Today’s on-line edition of the Bellevue News Democrat (Belleville, Illinois) carried a story that the verdict was split on Roth 401(k) and cited a Hewitt survey that employers were taking a cautious approach in adopting Roth.

Like the large companies surveyed by Hewitt, very few small employer have added Roth to their plans. And not out of caution, but for a different reason. Most business owners have heard about Roth 401(k) but very few realize the extent of significant retirement and estate planning opportunities.

For example, the Roth 401(k) will appeal to those business owners and highly compensated employees who are more likely than most to not outlive their pensions. They expect to rollover a Roth 401(k) distribution to Roth IRA and avoid required minimum distributions.

Why is it important for small businesses to add Roth 401(k) to their plans now ? The clock is ticking. Earnings in the Roth 401(k) are tax-free if the contribution remains for five years after the first contribution and certain conditions are satisfied. The five year clock begins with the first year for which the first Roth 401(k) contribution is made. And without congressional extension the Roth 401(k) provision will end December 31, 2010.