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The contributions to the 401k plan, and subsequent investments, are either pooled, or self-directed by each employee participant. A Self-Directed 401k Plan can invest in real estate, notes, limited partneships, LLCs, or other alternative investments for which there is not readily available value. Therefore a value must be determined by a valuation or appraisal by an independent expert. The 401k Plan Appraisal, or 401k Plan Valuation is then reported to the IRS on the annual Form 5500 filing.
For relatively small companies, or corporations, the valuation guidelines set forth in IRS Revenue Ruling 59-60. For larger companies, and corporations, the valuation guidelines of Financial Accounting Standards, FAS 157 should be applied.
A 401k Plan is a company or corporation sponsored retirement plan in which the employee participant contributes a percentage to the 401k plan, and the company, or corporation, contributes a percentage to the employees plan account. The employers contribution is often a matching contribution, but sometimes it is variable, as it may be connected to a profit sharing plan. All investment held by a 401k Plan compounds tax-deferred.