Safe Harbor 401(k) - safe harbor status guaranteed through a given tax year?

Can a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan change (e.g., employer stops matching) mid-year to no longer be a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan?

I ask because I contributed to my previous employer’s 401(k) plan this year (2022) and am unsure if this year’s 401(k) contributions may still be partially reversed later due the plan losing Safe Harbor status and then failing nondiscrimination tests. If that’s a possibility then I’d postpone rolling over my 401(k) balance to an IRA because unwinding the rollover to partially reverse contributions would be a massive headache.

1 Like

This is an automatically-generated Wiki post for this new topic. Any member can edit this post and use it as a summary of the topic’s highlights.

Yes, they can screw it up, but many changes are still allowed.

Yes, it certainly would. If you’re at all concerned, wait til around this time next year before you move the 401k funds out.


Thanks! Guess I’ll deal w/ this less-than-ideal 401(k) for another year before rolling it over.

1 Like

Seconded! Wow! I’ve only known one person who went through this, and they were fortunate enough to have been lazy and not moved their 401(k). Despite his experience, I don’t recommend “laziness” as viable financial planning advice.

1 Like

I’ve had 401(k) contributions partially reversed before. I was still employed at that company though so hadn’t rolled over that 401(k) yet. Thus the 401(k) contribution reversal process was hands off for me.

I know one person who had to deal w/ the headache of unwinding a 401(k) → IRA rollover due to the previous company’s 401(k) failing nondiscrimination tests. The 401(k) was never a Safe Harbor plan though. Was a massive headache and neither company (i.e., the 401(k) administrator and the company that held the IRA) initially knew how to handle it. IIRC it took weeks, hours of phone calls, and hours of waiting at a B&M location to get it settled.

Was hoping I could safely roll over my Safe Harbor 401(k) now but will hold off given that changes can be made mid-year and possibly cause loss of Safe Harbor status.

1 Like

Is it now safe to roll over a 401(k) from a previous employer that I left in 2022 if I haven’t yet received any indication that the 401(k) has lost safe harbor status and failed non-discrimination tests (e.g., no notifications received and no contributions reversed) yet? Or can 2022’s contributions still be (partially) reversed?