Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I enroll in the 403(b) plan and start making contributions?
If your employer has a written plan on file with us, complete an enrollment form here. Have your employer submit it to MBA using the information provided on the form.
- If you are an employee of an Assemblies of God church or ministry, complete a Payroll Deduction Form and provide it to your payroll administrator. Your ministry employer will submit the deferrals online or by mail to us using the approved form. Your ministry employer can include any employer-paid retirement benefit at the same time.
- If you are a self-employed minister (filing Schedule C or eligible to file Schedule C with your federal tax return on ministry-related income) or a chaplain, you may complete a contribution form and mail it with your check to us. You must indicate that you are a self-employed minister or chaplain on the form. We will require certain certifications from you.
Can I send a personal check for a retirement contribution?
You may contribute on a personal check if you have compensation as a credentialed minister and receive a 1099-MISC form for it or if you are employed as a credentialed minister at a non-Assemblies of God employer. Please consult your tax advisor. All other contributions must come from an Assemblies of God employer.
What are my 403(b) contribution limits?
I’m an Assemblies of God minister and a chaplain. Can I contribute to the 403(b) plan? Are my contributions tax deductible?
Chaplains and other Assemblies of God credentialed ministers who are employed in ministry by a non-Assemblies of employer may participate in the plan through their employer or by their own check. You can mail your contribution using a personal check by noting your status as a chaplain on the form.
The contribution may be named as an elective pre-tax deferral, a Roth after-tax deferral, an employer contribution, or a traditional after-tax contribution. The 403(b) contribution limits apply and are based on income from ministry work. You can deduct pre-tax deferrals and employer contributions on your federal income tax return. Consult a tax professional for guidance.
What is the definition of a self-employed minister for retirement contribution purposes?
If you file or are eligible to file a Schedule C for your federal income taxes on your ministry related income, you are likely eligible to contribute to the AG retirement plan as a self-employed minister. Consult your own tax advisor to determine your self-employment status in this situation. Credentialed ministers who file taxes as self-employed for income and SECA tax purposes may not qualify as self-employed for contribution purposes if they are considered common lawemployee of an Assemblies of God ministry.
What type of funds make up the different investments offered by the AG 403(b) retirement plan?
How can I make changes to my investment allocations?
You may make changes to your investment allocations online or by written request using the Investment Change Form. Once the form is completed, submit it by email, mail, or fax using the information provided on the form. For written requests, you will receive a letter confirming when the change has been made to your account.
For your protection, changes cannot be made by phone.
Whom should I talk to if I’m having trouble reading my retirement statement?
When does my spouse need to sign the spousal consent?
When completing the enrollment form, your spouse does not need to sign the consent form unless you are naming someone other than your spouse as a primary beneficiary. On payout distributions, spousal consent is always required.
Does my spouse have access to my retirement account?
Generally, no. The retirement account is an individual account. If your spouse has been granted certain powers of attorney, then your spouse can act on your behalf if you have provided a copy of the power of attorney form to us.
Who will get the money in my retirement account upon my death?
If you are married, your spouse is your beneficiary unless he/she has waived that privilege in writing. Otherwise, your accounts with MBA are left to the beneficiary(ies) you’ve named and are on file with MBA at the time of your death. Individuals as well as a trust can be named as beneficiaries. When naming a trust, you will need to provide a copy of the entire trust document for our records. If you fail to make a beneficiary designation on your own, the MBA plan document determines your beneficiary. It is always best to name your own beneficiaries in consultation with your estate planning advisor. Download beneficiary form »
The beneficiary(ies) can either keep the funds with MBA (as long as each beneficiary 403(b) account balance is over $1,000) or receive the funds. To process a beneficiary distribution, MBA requires a certified death certificate as well as the completion of our forms.
Is the Roth 403(b) similar to a Roth IRA?
A Roth 403(b) is similar to a Roth IRA in the following ways:
- Compensation used to fund a Roth is taxed before being contributed to a Roth account.
Earnings grow tax-free.
- Qualified distributions are made tax-free and penalty-free. A qualified distribution is one where the Roth account has been open for the 5-taxable-year period of participation and meets other qualifications.
A Roth 403(b) is similar to a traditional 403(b) deferral contribution in virtually all other aspects. It is important to note that qualifications for a tax-free, penalty-free distribution differ between Roth 403(b)s and Roth IRAs.
- Compensation used to fund a Roth is taxed before being contributed to a Roth account.
May I contribute to a Roth 403(b) account and a traditional 403(b) pre-tax account in the same year?
You may contribute to both a Roth and traditional 403(b) pre-tax account in the same year. The combined contribution may not exceed the IRS established limits. View limits »
As my tax circumstances change, may I change my Roth contributions to pre-tax contributions?
You may elect to have your future contributions made as pre-tax contributions to the 403(b) plan. Any contributions that have already been designated as Roth contributions cannot be changed to pre-tax contributions.
What effect does a Roth 403(b) contribution have on my Social Security and Medicare taxes?
Non-credentialed employees will still pay Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes on the amount that is contributed to a Roth account just as they do with the traditional pre-tax 403(b) deferral. Credentialed ministers should consult their own advisors to determine the taxability for SECA purposes on both the Roth and traditional pre-tax contributions.
What is retired clergy housing allowance?
Section 107 of the Internal Revenue Code allows “ministers of the gospel” to exclude some or all of their ministerial income designated by their church or church-related employer as a housing allowance from income for federal income tax purposes.
What constitutes “retirement” for clergy housing allowance purposes?
As the endorsed retirement plan of the General Council of the Assemblies of God, MBA is authorized to declare a clergy housing allowance on distributions paid to retired ministers. What constitutes “retirement” depends on an individual’s particular facts and circumstances. For example, if a minister is receiving retirement benefits from and making contributions to the same plan, the IRS may not consider that minister retired for purposes of the housing allowance and the favorable SECA tax treatment. Similarly, the IRS may not view a minister as retired if they have not had a meaningful break in service or change in work duties. In addition, the IRS may not view a minister as retired if they are age 701/2 or older and have filed the paperwork to delay a required minimum distribution from their retirement account. Ministers should consult a qualified tax advisor to address their personal situation.
Who can have a clergy housing allowance declared on MBA retirement distributions?
Credentialed clergy and formerly credentialed ministers may receive their distributions from MBA as clergy housing allowance to the extent that they received the contribution and related earnings on compensation related to ministerial duties. It does not matter if the credentials are with the Assemblies of God or other denominations or fellowships. Proof of credentials is required. Housing Allowance cannot be declared on inherited retirement accounts even if it was from a spouse who was credentialed.
When I die, can my spouse get the funds from my 403(b) using the housing allowance if they are credentialed with the Assemblies of God?
No. The IRS allows a designated housing allowance on distributions from retirement to the individual who earned the compensation on which the retirement contribution was made. If a credentialed spouse has ministry compensation, consider having your spouse open an MBA 403(b) account for him/herself. Also, consider designated Roth 403(b) contributions. A Roth account will allow your spouse to have qualifying distributions that are not taxable after your death.
Can I transfer money from other retirement accounts into MBA and use retired clergy housing allowance to distribute it tax free?
Housing allowance can only be declared for income earned in the service as a minister. This is true of rollovers or transfers into MBA as well as monies contributed directly to MBA.
Can I take multiple distributions from my 403(b)?
MBA does not limit the number of distributions you take in a calendar year. MBA allows for one change in a periodic distribution in each calendar year without a charge. A first-time start-up of a periodic distribution does not count as a change in your periodic distribution. One non-periodic distribution per calendar year is allowed without a charge. A periodic distribution is one that you take on a recurring basis either monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. A non-periodic is a one-time distribution. Each distribution over and above your free request for the calendar year is subject to a $50 fee. Due to additional costs that MBA incurs, we also charge for special handling requests, such as bank wire.
Is there a penalty when I make a distribution?
MBA does not charge you a penalty. If you are under 591/2 you may incur a 10% IRS penalty for an early distribution. If your distribution is not covered by clergy housing you will incur a 20% mandatory IRS withholding. This is not a penalty. There are exceptions to the IRS penalty such as a distribution after you have had a total disability as defined in Internal Revenue Code 72(m)(7).
I am not old enough to retire. Can I access the funds in my MBA 403(b) retirement plan?
Tax laws and plan restrictions put limitations on when you can take distributions from your 403(b) retirement funds. You can withdraw traditional after-tax (but not Roth) funds and balances from rollovers at any time. Please be aware that taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty may apply to the taxableportion of the distribution.
All other 403(b) funds can be accessed only in the following situations:
- Severance from employment (termination of Assemblies of God credentials)
- Attainment of age 591/2
- A total and permanent disability
- For a financial hardship as defined by law and the plan document
- For your beneficiaries at your death
When are distributions allowed from a 403(b) Roth account?
Distributions that are free from tax and penalties can be made when the Roth account has been open for the 5-taxable-year period of participation and one of the following events happen:
- You reach age 59 1/2
- You become disabled
- Your beneficiaries receive distributions upon your death
You may have a distribution (and in some cases are required to take a distribution) when you no longer have credentials with the Assemblies of God and/or when you sever employment from an Assemblies of God employer. These distributions are taxable and are subject to penalty. It is important to note that the allowances for distribution of Roth 403(b) accounts, including distributions of principal, are different than the allowances for Roth IRA distributions.
How long may I delay receiving distributions on a Roth 403(b) account?
You may delay receiving distributions until April 1 of the year you turn age 70 1/2 or retire, whichever is later.
Do I have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on distributions from my 403(b) retirement account?
Retired ministry employees:
No. Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes are not required on retirement distributions.
Retired ministers may not have to pay Social Security and Medicare (SECA) taxes on 403(b) distributions designated as housing allowance by MBA. Ministers should consult a qualified tax advisor regarding their personal situation.
Deferred Compensation Plan
What is a 409A Plan?
A 409A is a Deferred Compensation Plan. This plan has no contribution limits, but is much more restrictive than the 403(b) plan. More information »
Is there a limit on the amount that can be contributed to a 409A Deferred Compensation Plan?
There are no limits on contribution amounts for a 409A Plan other than that you must fulfill, but cannot exceed, the annual contribution election filed by your ministry. Contributions, along with other pay, may not exceed what the IRS would consider reasonable compensation.
How long does it take to process a 403(b) retirement loan?
A loan can take as little as a week to process. ACH distributions are usually deposited in bank accounts on Tuesdays and Fridays Paperwork must be in our office four working days prior to the expected deposit date. We must have a completed loan application and other documentation from you to start the process. More information »
Can I pay extra or make double payments on the 403(b) loan?
Our program is not set up at this time to receive double or additional payments. Monthly payments must be made via ACH/bank draft or you can pay your loan in full at any time. Please contact our office to confirm your current loan payoff balance before sending payment.
What documents does an employer need to submit to participate in the 403(b) plan?
Employers must submit a written plan and a service agreement. The written plan outlines what the organization intends to offer their employees. This may include how much the employer will contribute, when the contributions will be made (e.g. monthly, yearly), and other plan rules. The service agreement identifies the roles and responsibilities of the employer and MBA.
For more information see IRS 403(b) Compliance
Why does my church need a written plan to participate in the 403(b) program?
The IRS requires employers to have a written plan. The written plan outlines what the organization intends to offer their employees. Contribution details, such as making an annual rather than monthly contribution to the 403(b) plan, should be stated in your plan.
As long as you are following the terms of your plan including administration, timely remittance of deferrals, and monitoring contribution limits, you will remain in compliance. If you make changes to the provisions of your plan, you will need to submit the revised document to MBA.
Can my spouse, who is not credentialed or employed with the Assemblies of God, participate in the 403(b) plan?
No. MBA is the employer plan endorsed by the General Council of the Assemblies of God. Like all employer plans, you must be an employee of an Assemblies of God institution or church to participate. Credentialed Assemblies of God ministers are automatically allowed to participate if they have ministry-earned income.