Can a Nonprofit Have a 401k

Nonprofit organizations can establish a 401(k) plan to provide retirement savings opportunities for their employees. This type of plan allows employees to contribute a portion of their paycheck on a pre-tax basis, reducing their current taxable income. The contributions grow tax-deferred until the employee retires or withdraws the funds. Employers can also contribute to the plan on behalf of their employees. A 401(k) plan offers several benefits, including tax savings, investment options, and the potential for long-term retirement savings growth.

Retirement Plan Options for Nonprofits

Nonprofits have a unique set of circumstances that can make it challenging to offer retirement plans to their employees. However, there are a number of options available to nonprofits, including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, and SIMPLE IRAs.

401(k) plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that allow employees to contribute a portion of their paycheck on a pre-tax basis. Employers may also choose to match employee contributions.

403(b) plans are similar to 401(k) plans, but they are designed specifically for employees of public schools and certain other tax-exempt organizations.

SIMPLE IRAs are another option for small businesses and nonprofits. SIMPLE IRAs are similar to traditional IRAs, but they have higher contribution limits and simpler rules.

The following table compares the three most common retirement plan options for nonprofits:

Feature401(k) Plan403(b) PlanSIMPLE IRA
Contribution limits$22,500 in 2023 ($30,000 for those age 50 and older)$22,500 in 2023 ($30,000 for those age 50 and older)$15,500 in 2023 ($17,500 for those age 50 and older)
Employer matchingYesYesNo
AvailabilityAvailable to for-profit and nonprofit organizationsAvailable to public schools and certain other tax-exempt organizationsAvailable to businesses with 100 or fewer employees

The best retirement plan option for a nonprofit will depend on the organization’s size, budget, and employee demographics.

Advantages of Offering a 401k to Nonprofits

There are many advantages to offering a 401k to nonprofits. These include:

  • Tax savings: Contributions to a 401k are made on a pre-tax basis, which can save nonprofits money on taxes.
  • Employee recruitment and retention: A 401k can be a valuable benefit that can help nonprofits attract and retain employees.
  • Increased employee morale: When employees know that they are saving for the future, they can be more motivated and engaged in their work.
  • Improved financial security for employees: A 401k can help employees save for retirement and other financial goals.

In addition to these advantages, there are also a number of other factors that nonprofits should consider when offering a 401k. These include:

  • Cost: Nonprofits should carefully consider the cost of offering a 401k. This includes the cost of plan administration, investment fees, and other expenses.
  • Fiduciary responsibility: Nonprofits have a fiduciary responsibility to their employees to ensure that their retirement plan is managed in their best interests. This includes selecting a plan provider and investments that are appropriate for the plan’s participants.
  • Compliance: Nonprofits must comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing retirement plans. This includes the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code.

Offering a 401k can be a valuable benefit for nonprofits and their employees. However, it is important to carefully consider the costs and risks involved before offering a plan. Nonprofits should also seek professional advice from a qualified retirement plan provider to ensure that their plan is managed in the best interests of their employees.

Traditional 401(k)Roth 401(k)
WithdrawalsTaxed as ordinary income in retirementTax-free in retirement
Age limitsContributions can be made from age 18 to 70½Contributions can be made from age 18 to 59½
Income limitsNo income limits for contributionsIncome limits for contributions
Contribution limits$22,500 for 2023 ($30,000 for those age 50 or older)$22,500 for 2023 ($30,000 for those age 50 or older)

Contribution Limits for Nonprofit 401k Plans

Nonprofit organizations can establish 401k plans, which allow employees to save for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis. However, there are contribution limits that apply to these plans.

  • Participant Contribution Limit: The maximum amount an employee can contribute to their 401k is $22,500 for 2023, with an additional $7,500 catch-up contribution for those 50 or older.
  • Employer Contribution Limit: The combined employer and employee contributions cannot exceed $66,000 for 2023, or $73,500 including the catch-up contribution for those 50 or older.
  • Compensation Limit: The maximum amount of compensation that can be used to calculate the employer’s contribution limit is $330,000 for 2023.

It’s important to note that nonprofit organizations may also offer safe harbor 401k plans, which have different contribution limits and vesting rules. Safe harbor plans are designed to simplify plan administration and ensure that all eligible employees are eligible to contribute.

Contribution Limits for Nonprofit 401k Plans
Type of Contribution2023 Contribution Limit
Participant Contribution Limit$22,500
Employer Contribution Limit$66,000
Catch-Up Contribution Limit (age 50+)$7,500
Compensation Limit$330,000

Considerations for Establishing a Nonprofit 401k

Nonprofit organizations may consider establishing a 401(k) plan as it offers several benefits and can enhance employee retirement savings. However, there are specific considerations that nonprofits should keep in mind when setting up a 401(k) plan:


  • Determine the eligibility requirements for employees to participate in the 401(k) plan.
  • Establish minimum service or age requirements, if applicable.

Employer Contributions

  • Decide whether or not to offer employer contributions.
  • Establish a formula for calculating employer contributions (e.g., matching or profit-sharing).
  • Consider the impact of employer contributions on the organization’s budget.

Contribution Limits

  • Adhere to annual contribution limits set by the IRS for both employee and employer contributions.
  • Ensure that the plan’s contributions do not exceed these limits.

Investment Options

  • Select investment options that align with the organization’s risk tolerance and investment goals.
  • Provide a range of options to meet the diverse needs of employees.

Fees and Expenses

  • Understand the fees and expenses associated with the 401(k) plan.
  • Consider the impact of fees on employee savings.

Fiduciary Responsibilities

  • Appoint a plan trustee to manage the plan’s assets prudently.
  • Establish a written investment policy statement.

Compliance and Reporting

  • Comply with all applicable laws and regulations governing 401(k) plans.
  • Submit required reports to the IRS and participants.

Table: Comparison of 401(k) Plans for Profit and Nonprofit Organizations

CharacteristicProfit OrganizationNonprofit Organization
Contribution LimitsHigher for non-highly compensated employeesLower for both highly and non-highly compensated employees
Employer ContributionsCan be tax-deductibleLimited to 25% of employee compensation
Investment OptionsTypically more diverseMay be more limited
Withdrawal RulesGenerally subject to 10% early withdrawal penaltyMay be subject to additional restrictions

Whew! We’ve covered a lot of ground today, folks. I hope you’ve found this article helpful in untangling the world of 401(k) plans for nonprofits. Remember, knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your hard-earned savings.

Thanks for sticking with me. If you’re still curious or have more questions, feel free to drop by again. We’ve got plenty more financial wisdom to share that can help you make the most of your hard-earned cash. So, keep an eye out for our future articles. Until then, stay savvy and keep those retirement savings growing!