A SEP-IRA is funded with pre-tax dollars. This can reduce the taxes you owe in specific ways. A self-employed person who contributes to SEP-IRAs for their employees increases the company's expenses. This reduces net profit, reducing both self-employment tax and income tax.
Contributions to SEP IRAs are tax-deductible. You can't deduct contributions from a Roth account because you already paid taxes on the money before you added it to your account. Another important difference between a SEP account and a Roth account is that you can include employees in a SEP IRA and make contributions for them. You can't do that with the Roths and, for that reason, they might be better for people who are self-employed.
For people who are not self-employed, the compensation used to determine contributions to the SEP IRA includes salaries, professional service fees, commissions and tips, additional benefits and bonuses. The problem is that the government requires that all traditional IRA transfers to Roth be made on a proportional basis. When making contributions to the SEP IRA, employers must contribute an equal percentage of each employee's income. The thing is that they have different types of tax advantages, and SEP IRAs may be more suitable for companies with multiple employees.
Compensation generally includes deferred amounts, at the employee's choice, under benefit plans such as 401 (k) plans, 403 (b) plans, SIMPLE IRAs, Section 457 plans, and Section 125 cafeteria plans. In the years in which you contribute to the SEP, contributions must be made to the SEP-IRAs of all eligible employees. However, if you are allowed to make contributions to a traditional IRA to your SEP-IRA account, you may be able to make contributions to the IRA to get up to date. An employer can establish a SEP-IRA for an employee who is entitled to a contribution under the SEP plan if the employee is unable or unwilling to establish a SEP-IRA.
The deadline for establishing a SEP IRA plan and making contributions is the deadline for filing the employer's tax return, including extensions. Employer contributions made under a SEP plan do not affect the amount you can contribute to an IRA on your own behalf. Employees who withdraw the excess contribution (plus profits) before the deadline for their federal return, including extensions, will avoid the 6% special tax that applies to excess contributions to the SEP in an IRA. Contributions are made to an individual retirement account or annuity (IRA) created for each plan participant (a SEP-IRA).
The same limits on employee contributions made to SEP-IRAs also apply to contributions if you are self-employed. There's no Roth version, which means you can't choose to pay tax on contributions now and accept tax-free distributions during retirement, as you can if you choose a Roth IRA. You can set up a SEP plan for one year after the due date (including extensions) of your company's income tax return for that year.