2016 SEP IRA Contribution Maximums & 2015 Limits

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SEP IRA contribution limits for 2015 are changing. SEP’s are Simplified Employee Pension (plans).  You can benefit from a SEP IRA if you own a small business or are self-employed.  The federal government rules let you use an SEP plan as an easy way to contribute to your employees’ retirement savings or your own retirement.

The SEP IRA account has many, many benefits for the self employed looking to save for retirement.  They include high deduction limits, flexibility in administration, high income through tax deferred growth, and complete flexibility in contribution limits.  To find out more, talk to a qualified retirement specialist. This article covers the maximum IRA limits on these accounts.

New SEP Rules for 2016: In 2016, the maximum you can contribute to an eligible SEP IRA was set at either fifty-three thousand dollars, or twenty-five percent of the employee’s salary, whichever was smaller. So for an employee who is compensated one hundred thousand dollars, the maximum SEP contribution was twenty-five thousand. Only the first two hundred and sixty five thousand dollars of an employee’s compensation could be considered when making this calculation.

Also in 2016, the first two hundred and sixty five thousand dollars of an employees compensation may be considered, and increase of five thousand dollars over the 2015 levels.

For the 2015 tax year, the IRS limited your contribution to just fifty-two thousand dollars, or twenty-five percent of the employee’s salary, whichever was the smaller. These limits are subject to future cost-of-living adjustments as the years go by.

It’s important to note these are employer limits, and don’t apply to the employees (participants) themselves. As an employee, if your SEP IRA allows for non-SEP contributions, then you can make tax-deductible contributions up to your maximum IRA limit – generally five or six thousand dollars, depending on your age.

Typically, SEP IRA accounts are established by businesses with only a single employee, the owner.  This means a sole proprietorship or a corporation with only a single owner/worker.  The flexibility of the rules allows you to set it up this way.

SEP IRA Rules for the Self-Employed. If the salary from your business comes in the form of a W-2, your SEP IRA contribution is limited to the standards above. But what are the contribution limits for non W-2 (personal) income? In these situations, the same limits apply, but the IRS sets special guidelines to determine out the maximum contribution. See the worksheet in chapter 5 of IRS publication 560 for an explanation.

These contributions are for the most part completely tax deductible by the IRS.  Additionally, any investment earnings that grow can be deferred on your income tax.  These are some of the highest maximums for any type of individual retirement account in the United States.  Much better than say, the contribution limits for a Roth account. Generally, there is a high degree of freedom with these types of accounts, both in how you choose to administer the account and how much you choose to contribute.

There are no catch-up provisions provided for SEP IRAs.

SEP IRA Contribution Deadlines. The deadline for SEP contributions for employers is the same as the date it’s taxes are due for the year. Extensions apply!

The exact rules for setting up and governing a SEP account in 2015 and 2016 are much more complex than a regular IRA. And the penalty for making a mistake when opening your IRA can be high.For more information on establishing a SEP account for your business, read the IRS publication for more specific instructions.

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