Non-Profit Retirement Planning

U.S. employees of government agencies and organizations and tax exempt organizations should know about tax code section 457 when planning their retirement. This section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code governs the compensation plans that are deferred and non-qualified for those employees of governments and tax-exempt institutions other than churches. The pension plan that has been created for the retirement of these folks has been named the Section 457 plan. These employees can defer part of their compensation pre-taxed through deductions from their payroll. This defers both state and federal taxes until these retirement assets start being withdrawn.

Such eligible retirement plans have monetary ceilings on the amounts that can be deferred. The amount that is deferred in this way for retirement cannot be more than either 100 percent of the employee’s pay or $15,000 – whichever is the lesser. This $15,000 2006 figure will increase each year by $500 to adjust for increases in cost of living.

Only certain eligible employers are allowed to set up a section 457 plan. These are defined by the IRS as states and their subdivisions, instruments or political subdivisions of the states, and any entity that is not a unit of the government but is exempt from federal income tax. The latter includes religious and charitable organizations, educational institutions and organizations, private hospitals, labor unions and trade associations, private foundations, farming cooperatives and fraternal orders.

A section 457 plan will not pay out for retirement before the calendar year in which the participant reaches age 70 ½ and has severed employment with the participating firm. A severe financial hardship, unexpected illness or injury due to accident or other unforeseen emergency can allow for withdrawal from the retirement plan as well.