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What is a "qualified retirement plan"?

A qualified retirement plan is an employer's plan to benefit employees that meets specific Internal Revenue Code requirements. These plans may qualify for special tax benefits, such as tax deferral for employer contributions. Your contributions may also qualify for tax deferral.

Qualified retirement plans can include:

  • A qualified employee plan such as a section 401(k) plan, including single participant or "solo" plan for sole proprietors
  • A qualified employee 403(a) annuity plan
  • A 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plan for employees of public schools or tax-exempt organizations
  • An individual retirement account under section 408(a) or an individual retirement annuity under section 408(b) (known as an IRA)

To determine whether your plan is a qualified plan (most but not all plans are), check with your employer or the plan administrator.

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