facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause
SECURE 2.0 Allows Roth Employer Contributions in 401(k) Plans Thumbnail

SECURE 2.0 Allows Roth Employer Contributions in 401(k) Plans

One of the SECURE 2.0 changes already in effect allows employer contributions to be made in these Roth accounts: 401(k), 403(b) and governmental 457(b) plans.

When it comes to employer contribution plans, SECURE 2.0 has changed certain things.


Up to now, employer contributions to 401(k) (and other plans) had to be made to pre-tax accounts. Roth employer contributions are allowed in 401(k), 403(b) and governmental 457(b) plans. (In reality, 457(b) plans usually don’t have employer contributions to begin with.) Keep in mind that this covers employer contributions; many 401(k) (and other) plans already permit Roth employee contributions.

This change is one of several “Rothification” provisions within SECURE 2.0 that Congress hopes will raise revenue to help pay for other changes made by the new law. A similar provision allows SEP and SIMPLE IRA contributions to be made on a Roth basis.

Although this provision was actually effective on December 29, 2022 (the day SECURE 2.0 was signed into law), it will take recordkeepers some time to adjust their systems to accommodate the new provision. Also, recordkeepers will be reluctant to offer this option until the IRS clarifies several administrative issues, such as how employee taxes on Roth employer contributions will be reported. So, don’t expect your employer to be offering this option anytime soon.

And, even when recordkeepers are ready to institute this change, employers will not be required to offer it. Further, if your employer offers Roth treatment for employer contributions, it can’t impose it in on you. Instead, employees must elect to have their employer contributions deposited into the plan’s Roth account.

For tax purposes, Roth employer contributions will be treated the same as Roth employee contributions. This means that you’ll be taxed on the amount of the Roth contribution in the year it’s made. When you take a distribution from your 401(k), the contributions themselves will come out tax-free. Earnings on the contributions also will be distributed tax-free if made after age 59 ½, disability or death and after a five-year holding period has been satisfied.

Many plans use vesting schedules for employer contributions. If your plan has a vesting schedule, you need to work a certain number of years with your employer before you are partially or fully vested in your employer contributions. (Being vested means you have earned a benefit that can’t be taken away from you.) SECURE 2.0 says that only vested employer contributions qualify for Roth treatment. That may make this new option less attractive to you and create administrative headaches for your employer.

By Ian Berger, JD
IRA Analyst
Ed Slott and Company, LLC

If you are not getting your questions on this topic answered by your current financial advisor and would like to discuss working with us at California Retirement Advisors, you may request a meeting here.

To see more CRA blog articles, click here.

Copyright © 2023, Ed Slott and Company, LLC Reprinted from The Slott Report, 02/06/23, with permission. https://www.irahelp.com/slottreport/secure-20-allows-roth-employer-contributions-401k-plans, Ed Slott and Company, LLC takes no responsibility for the current accuracy of this article. Chris Cordoba, founder of California Retirement Advisors, is a member of Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group.
Investment advisory services offered through Mutual Advisors, LLC DBA California Retirement Advisors, a SEC registered investment adviser. Securities offered through Mutual Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Mutual Securities, Inc. and Mutual Advisors, LLC are affiliated companies. CA Insurance license #0B09076. This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by California Retirement Advisors. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. California Retirement Advisors, nor any of its members, are tax accountants or legal attorneys and do not provide tax or legal advice. For tax or legal advice, you should consult your tax or legal professional.