IRS Contribution, Benefit Limits for 2020 in Detail

The IRS has announced cost-of-living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2020. The 2020 limits are contained in Notice 2019-59, released Nov. 6.

The limits for 2020 are as follows:

The limitation under Code Section 402(g)(1) on the exclusion for elective deferrals described in Code Section 402(g)(3) is $19,500. The IRS set the 2019 level at $19,000; the 2018 level was $18,500, and that for 2017 and 2016 was $18,000.

The limitation on deferrals under Code Section 457(e)(15) concerning deferred compensation plans of state and local governments and tax-exempt organizations is $19,500 for 2020. The 2019, 2018 and 2017 levels were $19,000, $18,500 and $18,000, respectively.

For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $196,000 and $206,000; the 2019 levels were $193,000 and $203,000, respectively.

The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $196,000 to $206,000 for married couples filing jointly; the 2019 range was $193,000 to $203,000. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $124,000 to $139,000; the 2019 range was $122,000 to $137,000.

The AGI limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the retirement savings contribution credit) under Code Sections 25B(b)(1)(C) and 25B(b)(1)(D) is as follows:

  • $65,000 for married couples filing jointly; the 2019 level was $64,000;
  • $48,750 for heads of household; the 2018 level was $48,000; and
  • $32,500 for married individuals filing separately and for singles; the 2019 level was $32,000.

The limitation on the annual benefit under a defined benefit plan under Internal Revenue Code Section 415(b)(1)(A) is $230,000; the 2019 level was $225,000, the 2018 level was $220,000, and that for 2017, 2016 and 2015 was $215,000. For a participant who separated from service before Jan. 1, 2020, the limitation for defined benefit plans under Code Section 415(b)(1)(B) is computed by multiplying the participant’s compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2019, by 1.0176.

The limitation for defined contribution plans under Code Section 415(c)(1)(A) is $57,000; the 2019, 2018 and 2017 limits were $56,000, $55,000 and $54,000, respectively.

The dollar amount under Code Section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii) for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a five-year distribution period is $1,150,000; the levels for 2019, 2018 and 2017 were $1,130,000, $1,105,000 and $1,080,000, respectively. The dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the five-year distribution period is $230,000; the 2019, 2018 and 2017 levels were $225,000, $220,000 and $215,000, respectively.

The dollar limitation under Code Section 416(i)(1)(A)(i) concerning the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is set at $185,000; the 2019 level was $180,000 and that for 2018 and 2017 was $175,000.

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b) most 457 plans is $6,500, up from the 2019 and 2018 level of $6,000.

The limit for an individual making qualified retirement contributions is $6,000, the same as the 2019 level; the limit for 2018 and 2017 was $5,500.

The dollar limitation under Code Section 414(v)(2)(B)(i) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan is $6,500; the level had been $6,000 for 2019, 2018 and 2017. The dollar limitation under Code Section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii) for catch-up contributions to an applicable employer plan described in Code Section 401(k)(11) or Code Section 408(p) for individuals aged 50 or over is $3,000, which was also the level for 2019, 2018 and 2017.

The limitation under Code Section 408(p)(2)(E) regarding SIMPLE retirement accounts is $13,500, up from the 2019 level of $13,000.

Compensation Limits

The annual compensation limit under Code Sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii) is $285,000; that of 2019, 2018 and 2017 had been $280,000, $275,000 and $270,000, respectively.

The limitation used in the definition of a highly compensated employee under Code Section 414(q)(1)(B) for 2019 is $130.000; it stood at $125,000 in 2019, and $120,000 for 2018 and 2017.

The annual compensation limitation under Section 401(a)(17) for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost of living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Code Section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is $425,000; the level in 2019, 2018 and 2017 had been $415,000, $405,000 and $400,000, respectively.

The compensation amount under Code Section 408(k)(2)(C) regarding simplified employee pensions (SEPs) is $600, which was also the level for 2019 and 2018.

The compensation amount under Treas. Reg. §1.61 21(f)(5)(i) concerning the definition of “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation is $115,000; it had been $110,000 for 2019 and 2018, and $105,000 in 2017. The compensation amount under Treas. Reg. §1.61 21(f)(5)(iii) is $230,000; it stood at $225,000, $220,000 and $215,000 in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.

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