SEP plans (which are not SARSEP) only allow employer contributions. No, only an employer can maintain and contribute to an SEP plan for their employees. For the purposes of the retirement plan, each partner or member of an LLC that is taxed as a corporation is an employee of the company. Employers are usually the only taxpayers, but employees may be able to make traditional contributions to the SEP-IRA.
An employer offering an SEP IRA is not required, depending on the dollar value, to contribute any annual minimum amount to individual accounts. As long as percentage wage parity is maintained, employers who are short on cash can choose not to fund any of the accounts. The SEP IRA rules categorically prohibit employees from funding their own SEP IRAs, even when their employers choose not to do so. While the SEP IRA plan has great advantages for employers, their employees and sole proprietors who don't have employees, it has some rules that could be a disadvantage for some.
On the one hand, if employers want to make a contribution to their own accounts, they must also make contributions to the account of each eligible employee. Plan assets cannot be used as collateral for a loan. In addition, employees are not allowed to make contributions to their SEP IRA account. Whatever the employer brings, it is what you get.
A SEP-IRA is one of the easiest small business retirement plans to set up and maintain. You can make significant contributions to yourself and to any eligible employee. There is little administration and no tax filing is required. And contributions can vary from year to year, or even skip a year.
An SEP IRA is a tax-deferred account, meaning that, as with a traditional IRA, contributions are made with pre-tax dollars and withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income. Nancy can also make regular and annual contributions to her SEP IRA, if her SEP IRA allows it, or contribute to her Roth IRA at XYZ Investment Co. If you work for a company that offers an SEP IRA, your employer must make the same contribution, as a percentage of salary, to your SEP IRA and SEP IRAs as any other eligible employee. If you don't meet this criteria, your employer can still choose to contribute to an SEP IRA on your behalf, provided that the employer's least restrictive policies apply equally to all employees and also to the employer.
Business owners and self-employed people who set up SEP IRAs are making contributions as employers, even if they are the only employees. Because a SEP-IRA is a traditional IRA, you may be able to make regular, annual contributions to this IRA, instead of opening a separate IRA. If the SEP-IRA allows non-SEP contributions, you can make regular contributions to your IRA (including recovery contributions to the IRA if you are 50 or older), up to the annual maximum limit. An employer offering an SEP IRA must contribute a uniform amount, based on percentage of salary, both to their own SEP IRA and to each eligible employee's SEP IRAs.
Unlike 401 (k) plans, which are funded by employee contributions that are often matched by employers, SEP IRAs can only be opened and funded by employers. However, if you're allowed to make contributions to a traditional IRA to your SEP-IRA account, you may be able to make IRA contributions to get up to speed. Fundamentally, an SEP IRA can be considered a traditional IRA with the ability to receive employer contributions. Both can receive employer contributions to an SEP IRA and make regular annual contributions to a traditional or Roth IRA.