2023 Consolidated Appropriations Act Better Known As  Secure Act 2.0 Overhauls Retirement Plan Tax Rules

The new legislation, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on December 29, 2022, may have an immediate impact on your retirement savings and income strategy. Note that the effective dates vary with some are effective immediately in 2023, while others will begin over the next few years. The effective dates are highlighted with each provision outlined below. Here are some of the most important changes:

Raising the starting age for RMDs.  Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the threshold age that determines when individuals must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from traditional IRAs and workplace retirement plans increases from 72 to 73. As a result, individuals now can choose to delay taking their first RMD until April 1 of the year following the year in which they reach age 73. From that point on, RMDs must be received each year by December 31.

On Jan. 1, 2033, the threshold age for RMDs will rise to 75. In addition, the penalty for failing to take RMDs on a timely basis is cut in half effective in 2023, from 50% of the undistributed amount to 25%.  Keep in mind if individuals take advantage of delayed RMDs, the amount of withdrawals required in later years will be larger, which will result in a potentially higher tax liability in those years. If your qualified plan assets are greater than $350,000 if single or $700,000 if you are married you may want to consider converting those qualified assets to a Roth IRA depending on your tax bracket from the ages of 65 and 75.

An increase in catch-up contributions. Catch-up contributions allow people age 50 and older to set aside additional dollars beyond the standard maximum contributions to workplace retirement plans (such as 401(k)s) and IRAs. Two important changes were included in the SECURE 2.0 Act. The first bumps the maximum additional amount that can be contributed to a workplace plan if you’re age 50 and older from $6,500 per year to $7,500 per year, effective in 2023. In addition, if you’re ages 60 to 63, you’ll be able to add $10,000 more per year above the standard limit beginning in 2025.

The second provision requires all catch-up contributions to be on an after-tax basis, except for individuals who earn $145,000 or less. And beginning in 2024, catch-up contributions to IRAs, currently limited to $1,000 per year, will be adjusted for inflation in increments of $100.  As a result, some individuals may be able to avoid moving into a higher tax bracket by deferring a larger chunk of their salary and taking advantage of expanded catch-up contributions.

Auto enrollment in 401(k) plans. Employers currently have an option to initiate “automatic enrollment” of employees into a workplace retirement plan. When this occurs, employees automatically participate in the plan unless they choose not to. Under SECURE 2.0 Act, effective in 2025, the process reverses, and automatic enrollment is required of most major employers.

The amount automatically deferred each year will range from 3% to 10% of an individual’s income. Employees who don’t wish to participate in the plan can choose to opt out. Businesses with 10 or fewer workers and companies in business for less than three years are among those excluded from the mandate.

An additional change affecting workplace plans is that, beginning in 2025, part-time employees will qualify to participate in a plan once they’ve worked at least 500 hours for two consecutive years. Under existing law, part-time workers must meet the 500-hour threshold for three consecutive years.

Retirement plan contributions for those with student loan debts. This provision takes effect beginning in 2024 will allow employers to make contributions to workplace savings plans on behalf of employees who are still repaying student loans. It isn’t unusual for younger workers carrying student debt to forego retirement plan contributions in order to continue to pay off college loans. Under the new law, employers would be allowed to make contributions on behalf of employees faced with this dilemma, even if those employees do not make retirement plan contributions. Employer retirement plan contributions can match the amounts of student loan debt repaid by the individual worker in a given year. This is an opportunity for employers to offer an incentive to attract and retain employees who has college loans.

Rollovers of 529 Plan balances to Roth IRAs. Under prior law which is still in effect in 2023, leftover balances in 529 education savings plans can be taken as a non-qualified distribution, but the earnings portion of the distribution is subject to income tax and a 10% penalty. Beginning in 2024, based on provisions in the new law, you’re allowed to roll up to $35,000 of leftover funds into a Roth IRA.  The $35,000 threshold is a lifetime limit subject to a few restrictions. The 529 account must have been in place for at least 15 years and funds must move directly into a Roth IRA for the same individual who was the beneficiary of the 529 plan. Any 529 plan contributions made in the previous five years, and any earnings attributed to those contributions, are not eligible to be rolled into a Roth IRA. The amount moved into a Roth IRA a given year must be within annual IRA contribution limits.

Changes to Roth employer plans. Under current law, there are no provisions that accommodate employer matching contributions to employees’ after-tax Roth 401(k) plan contributions. Effective in 2023, individuals can choose to have employer matching contributions directed to their Roth workplace accounts. These contributions will be considered taxable income in the year of the contribution.

Under current law, Roth 401(k)s are subject to RMDs. A provision in the SECURE 2.0 Act eliminates RMD requirements for workplace-based Roth plans beginning in 2024. This change results in Roth 401(k)s having similar treatment related to RMDs as Roth IRAs.  In addition, effective in 2023, employers will be allowed to create Roth accounts, open to after-tax contributions, for SIMPLE and SEP retirement plans. Under previous law, these plans only allowed for pre-tax contributions.

Establishment of a Saver’s Match.  The current “Saver’s Credit” program allows those meeting lower income thresholds to claim a tax credit for contributions made to workplace savings plan or IRA. Effective in 2027, the credit is being replaced by a “Saver’s Match.” The match will equal up to 50% of the first $2,000 contributed by an individual to a retirement account each year (or up to $1,000). This will be a federal matching contribution deposited into the saver’s traditional retirement account.

Penalty-free early withdrawals.  The current tax code imposes a 10% penalty for distributions taken from a retirement account prior to reaching age 59-1/2. SECURE Act 2.0 expands the circumstances where penalty-free withdrawals could occur.

Exceptions to the 10% penalty include:

  • Effective immediately, the penalty for early withdrawals is waived for those certified by a physician as having a terminal illness or condition that can reasonably result in death in 84 months or less. To avoid a penalty, distributions must be repaid within three years.
  • Effective Jan. 1, 2024, “hardship” withdrawals are available for individuals who have been subject to domestic abuse equal to the lesser of $10,000 or 50% of the vested balance of the retirement account. The withdrawal must occur within one year after the individual became a victim of abuse. And all or a portion must be repaid within three years.
  • Effective in 2026, withdrawals of up to $2,500 per year can be made to pay premiums on certain types of long-term care contracts.

New rules for qualified charitable distributions (QCDs). Under current law, individuals age 70-1/2 and older can direct up to $100,000 in distributions per year from a traditional IRA to qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Effective in 2024, a new provision will allow the maximum contribution amount to increase based on the inflation rate.

In addition, beginning in 2023, individuals have a one-time opportunity to use a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) to fund a Charitable Remainder Unit Trust (CRUT), Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust (CRAT) or a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA). Up to $50,000 (indexed for inflation) can be directed using this one-time distribution option. If a distribution is directed to a CRUT or CRAT, it must be the only form of funding for that trust.  QCDs are often an overlooked planning opportunity for individuals to manage gifts and reduce taxes.

New limits for Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs). Effective immediately, the “25% of account balance” limitation for QLACs is eliminated. In addition, the maximum amount that can be used to purchase such products was raised from $145,000 in 2022 to $200,000 effective in 2023.

If you have any questions regarding the Secure Act or need estate or tax planning, feel free to call Gregory Spadea at 610-521-0604.  The Law Offices of Spadea Offices of Spadea & Associates provides year round estate and tax planning and tax return preparation.

Speak Your Mind


© 2024 The Law Offices of Spadea & Associates. All Rights Reserved. Sitemap | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy by VPS Marketing Agency, LLC