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2017 Cost of Living Adjustments for Retirement Plans

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced its cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for retirement plans and Social Security generally effective for Tax Year 2017 (see IR-2016-141). Most notably, the limitation on annual salary deferrals into a 401(k) plan (along with many other retirement plan limitations) remains unchanged. The dollar limits are as follows:

Cost Of Living Adjustments
LIMIT 2016 2017
401(k)/403(b) Elective Deferral Limit (IRC § 402(g))

The annual limit on an employee’s elective deferrals to a 401(k) or 403(b) plan made through salary reduction.

$18,000 $18,000
Government/Tax Exempt Deferral Limit (IRC § 457(e)(15))

The annual limit on an employee’s elective deferrals concerning Section 457 deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations.

$18,000 $18,000
401(k)/403(b)/457 Catch-up Limit (IRC § 414(v)(2)(B)(i))

In addition to the regular limit on elective deferrals described above, employees over the age of 50 generally can make an additional “catch-up” contribution not to exceed this limit.

$6,000 $6,000
Defined Contribution Plan Limit (IRC § 415(c))

The limitation for annual contributions to a defined contribution plan (such as a 401(k) plan or profit sharing plan).

$53,000 $54,000
Defined Benefit Plan Limit (IRC § 415(b))

The limitation on the annual benefits from a defined benefit plan.

$210,000 $215,000
Annual Compensation Limit (IRC § 401(a)(17))

The maximum amount of compensation that may be taken into account for benefit calculations and nondiscrimination testing.

$265,000

($395,000 for certain gov’t plans)

$270,000

($400,000 for certain gov’t plans)

Highly Compensated Employee Threshold (IRC § 414(q))

The definition of an HCE includes a compensation threshold for the prior year. A retirement plan’s discrimination testing is based on coverage and benefits for HCEs.

$120,000

(for 2016 HCE determination)

$120,000

(for 2017 HCE determination)

Key Employee Compensation Threshold (IRC § 416)

The definition of a key employee includes a compensation threshold. Key employees must be determined for purposes of applying the top-heavy rules. Generally, a plan is top-heavy if the plan benefits of key employees exceed 60% of the aggregate plan benefits of all employees.

$170,000 $175,000
SEP Minimum Compensation Limit (IRC § 408(k)(2)(C))

The mandatory participation requirements for a simplified employee pension (SEP) includes this minimum compensation threshold.

$600 $600
SIMPLE Employee Contribution (IRC § 408(p)(2)(E))

The limitation on deferrals to a SIMPLE retirement account.

$12,500 $12,500
SIMPLE Catch-up Limit (IRC § 414(v)(2)(B)(ii)))

The maximum amount of catch-up contributions that individuals age 50 or over may make to a SIMPLE retirement account or SIMPLE 401(k) plan.

$3,000 $3,000
Social Security Taxable Wage Base $118,500 $127,20
Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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About this Author

Keith A. Dropkin, Jackson Lewis, welfare benefit plans lawyer, payroll taxes attorney
Principal

Keith Dropkin is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Mr. Dropkin counsels clients regarding various benefit issues including fiduciary duty obligations, corrections under the DOL and IRS compliance programs, the drafting and design of pension and welfare benefit plans, payroll taxes and those issues arising in mergers and acquisitions. He has represented clients ranging from self-employed individuals to Fortune Top 50 companies. Mr. Dropkin speaks and writes regularly about employee...

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