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May 25, 2004
IRS Helping Small Businesses to Manage Retirement Plans

To help small businesses comply with the federal tax laws that apply to employee retirement plans, the Internal Revenue Service is offering two new tools: a suite of retirement-plan "check-ups"and an employer newsletter.

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"Small business owners have told us they want more information on how to choose, establish and operate their retirement plans," said Carol Gold, director of employee plans for the IRS. "We want all plans to stay compliant and we will do everything we can to help."

The check-ups are geared to the three IRA-based retirement plans most commonly operated by small businesses: SIMPLE IRA, SEP, and SARSEP. Business owners may visit the Retirement Plans page on to review whichever check-ups are appropriate for them. (See the links below.)

According to the IRS, the check-ups go straight to the issues where the agency's examiners most frequently find problems. For example, the SIMPLE IRA Plan checklist asks: "Is this SIMPLE IRA plan your business's only employee retirement plan?" If the answer is "No," the plan may not be compliant, since a business with a SIMPLE IRA plan generally cannot also sponsor any other retirement plan, such as a 401(k) plan. Each checklist has 10 simple questions with plain language explanations of the tax law, advice on how to fix a problem and links to further information.

Retirement plans need ongoing attention in order to stay compliant. Small business owners can help ensure their plans stay compliant by subscribing to Retirement News for Employers, a new periodic newsletter from the IRS.

Each edition of the newsletter will address the special concerns of small businesses in relation to the plans they maintain for their employees. The debut issue, scheduled for release the week of May 17, contains articles on retirement issues for re-employed veterans, new products such as a troubleshooter for plan administrators, and a calendar of events noting filing deadlines, seminars and more.

Businesses may subscribe to the newsletter by visiting the Retirement Plans page. Subscribers will receive an e-mail containing a link to each edition of the newsletter. In addition, previous issues will be archived on the Internet site.

"For many business owners, a retirement plan is a big incentive in attracting and retaining employees," said Mark O'Donnell, Director Customer Education and Outreach for Employee Plans. "Our goal with this newsletter is to deliver to business owners timely and relevant information about all things retirement-related."

In addition to the Check-Ups and newsletter, the IRS encourages small business owners to take advantage of other information available on the Retirement Plans page. There, small business owners will find other resources on IRA-based retirement plans, IRS guidance and a wide array of forms and publications.


Internal Revenue Service

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