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403(b) Plans

The UNC Sytem Voluntary 403(b) Retirement Program allows employees to set aside payroll-deducted contributions on a pre-tax or post-tax (Roth) basis. As a pre-tax deduction, taxes are not paid on contributions or earnings until the time of distribution. As a post-tax (Roth) deduction, taxes are paid at the time of the deduction and these funds can be withdrawn in retirement tax-free after five or more years of participation in the 403(b) Roth plan.

Your Supplemental Retirement Plan Decision Guide - This guide compares all of the supplemental retirement plans available to eligible faculty and staff. 

403(b) Plan Summary - This booklet provides a brief summary about the 403(b) plans.

Who is Eligible?

403(b) plans are available to university employees who pay FICA (social security/medicare) taxes through the university payroll.

Who are the Approved 403(b) Vendors?

How Do I Enroll?

Eligible employees may enroll in a 403(b) at any time.  At the UNC System 403b page employees may access a salary reduction form and enroll online in a vendor plan.   The Salary Reduction Agreement Form (pdf) must be submitted to the University Benefits Office indicating the elected deferral amount either pre-tax, post-tax or a mix of both.  You may fax this form to (919)513-2528 or mail to Campus Box 7215, Raleigh, NC 27695-7215. 

How Much Can I Contribute?

For the 2014 calendar year, the general pre-tax/post-tax contribution limit is set at $17,500. Contributions can be changed at any time by submitting a Salary Reduction Agreement Form (pdf) to the Benefits Office.  You may fax this form to (919)513-2528 or mail to Campus Box 7215, Raleigh, NC 27695-7215. 

Age 50 + Catch Up Contribution

In 2014, employees who are age 50 or older may contribute an additional $5,500 per year.

403(b) Roth Contributions

The combined amount contributed to a Roth 403(b) account and a traditional pre-tax account in any one calendar year for any individual is limited by the Internal Revenue Code 402(g) limit. In 2014, the combined limit is $17,500 plus an additional $5,500 in catch-up contributions if you are age 50 or older by the end of the year. Participation in the 403(b) Roth plan is not limited by income or participation in a Roth IRA. Visit the UNC System 403(b) FAQ site for additional information.

What Are My Investment Options?

Fidelity and TIAA-CREF offer four tiers of investment choices.  Within these tiers participants will find access to thousands of funds.  Your investments can be as simple as a life-cycle fund or as complex as desired.

Visit the UNC System 403(b) FAQ site for additional information.

Accessing My Funds?

Generally, distributions from 403(b) accounts can be made when an employee reaches age 59 ½, severs employment, becomes disabled or dies. Under minimum required distribution rules, an employee must receive all or at least a minimum portion of interest accrued after 1986 by April 1 of the calendar year following the year in which the employee reaches age 70 ½ or retires, whichever is later. The 403b vendors can provide more details on minimum required distribution rules.

What Are My Distribution Options?

The following is a comprehensive, but not inclusive list, of permissible distributions from a 403(b) account after termination of employment or retirement.

  • -Roll over of contributions and interest to a qualified plan or Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
  • -Minimum distributions (typically at age 70 ½)
  • -Substantially equal payments for duration of life expectancy
  • -Substantially equal payments over the joint lives of the employee and his/her beneficiary
  • -Substantially equal payments over 10 years or more

Visit the UNC System 403(b) FAQ site for additional information.

Link to the UNC System 403b website

Your Supplemental Retirement Plan Decision Guide

Salary Reduction Agreement Form (pdf)

You may fax this form to (919)513-2528 or mail to Campus Box 7215, Raleigh, NC 27695-7215.