Annual Plan Limits

As the IRS makes changes to the annual qualified retirement plan limits and maximum contributions, EIP will keep you informed and help you determine if your plan still meets your objectives. Below are some of the current plan limits, as well as the numbers for the prior two years.

2021 2020 2019 2018
Max Defined Contribution $58,000 $57,000 $56,000 $55,000
Max Defined Benefit 230,000 230,000 225,000 220,000
Max Compensation 290,000 285,000 280,000 275,000
Max 401(k) Deferral 19,500 19,500 19,000 18,500
Catch-Up Contributions 6,500 6,500 6,000 6,000
Highly Compensated Employee 130,000 130,000 125,000 120,000
Social Security Tax Wage Base 142,800 137,700 132,900 128,400


The Max Defined Contribution is the maximum annual contribution amount that can be made to a participant’s account in a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) plan or a profit sharing plan (Internal Revenue Code section 415).

The Max Defined Benefit is the maximum annual benefit that can be paid to a participant in a defined benefit pension plan (IRC section 415).

The Max Compensation is the maximum amount that can be used to calculate contribution allocations (IRC section 401(a)(17)).

The Max 401(k) Deferral is the maximum contribution that can be made on a pre-tax basis to a 401(k) plan (IRC section 402(g)(1)).

The Catch-Up Contributions are the amounts that individuals aged 50 or over can make in addition to the deferral limits under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001 (EGTRRA).

The Highly Compensated Employee amount is the minimum compensation level used for purposes of nondiscrimination testing. Anyone above the limit is considered highly compensated for testing purposes (IRC section 414(q)(1)(B)).

The Social Security Tax Wage Base can be used to provide a higher contribution allocation to employees above that level in certain types of integrated profit sharing plans.

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