IRS Contribution Limits

Understanding IRS contribution limits is important, especially when your goal is to contribute the maximum to your account. Even if you can’t do the max, consider increasing your contribution a little each year to potentially move closer to your retirement goals.

2016 and 2017 Deferral Limits1

Plan Contribution limit
457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan Up to 100 percent of your compensation, but no more than $18,000
403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity Plan Up to 100 percent of your compensation, but no more than $18,000
401(k) Savings & Investment Plan Up to 100 percent of your compensation, but no more than $18,000

When participating in both the 457(b) and 401(k) (or 403(b)) plan, you may contribute $18,000 per year to each plan, for a total of $36,000. If you are participating in both the 401(k) and 403(b) plans, your total combined contribution amount cannot be higher than $18,000 (or $24,000 if using the Age 50 catch-up provision).

2016 and 2017 deferral limits with catch-up provisions

For complete details, read more about catch-up contributions.

Catch-up provision Standard deferral limit Deferral limit with Age 50 catch-up Deferral limit with Special 457(b) catch-up
If you’re under age 50 this year, you may defer as much as: If you’re age 50 or older this year, you may defer as much as: If you’re within three years of retirement, you may defer as much as:
457(b) plan $18,000 $24,000 ($18,000 + $6,000) $36,000 ($18,000 + $18,000)
401(k) or 403(b) $18,000 $24,000 ($18,000 + $6,000) $24,000 (if you use the Age 50 catch-up with 401(k) or 403(b))
Total $36,000 $48,000 $60,000

How much should I contribute?

Look at how much you would need to contribute each pay period if your goal is to contribute $18,000 for the year.

Pay frequency Contribution
Weekly (52 pays) $346.15
Bi-weekly (26 pays) $692.31
Semi-monthly (24 pays) $750.00
Monthly (12 pays) $1,500.00

To stay up-to-date on any changes to the IRS deferral limits, visit the Retirement Plans Community on the IRS website.

Get the help you need

Talk with one of our Retirement Specialists for more information about planning for your retirement.


1IRS Announces 2017 Pension Plan Limitations - IR-2016-141, Oct. 27, 2016

NRW-2981MD-MD.5
NRW-2981MD-MD.5
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