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2021 Retirement Plan Limits Released by IRS

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Amber Ramirez
Important Dates
  • October 26, 2020: The IRS released the 2021 retirement plan limits.
  • January 1, 2021: The effective date of the 2021 retirement plan limits.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released Notice 2020-79, which contains the cost-of-living adjustments for 2021 that will affect the number of employees who can contribute to 401(k) plans and IRAs, most of which remain unchanged.

Key limits that remain unchanged include the following:

  • The employee contribution limit for 401(k) plans will remain $19,500. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over also remains unchanged at $6,500.
  • The employee contribution limit for IRAs will remain $6,000. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over also remains unchanged, at $1,000.
  • The employee contribution limit for SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k) plans will remain $13,500.
  • The limits used to define a “highly compensated employee” and a “key employee” will remain $130,000 and $185,000, respectively.

The employee contribution limits for 401(k) plans, IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and SIMPLE 401(k) plans remain unchanged.

2021 Increases:

The following limits increased for 2021:

  • The annual limit for defined contribution plans (for example, 401(k) plans, profit-sharing plans, and money purchase plans) is increased to $58,000, up from $57,000.
  • The annual compensation limit (applicable to many retirement plans) is increased to $290,000, up from $285,000.

The income ranges when determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional IRAs, to contribute to Roth IRAs, and to claim the Saver’s Credits – also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit – also increased for 2021. The IRS news release contains more details.


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