What's New

Significant changes to retirement benefits start in 2023

Highlights of the SECURE Act 2.0

Automatic enrollment increased. Beginning in 2025, the law expands automatic enrollment in retirement plans with the aim of prompting more people to save for retirement. With some exceptions for small businesses, the bill requires 401(k) and 403(b) plans to automatically enroll eligible participants, starting at a minimum 3 percent contribution and increasing annually to at least 10 percent but no more than 15 percent. Employees who do not wish to enroll will be required to opt out.

Withdrawals allowed for emergency expenses. Beginning in 2024, qualified plan participants will be able to take a penaltyfree distribution of up to $1,000 once per year, which won't be subject to the usual additional 10 percent tax that applies to early distributions. However, if you do not repay the distribution within a certain time frame, you will have to wait three years before being allowed to take another emergency distribution.

Matching contributions extended to those paying student loans. Beginning in 2024, employers will be permitted to make qualified retirement plan contributions to employees who are not contributing to the plan if that employee is making qualified student loan payments.

Required minimum distribution age raised. Currently, you generally must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your retirement plan beginning at age 72. But beginning January 1, 2023, the bill will increase the required minimum distribution age to 73 to better reflect current life expectancies. In 2033, the RMD age will move to 75.

However, as currently presented, there appears to be a drafting error in which those born in 1959 meet both the age 73 and age 75 definitions. This will need to be corrected in future legislation, although we do not yet know what form the correction may take.

Catch-up contribution limits boosted. Right now, people who are 50 or older can make additional contributions to their qualified retirement plans. Beginning in 2025, that would be increased to $10,000 per year or 50 percent more than the regular catchup contribution amount — whichever is greater — for those who turn age 60, 61, 62 or 63 during a given year. After 2025, those amounts will be indexed for inflation.

The catch-up contribution amount for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) is currently set at $1,000 and does not adjust for inflation. Beginning in 2024, the legislation would index the IRA catch-up contribution for inflation in $100 increments.

Beginning in 2024, required minimum distributions from designated Roth accounts will be eliminated and all catchup contributions to qualified retirement plans will be treated as Roth contributions. An exception is available for employees with compensation of $145,000 or less (indexed for inflation). The ability for taxpayers to decide whether they want to fund any or all their retirement accounts with pre-tax or Roth contributions is a definite positive.

Qualifying longevity annuity contracts. Effective for contracts purchased or received in an exchange on or after its date of enactment, the bill will repeal the requirement that qualifying longevity annuity contracts’ (QLAC) premiums be limited to 25 percent of the account balance. It also increases the QLAC premium dollar limitation from $125,000 to $200,000 (indexed for inflation).

Qualified charitable distributions. Beginning in 2024, the bill will expand qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) to allow a onetime, $50,000 distribution to certain splitinterest giving trusts. The act also indexes the $100,000 IRA qualified charitable distribution limit for inflation.