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.

  2018 2017 2015-2016*
Compensation $275,000 $270,000 $265,000
Limits on benefits and contributions:
Defined contribution plans $55,000 $54,000 $53,000
Defined benefit plans $220,000 $215,000 $210,000
401(k), 403(b) and 457 plan elective deferrals $18,500 $18,000 $18,000
SIMPLE plan elective deferrals $12,500 $12,500 $12,500
IRA $5,500 $5,500 $5,500
Catch-up contributions:
401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans $6,000 $6,000 $6,000
SIMPLE plans $3,000 $3,000 $3,000
IRA $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
"Highly Compensated" definition $120,000 $120,000 $120,000
"Key Employee" definition:
Officer $175,000 $175,000 $170,000
1% owner $150,000 $150,000 $150,000
Social Security taxable wage base $128,700 $127,200 $118,500

*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.