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Retirement Plan Limits

IRS announces adjustments to key retirement plan limits

In Notice 2021-61, the IRS recently announced 2022 cost-of-living adjustments to dollar limits and thresholds for qualified retirement plans. Here are some highlights:

Elective deferrals. The annual limit on elective deferrals (employee contributions) will increase from $19,500 to $20,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pensions (SARSEPs). The annual limit will rise to $14,000, up from $13,500, for Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLEs) and SIMPLE IRAs.

Catch-up contributions. The annual limit on catch-up contributions for individuals age 50 and over remains at $6,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for SARSEPs. It also stays at $3,000 for SIMPLEs and SIMPLE IRAs.

Annual additions. The limit on annual additions — that is, employer contributions plus employee contributions — to 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans will increase from $58,000 to $61,000.

Compensation. The annual limit on compensation that can be taken into account for contributions and deductions will increase from $290,000 to $305,000 for 401(k)s and other qualified plans. This includes Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) and SARSEPs.

Highly compensated employees (HCEs). The threshold for determining who is an HCE will increase from $130,000 to $135,000.

Key employees. The threshold for determining whether an officer is a “key employee” under the top-heavy rules, as well as the cafeteria plan nondiscrimination rules, will increase from $185,000 to $200,000.

Participation in a SEP or SARSEP. The threshold for determining participation in either type of plan will remain $650.

Business owners, along with their HR and benefits staff or providers, should carefully note when the new limits and thresholds apply. Sometimes the answer isn’t obvious. For example, the 2022 compensation threshold used to identify HCEs will be generally used by 401(k) plans for 2023 nondiscrimination testing, not 2022.

Review your employee communications, plan procedures and administrative forms, updating them as necessary to reflect these changes. Whether your company offers a 401(k) or another type of defined contribution plan, we can provide further information on the applicable tax rules.

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