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annual plan limits

Annual Plan Limits

Each year the U.S. government adjusts the limits for qualified plans and Social Security to reflect cost-of-living adjustments and changes in the law. Many of these limits are based on the "plan year" as defined in the plan document. The elective deferral and catch-up limits are always based on the calendar year.

2017 2015-2016* 2014
Compensation $270,000 $265,000 $260,000
Limits on benefits and contributions:
  • Defined contribution plans
$54,000 $53,000 $52,000
  • Defined benefit plans
$215,000 $210,000 $210,000
  • 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plan elective deferrals
$18,000 $18,000 $17,500
  • SIMPLE plan elective deferrals
$12,500 $12,500 $12,000
  • IRA
$5,500 $5,500 $5,500
Catch-up contributions:
  • 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans
$6,000 $6,000 $5,500
  • SIMPLE plans
$3,000 $3,000 $2,500
  • IRA
$1,000 $1,000 $1,000
"Highly Compensated" definition $120,000 $120,000 $115,000
"Key Employee" definition:
  • Officer
$175,000 $170,000 $170,000
  • 1% owner
$150,000 $150,000 $150,000
Social Security taxable wage base $127,200 $118,500 $117,000

*The 2015 limits remained unchanged for 2016 because the increase in the cost-of-living index did not meet the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.

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