Profit Sharing Plans
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The profit sharing plan is generally the most flexible qualified plan that is available. Company contributions to a profit sharing plan are usually made on a discretionary basis. Each year the employer decides the amount, if any, to be contributed to the plan. For tax deduction purposes, the company contribution cannot exceed 25% of the total compensation of all eligible employees. The maximum eligible compensation that can be considered for any single employee is $245,000 in 2011 and $250,000 in 2012.
The contribution is usually allocated to employees in proportion to compensation and may be allocated using a formula that is integrated with Social Security, resulting in larger contributions for higher paid employees.
Age-Weighted Profit Sharing Plans:
Profit sharing plans may also use an age-weighted allocation formula that takes into account each employee’s age and compensation. This formula results in a significantly larger allocation of the contribution to eligible employees who are closer to retirement age. Age-weighted profit sharing plans combine the flexibility of a profit sharing plan with the ability of a pension plan to skew benefits in favor of older employees.