Many sole proprietors and small business owners agree on the following two issues: they pay too much in taxes and they have difficulty attracting and retaining good employees. One way to address both of these issues is to have your business sponsor a retirement savings plan. If you’re self-employed or own a small business and don’t currently have a retirement plan in place, consider setting up a SIMPLE plan.

SIMPLEs (Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees) are available in two forms – SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k)s. SIMPLE plans are generally available only to small businesses that don’t maintain any other retirement plan. If your business has more than 100 employees, you won’t be eligible for a SIMPLE.

Most businesses will find the IRA version preferable to the 401(k) form of SIMPLE. Here’s how SIMPLE IRAs work. Eligible employees (including yourself) can elect to have a portion of their earnings withheld each pay period, limited to $11,500 in annual deferrals ($14,000 for those aged 50 or older). The employees then direct how the deferrals will be invested within their own SIMPLE IRAs. Amounts withheld for the SIMPLE IRA reduce the employee’s taxable income and grow tax-deferred.

The costs to set up and administer a SIMPLE IRA are minimal. However, as the employer, you’re required to make contributions into your employees’ SIMPLE IRAs on their behalf. You have the option of contributing either 2% of the wages of every eligible employee or making matching contributions up to 3% of the wages of those employees who participate in the plan.

Generally, the deadline for businesses to establish a SIMPLE plan for 2012 is October 1, 2012. To find out more about SIMPLE plans, give us a call.