The rules for starting a retirement, profit sharing or 401(K) plan are different from the rules for opening an IRA. Several deadlines are looming.

While IRA's can be opened as late as April 15th of the following year, retirement plans must generally be in place by December 31st. In addition, an employee's voluntary contributions to a 401(k) must be received by 12/31; not after the year ends as you can do with an IRA. Finally, a plan that incorporates any "Safe Harbor" design features also includes some 30 to 90 day advance notice requirements to the participants.

If you are a business owner considering starting a retirement plan and making some tax deductible contributions for 2014, the time to act is now. Consider your objectives, your budget, and then hire an expert to help you navigate the rules and deadlines.