Three issues to contemplate if making an attempt to tie scholar mortgage compensation and an organization 401(Okay)


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At Peanut Butter, we’re all the time on the lookout for new methods for employers to make scholar mortgage compensation a fiscally advantageous profit to supply staff. We additionally go to nice lengths with our attorneys to know IRS and tax legal guidelines so employers don’t discover themselves in a tough state of affairs.


Just lately, we’ve fielded questions on methods to leverage present 401(ok) profit funds to supply Pupil Mortgage Reimbursement. On the floor, it sounds nice in your backside line if you need to use present funds to supply a further profit, and even higher if these present funds are pre-tax {dollars}.

Sadly, there’s a LOT of threat in the sort of profit plan design. Listed here are three suggestions that, alongside together with your authorized counsel’s advisement, can assist hold you out of sizzling water.

Tip #1: Be certain that your group absolutely understands the IRS contingent profit rule.

The contingent profit rule is an Inner Income Code limitation imposed on 401(ok) plans (set forth in Part 401(Okay)(4)(A) of the Code). You’ll wish to seek the advice of your tax legal professional to completely perceive it and ensure you’re compliant, however at a excessive degree:

  • It’s possible you’ll be in violation should you supply scholar mortgage compensation as an both/or profit alongside a 401(ok). That’s, should you supply the worker to both elect a set of funds to be utilized to his/her scholar mortgage compensation or a 401(ok).
  • It’s possible you’ll be in violation in case you are offering a profit apart from a real match (or mirroring) contribution underneath the 401(ok) plan. The contingent profit rule could be very particular that advantages outdoors of matching contributions have strict necessities on whether or not an worker has the precise to say that the employer ought to keep away from making a contribution to at least one profit with a view to obtain profit funds elsewhere.

Tip #2: Ask counsel to advise on further charges should you supply a “pressured worker match”-type plan design.

We perceive that it’s engaging for employers to ask their staff to make a matched contribution to their scholar mortgage compensation. And, it could seem to be a easy concept to elucidate to staff as a result of many 401(ok) plans work on this approach.

It’s nonetheless simpler, nevertheless, with much less threat of further charges, to supply a no-strings-attached direct scholar mortgage compensation profit to staff. That is one other space to seek the advice of together with your authorized counsel, however listed here are some primary guards in opposition to requiring a pressured worker match:

  • Extra IRS rules: 401(ok) plans have strict guidelines. Permitting staff to elect to take their match in a money compensation of their scholar mortgage possible creates a deferral characteristic underneath 401(ok) that would wish to fulfill the money or deferral guidelines, together with testing to show extremely compensated staff usually are not favored by the profit.
  • FICA taxes: Money or deferred funds as a part of a “match” program might set off FICA taxes, whereas a direct contribution program might not.
  • Tax/ERISA authorized charges: If you happen to don’t have full-time counsel on employees, or in case your counsel isn’t specialised in tax/ERISA legislation, your organization may incur further charges to in profit plan design evaluate and session.

Tip #3: The extra difficult your profit design, the longer it should take staff to “get it”, decreasing engagement and your return worth.

If you’re excited on the prospect of asserting a scholar mortgage compensation profit to your staff, don’t let a sophisticated plan design trigger delays. Advantages themselves (well being, incapacity, 401(ok)) are sometimes difficult sufficient for workers to know. To maximise the pace of return you see from a scholar mortgage compensation plan, take into account the worth {that a} direct, no-strings-attached plan design affords:

  • Velocity of roll-out: If there are much less guidelines to elucidate, then coaching your HR division and drafting communications to staff is way more simplified. This could scale back the time it takes your group to roll-out this system formally, which makes everybody concerned within the profit mission seem like a celebrity internally.
  • Better engagement: Your HR division could have a neater time explaining a direct profit providing to staff and staff will perceive the worth you’re giving them extra simply with out difficult enrollment guidelines. And also you, because the employer, get to bask within the social goodwill of decreasing your staff’ monetary debt burden. It’s possible you’ll even take into account doing a press launch to announce that goodwill to your neighborhood.
  • Aggressive edge: As quickly as your scholar mortgage compensation program is stay and also you’re in a position to announce it to potential hires, you’ll stand out in opposition to different employers whom you compete with for expertise. This could enhance the variety of candidates in your expertise pool and help you choose from the most effective and brightest to fill open positions.


At Peanut Butter, we’re deeply invested in serving to our shoppers make the scholar mortgage help choices which might be finest for them and can assist their enterprise thrive. Along with the Pupil Mortgage Reimbursement profit mentioned on this article, Peanut Butter additionally affords Pupil Mortgage Sources, which some employers select to supply as a primary step towards serving to their staff pay down their scholar debt.

Go to our web site to be taught extra about Pupil Mortgage Help applications.

Or, get began to start designing your scholar mortgage help program.