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The SECURE Act was signed on December 20, 2019. Of all the Act's provisions, Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) have stolen the spotlight, but many other provisions went into effect immediately for plan years beginning in 2020 and 2021. The published language provides only broad-brush changes with the details to be filled in by regulation at some point in the future. 

This page has been developed as a resource to help you understand the provisions of the Act and their impact on the industry as a whole, as well as to keep you up to date on new developments and service as a central location for your most FAQs. We recommend you start your research with our preliminary breakdown of the SECURE Act's provisions. For a full copy of the legislative text, click here.



As we provide answers to your most frequently asked questions in our 401(k) Q&A Question of the Week posts, we will include them here for a one-stop-shop for all SECURE Act resources. Don't see your question? Submit it here.

  • Act Overview | 12.23.19 The SECURE Act passed on Dec. 20, 2019. We've taken a high-level look at the provisions and broken them down for you. Read the post here.
  • New Plan Implementation Looking to reap the tax benefits of starting a new plan, but procrastinated a bit too long? The new regulations provide extended implementation deadlines. Get the details here. 
  • Tax Credits The SECURE Act has made a number of new tax credits available. The Act has not only created new tax credits for setting up a new retirement plan, but also for adding an automatic enrollment feature to an existing plan.
  • Required Minimum Distributions The SECURE Act has changed the age at which participants must begin withdrawing minimum amounts from all tax-favored accounts each year. Learn more here.
  • Part-Time Eligibility There is a new law that requires you to cover certain part-time employees, but there is no reason to panic. Here's what you need to know.
  • Safe Harbor 401(k) Notices How has the Act affected notice requirements for your safe harbor 401(k) plan? Get all the details here.
  • Plan Document Amendment Penalties The IRS has made it clear that plan sponsors who do not retain timely signed copies of plan documents are at risk for significant penalties. Learn more here.
  • Coming Soon There are plenty more SECURE Act FAQs to come. Don't see what you're looking for? Ask your question here.
  • Who Can be a Pooled Plan Provider (PPP) for a PEP? In short, any person or entity can serve as a pooled plan provider (PPP).  There is nothing in the SECURE Act language that prevents any person or firm from serving in that capacity.  The slightly longer answer is that the PPP is, by definition, a fiduciary role, so any person or entity that is precluded from serving as a fiduciary for any reason could not act as a PPP.  This could be involuntary (such as when a person has been convicted of a financial crime) or voluntary if an individual or company believes there would be a fiduciary conflict of interest by serving in that role. 

Effective Dates

While PEPs immediately stole the spotlight, many of the SECURE Act's provisions went into effect immediately for plan/tax years beginning in 2020. We've broken down some of the key effective dates of the Act in the chart below.

Description Section 2020 2021
Increase QACA escalation to 15% 102 Plan years beginning 2020  
Elimination of safe harbor notices for NEC 103 Plan years beginning 2020  
Extended due date to add safe harbor NEC to existing 401(k) 103 Plan years beginning 2020  
Extended due date to establish new plan 201 Tax years beginning 2020  
Increased tax credit for new plan 104 Tax years beginning 2020  
Auto enrollment tax credit 105 Tax years beginning 2020  
Increase RMD age to 72 114 Participants who reach 70.5 in 2020  
Penalty-free distributions for birth/adoption 113 Distributions paid in 2020  
Elimination of stretch IRA 401 Participants who die in 2020  
Lifetime income portability 109 Distributions paid in 2020  
Lifetime income disclosures 203 TBD TBD
Increased penalties for late filings and notices 402-403 Notices/filings due in 2020  
Pooled Employer Plans (PEPs) 101   Plan years beginning 2021
Long-term, part-time employees 112   Plan years beginning 2021



Downloadable Resources

Tax Credit Calculator

There are new tax credits available under the SECURE Act for organizations establishing new retirement plans. In order to claim the credit you must meet the following requirements:

  • The expenses must be related to plan establishment, administration, and/or participant education,
  • You cannot have sponsored a plan at any time in the immediately preceding three years,
  • At least one plan participant must be a non-highly compensated employee; and, 
  • You must have 100 or fewer employees with at least $5,000 in compensation the preceding year.

There is also a six-step process for determining your tax credits for the year. Want to skip the messy math? Download DWC's free Tax Credit Calculator.

Download the free Tax Credit Calculator


New Plan & Safe Harbor Provision Implementation Calculators

In addition to tax credits, the SECURE Act has also provided a little more wiggle room to implement a new plan, or to add a safe harbor provision to your existing plan. Of course, "wiggle room" can come with confusing deadlines.

Skip the guess work and download DWC's free New Plan & Safe Harbor Provision Implementation Calculators.

Download the Implementation Calculators

Stay tuned for more details. We will continue to stay on top of this and will keep you up to date. And if you are wondering whether DWC plans to be part of the Pooled Employer Plan fun, the answer is a resounding YES!

Want to get SECURE Act updates delivered right to your inbox as soon as they are published? Subscribe to DWC 401(k) Q&A Updates and be among the first to get answers to Act questions and updates.

The SECURE Act: A 2 Part Webinar Series - Download it on Demand