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Understand retirement plan contribution limits

SOLVEDby QuickBooksQuickBooks Desktop Payroll21Updated November 10, 2021

Learn about the yearly retirement plan contribution limits.

A contribution to a retirement plan can be either an after-tax or a deferred compensation. And the tax law placed a limit on how much an employee and employer can contribute in a year. 

QuickBooks automatically adds these limits on your payroll product.

Employee contribution limits


Plan TypeExempt From ****Limit <50 YearsLimit >50 YearsW-2 Box Code
401(k)FIT & SIT$20,500$27,000Box 12 - D
After-tax Roth 401(k)Nothing - Fully Taxable$20,500***$27,000***Box 12 - AA
Simple IRAFIT & SIT$14, 000$17,000Box 12 - S
403(b)/ TSAFIT & SIT$20,500$27,000*Box 12 - E
After-tax Roth 403(b)Nothing - Fully Taxable$20,500***$27,000*Box 12 - BB
408(k)(6) / SEP IRAFIT & SIT$20,500$27,000Box 12 - F
457(b)FIT & SIT$20,500$27,000**Box 12 - G
Roth 457(b)Nothing - Fully Taxable$20,500***$27,000**Box 12 - EE
Plan TypeExempt from ****Limit <50 YearsLimit >50 YearsW-2 Box Code
401(k)FIT & SIT$19,500$26,000Box 12 - D
After-tax Roth 401(k)Nothing - Fully Taxable$19,500***$26,000***Box 12 - AA
Simple IRAFIT & SIT$13,500$16,500Box 12 - S
403(b)/ TSAFIT & SIT$19,500$26,000*Box 12 - E
After-tax Roth 403(b)Nothing - Fully Taxable$19,500***$26,000*Box 12 - BB
408(k)(6) / SEP IRAFIT & SIT$19,500$26,000Box 12 - F
457(b)FIT & SIT$19,500$26,000**Box 12 - G
Roth 457(b)Nothing - Fully Taxable$19,000***$26,000**Box 12 - EE


* There is a special catch-up election for employees who have completed at least 15 years of service with a qualified organization. Such employees are able to contribute an additional $3,000 annually, which brings the limit to $22,000 (<50) or $28,000.00. (>50).  See Retirement Plans FAQs regarding 403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans for additional details.

** Special rules may apply depending on the type of entity and how close the employee is to retirement.

*** IRS rules indicate a Roth 401(k) shares the annual limit with a 401(k) plan. A Roth 403(b) shares the annual limit with a 403(b).

See COLA Increases for Dollar Limitation on Benefits and Contribution for more info.

Company contribution limits

For company contribution limits, refer to IRS Retirement Topics - Contribution Limits or your plan sponsor.

Excess deferral or over-contributing

There are consequences from over-contributing to retirement plans. For more info about excess deferral, visit the IRS website.

Related Articles

For additional info on Employee Limits and Employer (Company) contributions or matches see the IRS resource:

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