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Greetings, Merlottwins, and welcome. You wrote:

<<I moonlight as an independent contractor and was planning to establish a simple IRA. I'm already fully contributing to my Roth IRA and Spousal IRA. I'm not eligible for a 401K as I'm in the military. I just found out that I've missed the Oct 31st deadline to establish my simple IRA but I can still get a SEP. What's the difference? >>

For an overview of both the SIMPLE and the SEP, see my Foolish Retirement Plan Primer at You should also read IRS Publication 560 (Retirement Plans for Small Business) available at While it's too late to establish a SIMPLE for tax-year 1999, you may still open a SEP until the date your tax return is due.

The SIMPLE will allow you to make tax-deferred contributions of up to 3% of compensation as the employer plus up to $6K as the employee. The SEP allows you to contribute up to 15% of net self-employed compensation. Of the two, the SIMPLE is slightly more complex to administer.

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