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What Is a Solo 401(k)?

You need to look into the solo 401(k) if you’re self-employed and wish to save for retirement, or even if you just want a tax break. This may be one of the best retirement options for one-person businesses since you can accumulate money quickly.

a freelancer in Bronx, NewYork ask tax services for Solo 401(k)

It comes with all the benefits of a large employer-sponsored 401(k) plan – tax breaks for savings, tax-deferred or tax-free growth, and a generous maximum contribution – but you can use it even if you have a small business. However, a solo 401(k) can be even better since you can open a plan at a broker of your choice and not be restricted by the types of investments that are permitted under a typical 401(k) plan.

The solo 401(k) may be better for you than self-employed retirement plans such as the SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA. Our tax professionals have gathered this guide to tell you about the benefits of 401(k). If you need any tax help or have questions about 401(k), contact our tax office. Here’s what you should know about this plan:


What is a Solo 401(k) Plan?

401(k) solo plans are 401(k) qualified retirement plans for self-employed individuals and small business owners with no full-time employees, excluding spouses and partners. This 401(k) plan encourages individuals to save for retirement in a tax-advantaged environment similar to a traditional 401(k). Contributions to the Solo 401(k) are tax-deferred until qualified distributions are taken by the participant.

Solo 401(k)s follow the same rules and requirements as traditional employer-sponsored 401(k)s. However, Solo 401(k) participants can contribute to the plan both as an employee and as employers, which increases the yearly contribution limit.

401(k)s, also known as self-employed 401(k)s or individual 401(k)s, can be used even if the individual generates a portion of their total income through self-employment activities such as freelancing. Bronx tax services is ready to help with any questions about retirement plans; all you need to do is contact our tax office, so one of our tax professionals will start working with you.


Who is eligible for a solo 401(k)?

Self-employed individuals are eligible for Solo 401(k) plans. Employers looking for a retirement plan also have other options available to them, such as SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs, both of which provide tax-advantaged benefits to their employees. A lesser-known program called SIMPLE 401(k) allows businesses to set up retirement plans.

In general, solo 401(k) plans are intended for one-person businesses, but there is one exception. Spouses of business owners can participate as well. If your spouse is included in the plan, your small business really can accumulate cash for retirement. If a couple qualifies, they can save up to $114,000 annually in the plan and even more if they are eligible for catch-up contributions.


What are the contribution levels of a Solo 401(k)?

In 2021 and 2022, the solo 401(k) contribution limit will be $58,000 and $61,000, respectively. The catch-up contribution is $6,500 for those 50 and older.

If you want to understand solo 401(k) contribution rules, you need to think of yourself as two different people: an employer (of yourself) and an employee (also of yourself). Within the overall contribution limits of $58,000 in 2021 and $61,000 in 2022, each role has its own contribution limits:

Employees can contribute up to $19,500 in 2021 and $20,500 in 2022, or 100% of their compensation, whichever is less. Those 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,500 here.

Profit-sharing contributions may be made by the employer at a maximum of 25% of your compensation or your net self-employment income, which is your net profit less than half your self-employment tax and the contributions you made. The maximum compensation that can be used to calculate your contribution is $290,000 in 2021 and $305,000 in 2022.

If you’re side-hustling, keep in mind that 401(k) limits are determined by the individual, not the plan. Therefore, if you also participate in a 401(k) at your day job, the limit applies to all plans, not just to the one you participate in. 

We know this is complicated, and we fully understand that you’d want to get all the tax help you need. That’s why SCL tax Services In & Near Bronx, NY, is ready to answer all your questions. 


Solo 401(k) vs. SEP IRA

Business owners without employees (aside from their spouses) usually choose between a solo 401(k) and a Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP-IRA). While both plans offer the self-employed a tax-advantaged way to invest for retirement, the solo 401(k) is a better option for a few reasons:


  • With a solo 401(k), you may be able to save more. SEP IRA contributions are limited to 25% of your net adjusted self-employed income, up to a maximum of $58,000 in 2021 and $61,000 in 2022. If you earn a substantial income from your business, you may be able to save more through a solo 401(k). Solo 401(k)s allow both employer and employee contributions. As an employee, you may contribute up to 100% of your net adjusted income in 2021 ($20,500 in 2022), whichever is less. As an employer, your contribution can be up to 25% of your net self-employed income. In addition, individuals 50 and older can make catch-up contributions of $6,500 each year.


  • Roth solo 401(k)s are available. Roth solo 401(k)s allow you to make tax-free withdrawals in retirement. SEP IRAs currently only allow pre-tax contributions and cannot be converted to Roth accounts.


  • Older savers can catch up on their contributions. If you are under 50, you can contribute an all-in maximum of $58,000 in 2021 ($61,000 in 2022) to a solo 401(k) or a SEP IRA, regardless of whether you are an employer or an employee. However, if you’re 50 or older, a solo 401(k) allows you to contribute an additional $6,500 as an employee. SEP IRAs can only be funded with employer contributions, so catch-up contributions are not permitted.


Find out which of these retirement plans is a better option by getting in touch with our tax office and talking with our tax professionals

a freelancer considering Solo 401 (k) In 7 Near Bronx, NY

Is Solo 401(k) tax-deductible? 

401(k)s are nice because you can pick your tax advantage. You can choose the traditional 401(k), which reduces your income in the year you make the contributions. As a result, distributions in retirement will be taxed as ordinary income. As an alternative, you can set up a Roth solo 401(k), which doesn’t offer an initial tax break but allows you to take distributions tax-free during retirement.

Roths are a better option if you expect to earn more in retirement. You can take advantage of a 401(k) tax break now if you think your income will drop in retirement.

In order to take advantage of these tax benefits, the IRS has fairly strict rules about when you can withdraw funds from either kind of account: With few exceptions, you’ll pay taxes and penalties on distributions made before age 59 ½.


Need Tax Help In & Near Bronx, NY?

Choosing the right retirement plan for your small business can be pretty complicated. That’s where SCL tax Services In & Near Bronx, NY comes to the rescue. Our tax professionals know the ins and outs of tax laws and will guide you through the process to find the retirement plan that works best for you. Contact Bronx tax services to start your tax journey. Call now at 347-305-4348!

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