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Why the self-employed should consider setting up a retirement plan before year end

For 2013, the maximum IRA contribution is $5,500 — $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older on Dec. 31. (The maximum IRA  contribution or deduction may be reduced or eliminated depending on various factors.) But if you’re self-employed, you may be eligible for a retirement plan that allows you to make much larger contributions. As long as you set up one of the following plans by Dec. 31, 2013, you can make deductible 2013 contributions as late as the 2014 due date of your tax return:

Profit-sharing plan. This allows discretionary contributions and flexibility in plan design. The 2013 contribution limit is $51,000 ($56,500 for taxpayers age 50 and older).

Defined benefit plan. This plan sets a future pension benefit and then actuarially calculates the contributions needed to attain that benefit. So you may be able to contribute more to a defined benefit plan than to a profit-sharing plan. The maximum future annual benefit toward which 2013 contributions can be made is generally $205,000.

Various caveats and limits apply, so contact us for details. But act soon; there’s not much time left to set up a plan for 2013.