Should your business add Roth contributions to its 401(k)?

Offering employees a retirement plan is a great incentive for retaining employees and for recruiting new ones. If you don’t already offer a plan for your employees, an available tax credit may make it something worth considering. If your business does sponsor a 401(k) plan, you might someday consider adding designated Roth contributions. Here are some factors to explore when deciding whether such a feature would make sense for your company and its employees.

Key differences

Roth contributions differ from other elective deferrals in two key tax respects. First, they’re irrevocably designated to be made on an after-tax basis, rather than pretax. Second, if all applicable requirements are met and the distribution constitutes a “qualified distribution,” the earnings won’t be subject to federal income tax when distributed.

To be qualified, a distribution generally must occur after a five-year waiting period, as well as after the participant reaches age 59½, becomes disabled or dies. Because of the different tax treatment, plans must maintain separate accounts for designated Roth contributions.

Pluses and minuses

The Roth option gives participants an opportunity to hedge against the possibility that their income tax rates will be higher in retirement. However, if tax rates fall or participants are in lower tax brackets during retirement, Roth contributions may provide less after-tax retirement income than comparable pretax contributions. The result could also be worse than that of ordinary elective deferrals if Roth amounts aren’t held long enough to make distributions tax-free.

Nonetheless, if your business employs a substantial number of relatively highly paid employees, a Roth 401(k) component may be well-appreciated. This is because participants can make much larger designated Roth 401(k) contributions than they can for a Roth IRA — in 2020 and 2021, $19,500 for designated Roth 401(k) versus $6,000 for Roth IRA.

Catch-up contributions for individuals 50 or older are also considerably higher for designated Roth 401(k) contributions — in 2020 and 2021, $6,500 for designated Roth 401(k)s versus $1,000 for Roth IRAs. And higher-paid participants who are ineligible to make Roth IRA contributions because of the income cap on eligibility could make designated Roth contributions to your plan.

Yet participants will need to know what they’re getting into. They’ll have to consider:

  • Current and future tax rates,
  • Various investment alternatives,
  • The risk of needing a distribution before they qualify for tax-free treatment of earnings (which would trigger taxation of those earnings), and
  • Loss of some rollover options.

For plan sponsors, the separate accounting required for Roth contributions may raise plan costs and increase the risk of error. (One common mistake: treating elected contributions as pretax when the participant elected Roth contributions, or vice versa.)

And because Roth contributions are treated as elective deferrals for other purposes — including nondiscrimination requirements, vesting rules and distribution restrictions — plan administration and communication will be more complex.

Not for everyone

Before adding Roth contributions to your 401(k), be sure participants are adequately engaged and savvy, and will derive enough benefit, to make it worth the risks and burdens. We can assist you in deciding whether this would be an appropriate move for your business.

Deanna A. Olton, CPA, is a Co-Director of our Business & Tax Advisory Group. She can be reached at dao@antarescpas.com.

Recent Articles:

Follow Antares CPAs:

Succession & Transition Strategies

Creating a successful succession plan is about protecting the future of a business and/or brand and ensuring there is a strategy in place to ensure your business continues to thrive.

After years of investing time, money and other resources, it’s imperative to prepare for this next stage in business and life. Poor planning can increase risks for stakeholders and tarnish legacies. Let’s make sure the next generation is well-equipped and ready to take your life’s work and family legacy to an even greater level of success.

Each situation is unique because the needs of each one involved are unique. We carefully review each opportunity to determine how best to structure a transition while meeting your goals, complying with any brand licensing polices and minimizing the tax implications of the transfer.

  • Next generation succession planning
  • Retirement planning
  • Wealth management

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Technology Services

Antares Group’s technology team provides convenient hardware and software support, along with comprehensive cloud accounting services with 24/7 access to up-to-date financial information exactly the way you want it, on any connected device, with a customizable dashboard interface. We use best-in class cloud accounting platforms and software including Sage Intacct, Bill.com and robot process automation (RPA) with integration capabilities with some of the leading point-of-sale, payroll, and business operations management software programs.

Cloud accounting is just the beginning; Antares Group’s experienced technology team also performs system evaluations and makes recommendations for products and services that will help your business run more efficiently, as well as protecting your information and infrastructure with robust security options. Using the right technology for automation will simplify your life and keep your valuable data safe..

  • Technology and security optimization
  • Complete cloud accounting services
  • Computer troubleshooting assistance with remote and onsite repair

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Business Planning & Valuation

An accurate understanding of your company’s current value and financial viability is vital for achieving business success and the launch pad to boundless possibilities in the years to come. Realistic valuations are essential for long-term strategic plans, business successions and expansions, gift and estate planning, and a lucrative retirement package. Planning for where you want to go in the future is what our business and tax advisors do best. Whatever your goals, we are here to provide you with the right plan and insightful guidance to achieve it.

  • Trend reporting and analysis and business valuation
  • General business and start-up consulting
  • Major reinvestment planning
  • Cash flow projections

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Back Office Solutions

In such a fast-moving business environment, business owners need every advantage to succeed. Improving efficiency should be an ongoing part of your strategy for financial success, empowering you to make continuous improvements.

Whether your business is a single location seeking to grow effectively and sustainably, an established franchise brand adding new locations, or something in between, Antares Group provides a suite of back office services and the financial expertise to help business owners and managers achieve their operational and financial goals. In the process of supporting your essential back office operations with practical solutions, we analyze the function and effectiveness, looking for inefficiencies and potential liabilities, offering valuable insights for owners and managers.

  • Daily deposit verification and online banking monitoring
  • Process invoices and code general ledger accounts
  • Process vendor payments and file 1099s
  • Prepare and file sales and use tax returns
  • Reconcile bank, credit card and cashless sales accounts

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Tax Advisory

Minimizing your tax burden is a year-round strategy; planning for and preparing complex business and individual tax returns is where Antares Group excels. Beyond simply helping you fulfill basic tax obligations, you can rely on our tax advisory team to keep you informed of ever-changing regulations and keep you in compliance. We conduct regular reviews to make sure all methods of reducing your tax liabilities are being used. We routinely assess your personal income tax situation and cash flow to guard against the unexpected. This ongoing strategic analysis empowers you to maximize tax savings and capitalize on new opportunities.

In addition, we provide advisory services for new business startups, acquisitions, and dispositions. Through careful analysis, we help clients determine the best structure and make the process as seamless as possible.

  • Business and individual year-end tax returns
  • Personal property, gift, and trust income tax returns
  • Fixed asset setup and maintenance
  • Annual tax planning and preparation

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com

Cloud Accounting

Whether you run a small closely held business or a large franchise operation, maintaining a firm grasp of accounting and bookkeeping can be challenging. Between managing staff and overseeing daily operations, there is not enough time to dig into the books and make sense of the financials. You need to know the facts and the implications. – having precise, up-to-date information at hand means you always know your financial position so you can make informed decisions that keep your business moving forward.

The financial experts at Antares can create a custom menu of accounting and tax services perfectly catered to your business needs, including accurate and timely financial statements and reports, so you are always prepared to respond quickly to changing and challenging circumstances. Along the way, we provide clear feedback and financial guidance to help you predict trends and recognize issues, then make the necessary adjustments to sustain cash flow throughout the year.

  • Timely preparation of financial statements based on your particular needs
  • Complete preparation of sales, payroll, inventory, accrual, and prepaid journal entries
  • Meticulous monthly bank and credit card reconciliations

Let's get started.

Call us at 770.785.7855 Or email hello@antaresgroupcpas.com