As Republicans on Capitol Hill begin the heavy lifting of reforming the country's corporate and individual tax codes, lawmakers are forming proposals that would dramatically impact the tax-preferential treatment of 401(k) plans.

One idea being floated would treat all 401(k) deferrals as after-tax contributions, or as Roth 401(k) deferrals are now treated.

That would create a seismic change to the country's employer-based retirement system, and poses potential unintended consequences that industry insiders fear will disincentivize employers from offering defined contribution retirement savings plans.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.