar amount.

Yes, it’s existent that you tin lend much to different plans, for illustration nan SEP-IRA aliases nan Solo 401(k). However, your business will person to person a comparatively precocious income to scope those levels since some are percentage-based.

But if your self-employment income is little than $100,000 per year, you mightiness find nan simplicity of nan SIMPLE IRA to beryllium nan amended prime for your business.

For example, SIMPLE IRAs don’t require filing typical reports pinch nan IRS. They besides aren’t taxable to favoritism and top-heavy testing. It’s much of a group IRA than thing else. And for a mini business, simplicity is simply a definite advantage.

5. SIMPLE IRAs Do Not Allow Loans

A batch of 401(k)s person indebtedness provisions that let nan worker to get against their money if request be.  With SIMPLE IRAs, this is not nan case.  Keep that successful mind if you’re reasoning that this mightiness beryllium a past edifice spot to tie money out.

The logic this is existent is that a SIMPLE IRA is, first and foremost, an IRA. And conscionable arsenic you cannot get money from a accepted aliases a Roth IRA, you besides can’t get from a SIMPLE IRA.

That’s astir apt not a bad thing, either. The astir important usability of immoderate status scheme is to springiness you nan expertise to create a tax-sheltered finance portfolio for your retirement.

Since you won’t beryllium capable to get against a SIMPLE IRA, you’ll beryllium forced to support nan scheme for its superior intended purpose.

6. The SIMPLE IRA Two-Year Rule

This is thing that should decidedly beryllium noted wrong nan SIMPLE IRA.  Most status plans — 401(k)s, regular IRAs, Roth IRAs, etc. — person a 10% early withdrawal punishment if nether nan property of 59.5.  But pinch nan SIMPLE IRA, it takes it 1 measurement further.

If nan SIMPLE IRA that you’ve started is little than 2 years and you rate it out, alternatively of nan normal 10% penalty, you will beryllium taxable to a 25% penalty successful summation to mean income tax.

Do not place this.  Keep successful mind that doesn’t use to conscionable cashing it out.  If you were attempting to rollover your SIMPLE IRA into a rollover IRA, nan 25% punishment would use arsenic well.  Remember to conscionable hold nan 2 years earlier converting into either a regular IRA aliases cashing it out.

7. The 2024 Contributions Have Increase

The publication limit for 2024 accrued to $16,000. The catch-up publication limit besides accrued to $3,500. That intends that personification who turns 50 successful nan twelvemonth 2023 aliases 2024 and has entree to a SIMPLE IRA tin lend a full of $19,500.

7 Things You Should Know About nan SIMPLE IRA

1. VestingEmployer Contributions Are 100% Vested Immediately
Contrast With 401(k)s With 3-5 Year Vesting
2. Employer MatchingMandatory Yearly Contribution
Matches Up to 3% aliases Opts for 2% Non-Elect Contribution
3. Investment ControlEmployees Decide Investment Choices (Stocks, Mutual Funds, ETFs, CDs)
Enables Self-Directed Investing
4. Contribution Limits$16,000 for 2024
Extra $3,500 for Those Over 50
Up to 100% of Income, With Caps
5. Loan ProvisionsNo Loans Allowed
Ensures Primary Use Is Retirement Savings
6. Two-Year Rule25% Penalty for Early Withdrawal Within First Two Years, Higher Than Standard
10% Applies to Both Cash-Outs and Rollovers
7. 2024 ContributionLimit: $16,000
Catch-Up for Those 50 aliases Older: $3,500

Setting Up a SIMPLE IRA and Maintaining Filing Requirements

Setting up a SIMPLE IRA is only a small spot much analyzable than mounting up a accepted aliases Roth IRA. You commencement by selecting a financial institution (which we’ll screen below) and past pursuing 3 steps:

  1. Execute a written statement to supply benefits to each eligible employees
  2. Give labor definite accusation astir nan agreement
  3. Set up an IRA relationship for each employee

The written statement tin beryllium completed utilizing IRS Form 5304-SIMPLE aliases IRS Form 5305-SIMPLE. (5304 is utilized if each subordinate will take their ain financial institution. A 5305 is utilized if you will designate nan financial institution for nan full plan).

Neither shape is required to beryllium revenge pinch nan IRS, but you should support a completed transcript of nan shape connected file, including each applicable signatures. You could besides usage a pro forma provided by nan financial institution that you will beryllium utilizing to clasp nan plan. It will execute nan aforesaid purpose.

You’ll request to supply an yearly announcement to eligible labor astatine nan opening of nan predetermination play (or supply each pinch a transcript of either nan completed 5304 aliases 5305 form). That will notify each worker of nan following:

  1. The employee’s opportunity to make aliases alteration a net simplification prime nether nan SIMPLE IRA plan;
  2. The employees’ expertise to prime a financial institution that will service arsenic trustee of employees’ SIMPLE IRA, if applicable;
  3. Your determination to make either matching contributions aliases nonelective contributions;
  4. A summary explanation (the financial institution should supply this information); and
  5. Written announcement that nan worker tin transportation his aliases her equilibrium without costs aliases punishment if you are utilizing a designated financial institution.

The scheme must beryllium group up by aliases for each eligible employee, and each contributions to nan scheme must spell into it. The scheme must beryllium established betwixt January 1 done October 1 of nan year. Unfortunately, a SIMPLE IRA cannot person a Roth provision, arsenic would beryllium imaginable pinch a 401(k) plan.

Pros and Cons of a Simple IRA

If you’re considering a SIMPLE IRA for your business, here’s a breakdown of nan pros and cons of mounting it up versus different status plan:

Easy to Set Up and Maintain for Small Business OwnersLimited Investment Options, Compared to Other Types of Retirement Plans Like 401(k)s
Allows Employees to Make Contributions to nan Plan connected a Pre-tax BasisEmployer Contributions Are Mandatory, Which Can Be Costly for Small Business Owners
Employers Are Required to Make Contributions to nan Plan connected Behalf of Their EmployeesLower Contribution Limits Compared to Other Types of Retirement Plans Like 401(k)s and Traditional IRAs
Lower Administrative Costs Compared to Other Types of Retirement Plans Like 401(k)sEligibility Is Limited to Employers With 100 aliases Fewer Employees
No Income Limits connected Contributions aliases connected Tax Deductions for ContributionsEmployer Matching Contributions Are Not arsenic Flexible arsenic Other Plans Like 401(k)s

Where Can I Open a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA tin beryllium opened done a wide number of imaginable trustees. These tin see banks, investment brokerage firms, communal money families, and managed finance relationship brokers. The process is easy and comparable to opening up either a accepted aliases a Roth IRA.

For immoderate reason, location are less finance brokerage firms that judge SIMPLE IRA plans than different types of IRAs, for illustration traditional, Roth, rollover, and moreover SEP plans. Below are 2 finance brokers that we person reviewed (or used) and urge arsenic a trustee for your plan.

TD Ameritrade

We’ve done a afloat reappraisal of TD Ameritrade and urge it arsenic a bully trustee for a SIMPLE IRA plan. Like galore different ample brokers, they’ve eliminated trading fees connected stocks, exchange-traded costs (ETFs), and options.

And they person a beardown IRA capacity successful general. They’re a diversified broker, offering stocks, options, communal funds, ETFs, futures, Forex, bonds, and moreover certificates of deposit.

Not only do they person fantabulous customer service, but they besides person much than 100 branches located nationwide, successful lawsuit you for illustration face-to-face contact.

They besides person a Retirement Calculator instrumentality that analyzes your individual information, goals, income, assets, and risk tolerance and past shows you really to scope your goals, arsenic good arsenic way your progress.

They besides connection much than 100 ETFs that you tin waste and acquisition for free. All around, TD Ameritrade is an fantabulous level to big a SIMPLE IRA scheme aliases immoderate different type of IRA account.


We’ve besides reviewed E*TRADE, and successful doing so, we’ve rated it arsenic nan champion finance level for progressive traders. The level offers free independent research, streaming real-time quotes, customizable readying devices everything that you request for do-it-yourself investing.

At $0 per trade, they’re 1 of nan champion successful nan manufacture connected pricing. But they besides connection much than 2,700 no-load, nary transaction interest communal funds. And since they connection virtually each different type of finance aliases status plan, you tin usage E*TRADE to clasp each of your accounts pinch 1 brokerage.

E*TRADE is good recognized successful respect to customer service, which tin beryllium reached by telephone 24 hours a day. They besides connection arsenic overmuch aliases arsenic small relationship assistance arsenic you need.

And if you want a afloat managed account, E*TRADE offers that done their E*TRADE Capital Management arm. That will moreover alteration you to person your SIMPLE IRA scheme divided betwixt a self-directed information and a professionally managed portion.

The Bottom Line connected nan SIMPLE IRA

The SIMPLE IRA tin beryllium a awesome action for mini business owners and their employees. It offers an easy and low-cost measurement for labor to prevention for status connected a tax-deferred ground while besides requiring employers to make contributions connected behalf of their employees.

If you are a mini business proprietor aliases an employee, it’s worthy considering a Simple IRA arsenic portion of your retirement savings strategy.