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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Benefits help for a sole propietor

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 8/1/2011

Q: I scanned your website and was wondering which small business benefit plans are available to a sole proprietor and his wife (me) who is a part-time employee (20 hours/week). We have no other employees and will never have other employees.

A: The federal tax laws governing employee benefit plans make a distinction between owner/employees and common law (non-owner) employees. To further complicate the issue, owners of C corporations and principals of non-taxable entities are treated as employees while the owners and their spouses of S corporations, LLCs, and partners as self-employed individuals. For this reason, the benefit plans recommended for sole proprietors are often different than for other types of businesses.

The biggest area of difference is the coverage for uninsured health care expenses. Sole proprietors cover these most effectively through a health savings account. Other businesses prefer to use a health reimbursement arrangement. It may sound trivial at first glance, but this tax issue has significant impact on sole proprietors. Benefits for sole proprietors are best developed on a case-by-case basis to fit exactly the needs of the individual. The availability of health insurance, for example, is a key issue that varies widely from one person to the next. In any event, the goal is the same: to pay for as many of the owner's expenses as possible on a tax-free basis.

Freedom Benefits Association provides low cost personal professional help in developing these benefits that best fit your situation. Service can be ordered online and a telephone consultation can usually be scheduled within one business day. After discussing your situation with the adviser you will have a much better understanding of the most efficient approach for your business

Sole proprietors can select from any individual insurance or group insurance plans that are available depending primarily on medical eligibility limitations.

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