Frequently Asked Questions

Top Asked Questions

How do I enroll in my company’s 401(k) plan?

The easiest way to enroll is online. Click on the Enroll button at the top of the website and follow the prompts to enroll in your company’s plan. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, social security number and employment information before you are able to select your contributions.

After you enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan, you will also need to register for online access to your account. You can do this by clicking the Login button at the top of and following the prompts to set up your login credentials. Once complete, you can access your account through our website and mobile app.

How do I sign up for online account access?

In order to sign up for online access to your account, you must first enroll in your company’s 401(k) plan. If you have not previously enrolled, please enroll here and follow the prompts to complete your enrollment.

Once enrolled, log in here and follow the prompts to set up your login credentials. Once both processes are complete, you can access your account through our website and mobile app.

If you are an employer or plan sponsor, below are login pages:

What do I do if I forget my password?

To reset your password, click on the Forgot Password link on the login screen to reset your password.

How do I access plan information?

If you are looking for general information, log in to your online account here.

  • Click on MyPortal
  • Select Forms
  • The Summary Plan Description document contains all details of your plan, including fee disclosures, employer match information and more.

Are you looking for a 1099-R form? It is also available for download in the Form section mentioned above. Please remember, 1099-R forms will only be available if you took a distribution or loan from your 401(k) during the tax year.

How do I apply for a distribution?

To apply for a distribution, follow the instructions in this video.

Do I qualify for a hardship distribution?

In order to qualify for a hardship distribution, the IRS requires that you meet one of the following conditions:

  • Unpaid medical expenses within the past 12 months
  • Purchase of a primary residence
  • Tuition expenses
  • Eviction or foreclosure
  • Funeral expenses
  • Expenses incurred from a FEMA declared disaster
  • Expenses related to damage to your principal residence

If any of those conditions apply to you, follow these instructions to apply:

Please be aware that hardship requests take 10-15 business days for processing and additional 1-3 business days to receive the funds electronically, or 7-10  business days to receive the funds via standard mail. Overnight mailing is available for an additional fee and is subject to a one-day delay if the distribution is a large amount.

How do I apply for a loan from my 401(k)?

In order to be eligible to take a loan, you must be currently employed by the company who your 401(k) account is with. If you are, please follow these steps to apply for a loan:

Please be aware that loan requests take 10-15 business days for processing and additional 1-3 business days to receive the funds electronically, or 7-10 business days to receive the funds via standard mail. Overnight mailing is available for an additional fee and is subject to a one-day delay if the distribution is a large amount.

How do I rollover an old 401(k) into my account at Slavic401k?

If have an old 401(k) from a company you are no longer employed with and wish to roll it in to your current 401(k) account with us, please follow these steps:

  1. Initiate the rollover with your previous institution.
  2. Make checks payable to Depository Services and include your employer and the last four digits of your social security number in the memo line.
  3. Mail the check to:

    Slavic Integrated Administration
    Attn: Rollovers
    1075 Broken Sound Parkway NW
    Suite 100
    Boca Raton, FL 33487-3540 
  4. Log in to your Slavic401k account
  5. Click on My Portal in the navigation
  6. Click on Forms in the left sidebar
  7. Download the Rollover Into Slavic form
  8. Fill out the form and mail, email or fax it back to use using the information below:

    Slavic Integrated Administration
    Attn: Rollovers
    1075 Broken Sound Parkway NW
    Suite 100
    Boca Raton, FL 33487-3540

Email: [email protected]
Fax: (561) 241-1070

Once received, please allow 7-10 business days for processing to complete. You may verify processing has completed by viewing Transaction History underneath the Manage heading within your online account.

I am locked out of my account. How do I regain access?

If you have forgotten your password or username, you can reset both here. If you are locked out of your account, please call us at (800) 356-3009.


How do I know my account information is secure?

The account information and transaction areas use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to ensure that your account information is not accessible to others. You are also required to use a multifactor authentication personal identification number (PIN) to access your specific account information.

Why is multifactor authentication necessary?

We require multifactor authentication for all Slavic401k accounts. Multifactor authentication is one of the security measures we use to help ensure your money and account stay safe from cyber criminals and unwanted access by anyone other than yourself.

How does multifactor authentication work?

When you sign up for online access to your 401(k) account, you are required to provide a mobile phone number. When you login, we send a text message containing a unique confirmation code to your phone, as a secondary layer of protection for your account should an unauthorized person gain access to your login credentials. Once you type in the confirmation code, you will be able to access your account.

Currently, multifactor authorization requires that you provide a mobile phone number and cannot use your email address as a second layer of authentication.


Can I take money out of the plan if I am no longer participating?

IRS regulations prevent taking a distribution if the private employer organization or your participating employer still employs you. Once you terminate your employment, and separate from both your employer and payroll company/plan sponsor/PEO, you may withdraw your vested balance.

Can I withdraw money from my account while I am still working?

There are several options for withdrawals while you are still employed. The list below provides a description for each.


Taking out a loan simply means borrowing money from your 401(k). You pay yourself back, with interest (based on the current interest rate). Loan payments are taken directly out of your paycheck. The maximum that you can borrow from your 401(k) is 50% of your vested balance, up to $50,000. The minimum that you can borrow is $1000, which requires a vested balance of at least $2000. If you should terminate your employment, you have 60 days to payoff loan. If you fail to pay back the loan, the outstanding loan balance will be subject to current income taxes as well as a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Taking out a loan from your 401(k) does not require a credit check.


If you cannot take out a loan, you may qualify for financial hardship. Proof of hardship occurring in the past 12 months and the amount owed are required. Once a hardship withdrawal is approved, your normal retirement contributions are stopped for six months. It is your responsibility to start contributions again. When it comes to this type of withdrawal, you are only eligible to withdraw from contributions you have made to your 401(k) (EE deferrals), not your employer’s match.

According to the IRS, a hardship withdrawal is permitted for the following reasons:

  • Medical expenses not covered by insurance for the participant, the participant’s spouse the participant’s dependents or the participant’s primary beneficiary.>
  • Costs directly related to the purchase of a principal residence (not including mortgage payments) for the participant. A renovation or remodeling is not a sufficient reason for this requirement. The residence may not be for a family member or for a second or vacation home, but must be the primary residence of the participant.
  • Payments for tuition, related educational fees and room and board expenses, for the next 12 months of postsecondary education for the participant, the participant’s spouse, the participant’s children, the participant’s dependents or the participant’s primary beneficiary.
  • Payments to prevent eviction from the participant’s principal residence, or to prevent foreclosure on the mortgage on principal residence.
  • Payments for burial or funeral expenses for the participant’s deceased parent, spouse, children, dependents or the participant’s primary beneficiary.
  • Expenses related to damage to a principal residence that would qualify for a casualty deduction under section 165, without the limitations in section 165(h)(5).
  • Expenses incurred as a result of FEMA declared disaster, provided the participant’s principal place of employment or residence is located in the disaster area.

In-service Distribution

When an active employee reaches age 59 ½ the plan may offer an in‐service withdrawal option of participants elective deferrals and/or employer contributions. The Slavic401k plan document allows for in‐service withdrawal once a month during a plan year (effective January 1, 2019). An employee can withdraw his/her elective deferrals, matching and profit sharing contributions if 100% vested. Employees have an option to do a direct rollover of this withdrawal. If the withdrawal is not directly rolled over, the distribution will be subject to 20% federal income tax (unless the distribution is coming from a Roth 401(k)). No 10% penalty applies.

Unrelated Source Distribution

An unrelated source distribution, often referred to as an unrelated rollover distribution, comes from funds that were rolled over from a previous employer. Participants can request a distribution from these funds at any time. Any distributions taken to yourself will be subject to a mandatory 20% federal income tax (unless they are coming from a Roth portion). You may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you are under the age of 59 ½. If you chose to roll over these funds directly into another 401(k) or IRA, no taxes or penalties apply.

When are trades or changes made?

Exchange orders submitted before 4 p.m. EST and are traded the same day on a best effort basis. Exchange orders submitted by fax, mail, or via internet after 4 p.m. EST will be traded the next business day. The next business day policy is guaranteed only if the mutual fund companies and clearing broker involved settle the trade by the next business day (T+1) or if less than 2,500,000,000 shares are traded on the NASDAQ exchange on the day you place your order or on the day after. If trading volume on the NASDAQ exceeds the limit or the outside parties cannot settle the trade as specified, your order will be processed on a best efforts basis and Slavic401k will not be responsible for the timing, only the accuracy of your trade. This policy is not effective for John Hancock, Lincoln, or Deutsche plans and those participants will continue to make trade requests directly to those companies. The above policy is still subject to the 14 day error notification policy following the mailing of your statement. To receive compensation for any trading error, you must notify Slavic401k in a timely fashion to allow for correction to minimize damages, if any.

Effective immediately, all Vanguard funds, with the exception of the Money Market funds, Short-Term Federal and Short-Term Bond Index, restrict participants from transferring out of a fund and back into the same fund within 30 days.

How are taxes calculated when I take a distribution from my 401(k) account?

If you withdraw money from your 401(k) account before age 59 ½, you must pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to income tax on the distribution. For someone in the 24% tax bracket, a $5,000 early 401(k) withdrawal will cost $1,700 in taxes and penalties.

If you are not taking an early withdrawal, you only pay income taxes on the distribution. The amount of taxes you pay is subject to your individual income tax bracket. View IRS tax brackets here.

What is a net vs. gross distribution?

When you withdraw your balance from a retirement account, a portion of the money is required to be sent to the IRS for taxes on your distribution. This is called tax withholding.

If you are requesting a distribution from your account, you may want to consider how tax withholding will impact the payment you receive.

A net or gross distribution refers to the way that taxes are applied to a payment.

  • Net is the amount of cash remaining after all taxes have been applied.
  • Gross is the amount of cash before any taxes have been applied.

For more information on this topic, please read What is a Net vs. Gross Distribution in our Support Center.

Managing Your Account

How can I download my transactions into my financial planning software?

In order to download your transactions into Quicken:

  1. Log in to your account at:
  2. From the top menu, under Transactions, select Transaction History
  3. On the bottom of the page, click the button marked “Download Transactions to Quicken”
  4. Select a date in the box marked “Include account history from.” This will include data from that date to today.
  5. Click the button marked “Download to Quicken.”

That page also includes further requirements and instructions for downloading the file and importing it into Quicken.

How do I change my investment allocations?

How do I change my investment allocations?

  • Login to your online account at
  • Select Manage Investments under the Manage tab in the upper navigation bar
  • Select Change Elections
  • Allocate the elections you wish to invest in and make sure they all add up to 100%
  • Submit

*Note: this will not change your current assets; this is just for changing where your future contributions will be allocated. If you would also, like your current assets to be moved into your new investment allocation you must select yes on the transfer section*

What is Email Express?

Email Express is a weekly email to receive your 401(k) balance. It also includes helpful blog posts, tips and market commentary to help you reach your retirement goals.

To begin receiving Email Express, please log in to your account and subscribe here.

Is Slavic401k compatible with third-party aggregators that allows you to consolidate your financial information into a single platform?

Not at this time.

Is there a Slavic401k mobile application?

Yes! You can learn more about our app and it’s capabilities here.

Plan Administration

How much money can I put into my 401(k) account?

The maximum pre-tax contribution dollar amount is set by the IRS and adjusted for inflation annually. If you are age 50 or older, you may also make an additional catch-up contribution. View the current IRS contribution limits here.

In addition, there are special non-discrimination rules that apply to the plan. If you are a highly compensated employee, or own more than five percent of the company, contribution caps may apply.

What pre-tax percentage should I invest when I am starting out?

The more you can save the better. You should maximize your company’s match if one is available and contribute as much as you can afford to budget. This will help you take full advantage of the tax deferral.

How do I transfer my 401(k) account with my former employer into my new 401(k) plan?

Log in to your Slavic401k account and download our ‘Rollover into Slavic401k/PlanRight Form’ located on the Forms page. Please fill out the required information and return it to us.

How long will it take for my 401(k) plan to be transferred to Slavic401k?

It typically takes 60-90 days for the transfer to take place. Your account will remain fully invested until the funds are transferred. When the transfer takes place, you will be un-invested for a few days while the accounting and assets are reconciled and invested in the new plan.

What is the difference between a Pre-Tax 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)?

The difference between the two types of investments is when you are taxed. Pre-tax contributions and earnings are taxed when you withdraw it. If you need to withdraw money prior to age 59½ you may incur a 10% withdrawal penalty, in addition to owing current income taxes.

Roth contributions are taxed before they are invested. You do not pay taxes when withdrawing, however, if the Roth account is in place for less than five years, you are not at least 59 ½ when you withdraws the funds, you will pay taxes on any gains.

Both Pre-Tax and Roth contributions are calculated from the gross salary.

**At Slavic401k, we do not offer plans that allow “after-tax” contributions.

What online reports are available for employers and sponsors?

There are many different reports for employers and sponsors online. Whether you need asset, audit, contributions, distributions, employer information or participant information reports, we have dozens available to you within the sponsor portal.  

What is a safe harbor 401(k) plan?

A safe harbor 401(k) plan provides all eligible plan participants with an employer contribution. In exchange, safe harbor plans allow employers to avoid annual IRS non-discrimination testing, which can be costly for employers. Any 401(k) plan can be set up to include a safe harbor contribution. 

We are switching payroll companies. How do we terminate our services with Slavic401k?

Please complete the MEP Exit Policy form and email it to the address listed on the form.

How does the merge out process work?

You will have a specialist assigned to the merge out within 7-10 business days after the date the request is received. A timeline for the merge out will be set and confirmed with the new TPA. The new TPA will send blackout notices. Plan assets are wired four business days after the liquidation date. The entire merge out process takes approximately 60 days to complete.

How do we make changes to our plan?

Please reach out to your assigned Account Representative and they will be happy to help. If you do not have an account representative, please call us at (800) 356-3009 for assistance.

How does the Amendment process work?

Upon notification, Slavic401k will complete an Amendment Checklist. The checklist be converted into an amendment and submitted for compliance review. Once compliance review is complete, we will provide you  with the amendment to sign. Once signed, the amendment will be finalized and executed.

How do we add or remove an authorized contact?

To remove an authorized contact, please call us at (800) 356-3009.

I need help with the employer portal.

Our Plan Sponsor Web Guide will help you understand what is available within the portal.

What documents do I need to set up a 401(k) plan for my business?

Adoption Agreement – this document includes: effective date of the plan, age, and service requirements, matching contribution formula if any, profit sharing allocation formula if any, and vesting schedule.

Safe Harbor Addendum – required only if the company adopts a safe harbor plan design. This document will specify the type of safe harbor contribution for the plan.

Plan Evaluation Survey – includes information about company ownership, lineal relatives, highly compensated employees (HCEs), officers of the company, prior plans sponsored, and ownership of other companies.

Board Resolution – official document indicating the owners/officers of the company are authorizing the adoption of the plan.

401(k) Disclosure Statement – discloses certain information regarding compliance testing, fees, and choices that may be more suitable for the company instead of a 401(k) plan.

Census Information – a list of all active employees is required including their name, date of birth, date of hire, social security number, and annual compensation.

My Contributions

I received my statement and the amount of contributions does not match the amount deducted on my pay stub – why?

Your payroll service transmits your deferral contribution as fast as administratively feasible and there is always a lag between the time it is deducted and when it appears on your cash basis statement. Your payroll service must compile a complete census data file, and reconcile the accounting, in order to submit each contribution. This reconciliation takes time because the file may include thousands of employees of different employers, and must be done without error to ensure plan compliance. Once the funds and the data file are received, it takes Slavic401k one to two business days to process the information and send the trade to the fund companies. The fund companies have up to three business days to settle the trade, after which you will see your contribution on your statement via the web.

Where is the money held if there is a delay in investing it?

As explained in the previous question, the compilation of the required data accompanying the contribution is a lengthy and complex process. Until this process is accomplished, your money remains with the plan sponsor. It cannot be invested until an electronic data file can be compiled and transmitted with the funds; after which the money is sent to a plan trust account at Slavic401k and then forwarded to the fund companies with an electronic trade file. This process usually takes one to two days at Slavic401k and during this period, interest does not accrue to you because trust accounts, by law, do not pay interest, nor does Slavic401k earn any interest on your money or remuneration of any kind. Your 401(k) plan has daily valuations and segregated accounts requiring advanced systems to provide you this information online. Your deferral is tested before it goes to the fund companies to ensure that eligibility is met, vesting is computed, and that you haven’t exceeded certain deferral limits. If the Sponsor could increase the frequency of transmissions, the cost of the plan may go up because more processing time would occur; that is a cost-benefit decision that the plan sponsor determines in establishing the frequency. For these reasons, your deferrals are being invested as cost-effectively and as fast as administratively feasible.

What happens to my 401(k) account balances if I choose to leave or am terminated from the company?

Your distribution options are the same whether you voluntarily leave or are terminated. If your account balance is more than $5,000, you can leave your money in the plan. If you want to take your money with you, your vested account balance can be rolled into another 401(k) plan with your employer or put into an IRA. There are no tax penalties when your 401(k) is rolled over. If you cash out your 401(k), there is a 20% tax and possible 10% penalty. If you have an unpaid loan and request a distribution to yourself, the loan will be deducted from your balance paid out and be subject to a 20% mandatory tax, and possible 10% early withdrawal penalty.

What are the plan contribution limits for 2024?

Below are the contribution limits for retirement plans in 2024 as defined by the IRS:

  • The maximum “annual addition” limit for a defined contribution plan is $69,000 in 2024 (increased from $66,000 in 2023)
  • The elective deferral limit for 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans is $23,000 in 2024 (increased from $22,500 in 2023).
  • Catch-up contributions for employees age 50 and over is $7,500 in 2024 (increased from $7,500 in 2023).
I signed up for my employer’s 401(k) plan. When do my contributions begin?

Your first contribution depends on the following:

  • Meeting eligibility requirements
  • The plan entry requirements (Quarterly, Monthly, Immediate)
  • Completed enrollment form
  • Payroll processing time
How can I calculate my contribution rate?

To calculate how much your contributions will affect your take home pay, you can start by multiplying your pay period income by your contribution rate to know how much money will be contributed to your 401(k) account each pay period.

For example, if your gross pay (the amount before any taxes or benefits deductions) is $1,000 and you contribute 10%, $100 is deducted from your pre-tax paycheck and deposited into your 401(k) account.

The $100 contribution to your 401(k) is deducted from your paycheck pre-tax, so the impact on your take home pay will be less than $100 as those funds are not taxable by the government.

When can I expect my first contribution to show in my online account?

Typically, once your first contribution is deducted from your paycheck, it will take 1-2 weeks to reflect on your account.

The initial contribution filing process is complex, involving multiple parties and hundreds to even thousands of files within the plan. Your payroll company sends all of those files to Slavic401k. Then, our Trading Department tests the files to ensure all participants meet the qualifications of the plan, as well as resolve any errors before posting the initial contribution  to online accounts.


Our old 401(k) plan did not have any fees. Why do we have fees in the new plan?

All 401(k) plans have fees, including your old plan. Usually these fees consist of three parts:

  • Expense ratios of the investment options
  • An asset and administration fee
  • Third Party Administration (TPA) expenses paid directly by the employer

The first two categories of fees are almost always part of the ongoing expenses paid out of the account balances of the plan. Historically, most providers have not completely disclosed these costs to the participants. While it may appear that your old plan had no fees, the fact is they were not disclosed to you. It is common practice for 401(k) plan providers to net fees against investment earnings making them difficult to monitor.

Slavic401k is proud of the fact that we disclose all fees as a line item dollar amount on participant statements and on the website. Your new plan is fully transparent, and in most cases, significantly less in cost compared to your old plan.

What fees are associated with my 401(k) account?

Annual recurring plan fees are deducted from participant accounts on a quarterly basis. Specific amounts vary from plan to plan.

These fees may cover the plan’s administrative expenses and service provider fees including IRS 5500 filings, record-keeping, accounting, legal, customer service and contribution processing. They are categorized as the following: fixed admin fee, asset based fees, and activity fees.

Form 5500

When is my 5500 due?

Form 5500 Annual Return/Report is due the last day of the seventh month after the plan year ends (July 31 for a calendar year plan), with an additional 2 ½ months extension if Form 5558 Application for Extension of Time to File has been submitted (October 15th with an extension).

Slavic401k will file the Form 5558 Application for Extension of Time to File on your behalf if an extension is needed.

How do I know if I am a large plan filer?

A plan with fewer than 100 participants (on the first day of the plan year) that meets all of the eligibility conditions is considered a “small plan” filer and can file Form 5500-SF. A plan with more than 100 participants (on the first day of the plan year) is considered a “large plan” filer and must file Form 5500 and complete all applicable schedules and attachments.

NOTE: Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) can only file the Form 5500 and are restricted from filing Form 5500-SF.

Who is considered a plan participant?

A plan participant is any employee eligible to participate in an employer’s retirement plan when certain eligibility conditions stated in the plan document are met. A participant is also an employee or former employee (terminated employee) of an employer who is or may become eligible to receive a benefit from an employee benefit plan. The number of participants at the beginning of the year determines which 5500 form must be filed.

What do I need to do if I am a large plan filer?

For those plans which do not fall under the notable exception (80/120 rule) and are considered a “large plan filer,” Scheduled H must be completed in addition to any other applicable schedules and attachments. Slavic401k will prepare a complete signature-ready Form 5500 for you to file with the EBSA.

An independent audit must be attached to the completed Form 5500 before it is electronically filed. The plan sponsor is responsible for engaging the author to prepare the independent audit.

To avoid penalties for failing to complete the Form 5500 or ramifications of filing late, plan sponsors should take the time to understand the requirements for a retirement plan audit well in advance of the filing deadline.

When can an audit be deferred?

An audit is required for large plan filers and may be deferred but not eliminated for plan years of seven (7) months or less (due to initial year of the plan, merger, or change of plan year). The short plan year does not eliminate the audit requirement; it only defers the audit requirement until the following year.

In the year in which the audit will be required, the audit will cover the full plan year and the short period. Additionally, Form 5500 must still be filed for the short plan year.

Will my 5500 be considered “filed” if I do not attach the independent auditor’s report to my Form 5500 annual return/report?

The IRS will receive your filing, but the DOL will send a Notice of Rejection (NOR), usually within a few weeks of submission. This notice informs the plan sponsor that the submission is “delinquent” and that the DOL will issue penalties if it is not corrected timely. The plan sponsor has 30 days from the date of the letter to respond. The plan sponsor can respond to the NOR, explain the circumstances of what is going on, and request an extension. Only during the NOR process can you request an extension and have a chance of avoiding a penalty.

Please note Schedule H, line 3 specifically asks for information regarding the plan’s independent auditor’s report. If you do not submit the required independent auditor’s report, these questions must still be answered correctly. If you have to file Form 5500 without the required independent auditor’s report, correct that error as soon as possible.

What happens if we don’t file timely?

Failure to file timely can result in significant DOL and IRS fees and penalties.

  • Internal Revenue Service: $250 per day, not to exceed $150,000
  • Department of Labor: Up to$2,259 for 2021 (subject to annual DOL adjustments) for each day the form is late with no overall maximum

Safe Harbor

What is a Safe Harbor plan?

Employers can avoid non-discrimination testing (ADP, ACP and Top Heavy) by adopting a safe harbor 401(k) plan. Adopting a safe harbor plan allows highly compensated employees (HCEs) and key employees of the company to contribute the maximum amount allowed by law.

What are the requirements of a Safe Harbor plan?

Employer contribution requirement: Employers must make either a safe harbor matching contribution or a safe harbor non‐elective contribution.

  • A matching contribution must equal at least 4% of compensation by using either: the basic formula or enhanced formula.
    Basic formula 100% of the first 3% of compensation plus 50% of the next 2% of compensation Or Enhanced formula 100% of the first 4% of compensation Elective contributions more than 6% cannot be matched. This does not mean that the match amount cannot exceed 6% of compensation only that deferrals more than 6% cannot be matched. So, a safe harbor matching contribution equal to 200% of 5% is allowed.
  • A non‐elective contribution (profit sharing contribution) that equals at least 3% of the employee’s eligible compensation for the plan year. A contribution greater than 3% is allowed.

Vesting Requirement: Safe harbor contributions must be 100% vested.

Notice Requirement: Each participant must receive a written notice describing the safe harbor options the employer will use for the plan year 30 days in advance and annually thereafter. According to the SECURE Act, no need for safe harbor notices for non‐elective plans including QACA non‐elective plans.

Adoption Requirement: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the first plan year of a newly established safe harbor 401(k) plan (other than a successor plan) to be at least 3 months long.

Exception: Employer Created Within Last 3 Months of the Year
The initial year of a safe harbor 401(k) plan can be shorter than 3 months in the case of a newly established employer if the business establishes the plan as soon as administratively feasible after the employer comes into existence. For example, New Biz is incorporated on November 1, 2019. New Biz can establish a safe harbor 401(k) plan that operates for the last 2 months of 2019.

An employer with an existing non‐safe harbor plan must make the election to adopt a safe harbor plan design before December 1st in the year preceding the safe harbor plan year. Safe harbor provisions must be in effect for 12 months (effective January 1st).

Exception: The SECURE Act permits employers to add a safe harbor feature to their existing 401(k) plans once the year has started if they contribute at least 4 percent of employees’ pay instead of the regular 3 percent. This flexibility will help employers to correct failed ADP/ACP or top‐heavy tests by shifting to a safe harbor plan and making a 4 percent nonelective contribution to participants.

Distribution Restrictions: Safe harbor contributions cannot be distributed before an employee terminates employment or reaches age 59 ½.


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