What 401(k) Plan Sponsors Should do in 2023

Posted: Mar 6, 2023 2:34:58 PM

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For those who have been digesting the recently enacted SECURE Act 2.0 legislation and the cascading provisions, deciding what near-term actions to take might be daunting.

A 2023 Action Plan for Plan Sponsors

For the provisions that are effective for 2023, our advice for most plan sponsors is as follows:

  1. Don’t go forward with allowing 401(k) plans to provide participants with the option of receiving matching contributions on a Roth basis unless operationally considering the impact on payroll (and payroll taxes) and on other benefit plans by virtue of increasing the employee’s taxable compensation. This provision was effective on December 29, 2022;

  2. Can consider at some point in 2023: SECURE 2.0 allows plans to accept a participant’s self-certification of a hardship event in a 401(k) plan. Participants can already certify the other component of hardship eligibility: financial need. The Treasury may provide that a plan cannot accept self-certification if the plan has actual knowledge of the falsehood of the certification. This provision is adequate for plan years beginning after December 29, 2022.

  3. If a plan sponsor believes it will help employee participation: Generally, employers may not provide anything but matching contributions as an incentive to make elective contributions to a plan. This provision allows the employer to provide small financial incentives to employees, such as gift cards in small amounts. The cost of the incentive cannot come from the 401(k) plan assets. 

  4. Note: Some plan sponsors get confused about the RMD age phase-in.  While employed, the RMD rules do not apply until the employee terminates (unless they own 5% of the business). This provision of SECURE 2.0 increases the age component of the required beginning date to 73 starting in 2023 for anyone who was not 72 by the end of 2022. The age will increase to 75 as of January 1, 2033.

There are a number of provisions with effective dates in 2024, 2025, and later but these are the major plan features that can be enacted for 2023. Want to know more? Contact Dave Evans, Director of Institutional Sales.

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