Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced a measure last week that will make it easier for workers with no employer-sponsored retirement plan to save through automatic payroll deductions, which can then be deposited into an individual retirement account (IRA).

Employers with 10 or more employees that don't sponsor a retirement plan would be required to offer an auto-IRA plan through payroll deductions. Failing to offer an automatic IRA will result in an excise tax of $100 for each employee who was supposed to be covered.

Employers will receive a $250 tax credit to cover the administrative costs of setting up the IRA account, but they will not be allowed to make a contribution to it. A summary of the bill states the measure is designed to minimize employers' administrative functions and will involve little (if any) out-of-pocket employer cost.

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