Set yourself on the right track, right from the start with a retirement account that uses low-cost mutual funds and rebalances automatically.
SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension. SEP IRAs are popular retirement accounts for self-employed individuals and other small business owners.
Add money when it’s convenient—up to 25% of your annual compensation, capped at $66,000 for 2023 and $69,000 for 2024.
Your contributions are tax-deductible so you can reduce your tax liability for the year you contribute.
They require minimal paperwork, minimal administrative tasks, and no annual DOL reporting requirements.
Guideline SEP IRA: built for long‑term growth
The estimated total cost for our managed portfolios can be under 0.15%
We won’t nickel and dime your account. We don’t charge fees for distributions, rollovers and more.
Our investment portfolios rebalance automatically to help you stay on track for retirement. Learn more
$8/monthly base fee + 0.08% annual account fee
This account fee comes out to 67¢ a month for every $10,000 saved.
If you are an employer, each employee, including yourself, is charged the same base and account fees. We don’t charge employers a separate fee for opening or funding a SEP IRA.
Set up your account in minutes, then use our tools, expertise and support to create your roadmap to retirement.
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Any employer can establish a SEP. The business can be run in many forms, including a sole-proprietorship or partnership (self-employment), corporation or a limited liability company. You don’t need to set up a corporation or limited liability company to have a SEP. This means that you can set up a SEP if you are a freelancer, a hairdresser, a consultant, a contractor, or a baker who sells cookies to your friends and neighbors.
Consult your tax advisor if you are uncertain whether the structure of your business will allow for a SEP.
There are many benefits to establishing a SEP.
You are allowed to take a distribution at any time; however all distributions will be included in your taxable income the year they are made. In addition, if you are younger than 59 ½ when the distribution is made, the amount will be subject to an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty unless you qualify for an exception.
To take a distribution, you will be required to provide Guideline with the distribution details by completing a form available to you in your account dashboard.
The IRS actually requires you to include eligible employees to your plan. You can add them to your Guideline SEP using our roster management tools—simply provide their name and email address and we will invite them to join your plan and open their own Guideline account. If they don’t open an account, the plan will open an account and fund it on their behalf.
Your employees will also have the option to establish their SEP IRAs with any IRA provider they choose.
Generally, yes. The IRS allows for only limited exclusions including the following:
Covered by a union agreement, are non-resident aliens with no US sourced income, are a leased employee, or are an independent contractor
Under the age of 21
Have not worked for the employer in at least three of the last five years
Earn less than SEP compensation requirement ($750 in 2023 and $750 in 2024)
The eligibility provisions must be included on your SEP document and will apply equally to employees and owners. You should speak to your tax advisor to determine how your employees are classified and if they should be included in your plan. You can also view more about the IRS eligibility rules.
If you no longer have business income, you have several options including the following:
For the 2024 tax year, your employer may contribute the lesser of 25% of compensation or $69,000 for each participant.
If you are self-employed, contributions are generally limited to 20% of your net earnings. See IRS Publication 560 for more information. The IRS regularly updates the maximum allowable contribution amount each year.
Please consult with your tax advisor for assistance with calculating your allowable contribution amount.
Yes, you must contribute the same percentage of salary to all of your eligible employees.
No since there are no employee deferrals in a SEP IRA, catch-up contributions are not allowed.
No, SEP contributions do not need to be made every year. This is one of the key benefits of a SEP. If the employer does not want to or is unable to contribute for a given year, they can simply choose not to contribute.
The contributions made to employees’ SEP Plans are tax deductible as ordinary business expenses up to certain limits. If you are self-employed, there is a special computation to determine your deductible amount. See the IRS website for additional details and consult your tax advisor regarding the specific deductible limits applicable to you.
Contributions made to an employees’ SEP IRAs are not taxable income for them at the time of contribution. However, any distributions taken from the SEP IRA would be included in their income and subject to applicable taxes. Guideline will provide each employee with a tax form with contribution details every year.
Yes, you can still contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA if you participate in a SEP IRA. The total amount you can contribute to a traditional and/or Roth account is $7,000 ($8,000 if you’re age 50 or older by the end of the year), or 100% of your compensation, whichever is less. Note that the ability to contribute to a Roth IRA is subject to income limitations and traditional IRA contributions are not always tax-deductible.
To establish a Guideline SEP you need to complete IRS Form 5305-SEP. In addition, if you have eligible employees, you must add them to your SEP and provide them with a copy of your completed Form 5305. You are required to notify your eligible employees about any SEP contributions that you make to their SEP IRAs annually. Guideline provides this to employees on your behalf annually by distributing a Form 5498 to participants who establish Guideline SEP IRAs. Other than your regular tax filings, there are no additional annual reporting or filing requirements.