Maximize your business tax deductions while potentially building your retirement nest egg

You can contribute almost 10 times more to a SEP IRA than a Traditional IRA. That means more tax breaks for your business, while helping you work toward the retirement you want.
Consider a SEP IRA for your business for:
  • Flexibility to contribute as your cash flow allows
  • Easy plan administration with minimal paperwork
  • Greater control over investment choices
Tab One

Good for you, good for your business

A simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA offers tax advantages that could help you keep more of your hard-earned money.
The tax breaks add up
Contributions you make to your account as the business owner, and the contributions made to each eligible employee's SEP IRA account, are generally 100% tax deductible by business.1
When & how much to contribute? You're the boss
  • A SEP gives you until your tax-filing deadline (including extensions) to establish your plan and contribute for the previous year
  • You decide how much to contribute to maximize your deductions
Minimal paperwork, more time for your business
The SEP IRA requires less paperwork than many small business retirement plans.

For details, see the SEP IRA fact sheet (PDF).

Frequently asked questions

Why should I consider opening a SEP IRA instead of a Traditional IRA?

With a SEP IRA, you and your business can benefit. Contributions you make to the individual accounts under your SEP are generally tax deductible by your business.1 Plus, you have the opportunity to contribute 10 times more to a SEP IRA than a Traditional IRA.

What are the contribution limits?

For 2015 and 2016, contribute up to 25% of compensation or up to 20% of net self-employed earnings (whichever is less), or up to $53,000 for yourself and each eligible employee.2

Who contributes to a SEP IRA

Contributions are made only by you as the employer.

What investment choices are available?

  • At Merrill Edge, you'll have access to a full range of investment choices. Select from a wide array of stocks, bonds, options, ETFS, well-known mutual funds and managed portfolios.
  • You may also consider investing in a Money Market IRA or Featured CD IRA offered through Bank of America, N.A.

Can I withdraw funds from my SEP IRA before I reach age 59½?

  • If you withdraw your original contribution or earnings before reaching age 59½, you may be subject to a 10% additional tax.3

Looking for one-on-one advice?
Meet with a licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ in person or on the phone, who will help you pursue your financial goals and plan for what matters most to you.
Tab Two
A SEP IRA offers you and your employees (if you have them) an opportunity to build retirement assets through tax-deferred growth. And as your business grows, Merrill Edge can help meet your changing needs.

Awards and recognition

Barrons 2015 Best Online Broker Survey. 4 of 5 stars.
Rated an outstanding customer service experience by JD Power
Merrill Edge's Contact Centers have been recognized by J.D. Power for providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel for 6 years in a row.5
Looking for one-on-one advice?
Meet with a licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ in person or on the phone, who will help you pursue your financial goals and plan for what matters most to you.
Tab Three

Three ways to get started with your Merrill Edge SEP IRA

Open your account
It takes just minutes to open your account online, and you'll pay no program or administrative fees.
If you need help, give us call at 855.667.9451 Mon—Fri 9 a.m.—8 p.m.
Fund your account
Fund your account using Merrill Lynch E-Contribs for Small Business Retirement Accounts,TM a free web-based solution for making contributions. No paperwork to complete. No checks to write. No postage to pay.
For sole proprietors without employees, there are more ways to fund your account

Transfer cash
Up to 3 days
Fund instantly from your eligible linked Bank of America or Merrill Edge account6.
Within a few days from a linked account at another financial institution.
Wire transfer
Same day
Wire funds electronically from another financial institution.
Write a check
3-5 days
Fund your account by mailing a personal, cashier's or bank check.
Transfer accounts or
8+ days
Transfer an existing brokerage account, IRA account or securities from another financial institution.
Roll over into
10+ days
Consolidate your retirement assets by rolling over accounts held in former employers 401(k), 403(b) or 457 plans into a Merrill Edge IRA2.
You have choices for what to do with your 401(k) or other type of plan-sponsored accounts. Depending on your financial circumstances, needs and goals, you may choose to rollover to an IRA or convert to a Roth IRA, rollover a 401(k) from a prior employer to a 401(k) at your new employer, take a distribution, or leave the account where it is. Each choice may offer different investment options and services, fees and expenses, withdrawal options, required minimum distributions, tax treatment, and provide different protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care.

Start investing
Call 855.667.9451 Mon—Fri 9 a.m.—8 p.m. to speak with a member of our Small Business Financial Solutions Advisors™ team.
Tab Four

Pricing and fees

Merrill Edge offers simple, flat-rate pricing of $6.957 per unlimited online equity and ETF trades — that's lower standard pricing than Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE 8 Learn how you can qualify for $0 trades9
SEP IRA fees
Set-up fees
Minimum initial funding requirement
Annual custodial fees if you work with a Financial Solutions Advisor
Percent of net assets*
*open a SEP IRA with at least $5,000 and we'll waive the annual custodial fee for life

**$50 for multi-employee plans

Investments may be subject to commissions, loads, and operating expenses. Fees may also apply for certain transactions including account closure.
Looking for one-on-one advice?
Meet with a licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor™ in person or on the phone, who will help you pursue your financial goals and plan for what matters most to you.
Ready to get started?
Speak with a Financial Solutions Advisor™
Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET
600 dollar IRA offer
Get up to $600 when you enroll, open and fund a new Merrill Edge® investment account or IRA.
How to qualify

1 As the business owner, your contributions to your SEP IRA account and deductions for such contributions may vary based on your net earnings and self-employment tax deduction. Please consult your tax advisor.

2 Contribution limits for subsequent years may vary.

3 Withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax. In addition, a federal 10% additional tax may apply to withdrawals taken prior to age 59½.

4 Merrill Edge was one of 16 brokers evaluated in the Barron's 2016 Best Online Broker Survey, March 19, 2016. Barron's evaluated firms in 8 categories to rate and rank the firms in those categories, by investor type and provide an overall rating & ranking. Learn more at Barron's is a trademark of Dow Jones & Co., L.P. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission of Barron's.

5 J.D. Power 2016 Certified Contact Center ProgramSM recognition is based on successful completion of an audit and exceeding a customer satisfaction benchmark through a survey of recent servicing interactions. For more information, visit

6 Certain banking and brokerage accounts may be ineligible for real-time money movement, including but not limited to transfers to/from bank IRAs (CD, Money Market), 529s, SafeBalance Banking®, Credit Cards and transfers from IRAs, Loans (HELOC, LOC, Mortgage) and accounts held in the military bank. Accounts eligible for real-time transfers will be displayed online in the to/from drop down menu on the transfer screen.

Costs for services, based on assets, come out of participating individuals' account balances.

7 Other fees may apply. Sell trades are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill Edge pricing, visit

8 Fidelity's standard online price is $7.95 per equity or ETF trade (excluding certain iShares and Fidelity ETFs offered commission-free). Schwab's standard online price is $6.95 per equity or ETF trade (excluding ETFs available through Schwab ETF OneSource™ when placed in a Schwab account that are available commission-free). E*TRADE's standard online price for equity, ETF or option trade is $9.99, $7.99 for customers who trade at least 150 times per quarter, $6.99 for customers who trade 1,500+ times per quarter. TD Ameritrade's standard online price is $9.99 per equity or ETF trade. Note: Competitive comparison pricing information as of 02/02/2017 excludes special promotional offerings and sales of fractional shares.

9 $0 trades are only available with an individual or joint Merrill Edge self-directed brokerage account. When placing a trade, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (MLPF&S) determines whether you meet the balance or relationship requirements to qualify that trade for the $0 waiver. To determine the number of qualifying trades, MLPF&S adds the qualifying trades in your individual accounts and joint accounts. Commission fees apply when qualification requirements are not met, or when you exceed the number of qualifying trades a month. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, option trading, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing, research request and termination apply.

10Merrill Edge Roadmap® is available with a Merrill Edge Advisory CenterTM account

Neither Merrill Lynch nor any of its affiliates or financial advisors provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.