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Detailed 403(b) Plan Limits Information

Important Observation: The limitations on 403(b) plan contributions discussed on this page apply to plans that involve age 50 catch-up, 15 years-of-service catch-up, employer discretionary and/or matching, and Roth contributions. Your employer's plan may or may not offer any or all of these optional features. To determine what optional features are available in your employer's 403(b) plan, go to the Employee Information page, select your employer from the CCC Clients list, and scroll down the left column to the 'Which Optional Features Does the District Allow in its 403(b) Plan' section.

403(b) Contribution Limits for 2020

Executive Summary:

  • Under age 50 by 12/31/2020: Limit = $19,500.00
  • Age 50 by 12/31/2020: Limit = $26,000.00

Elective Deferral Limit

Standard Elective Deferral Limit: Section 402(g) of the Internal Revenue Code imposes a dollar limit on employee elective deferrals to 403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity (TSA) plans and various qualified defined contribution plans [e.g., 401(k), SEP, and SIMPLE plans]. Elective deferrals are amounts deducted from pay based on salary reduction agreements and remitted to 403(b) vendors as Traditional (pre-tax) and/or Roth (post-tax) contributions. The standard elective deferral limits for 403(b) plans through the years are shown in the right-hand column on this page.

Age 50 Catch-Up: The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) provided new extra elective deferral opportunities for older employees beginning in 2002. Participants who reach their 50th birthday by the end of a particular taxable year are eligible for additional elective deferrals as specified in the right-hand column of this page [IRC § 414(v)].

15 Years-of-Service Catch-Up: Executive summary limits above MAY increase by up to $3,000. However, salary, service, and contribution data back through initial employment are required before additional deferrals are allowed under the 15 years-of-service catch-up. Employees who would wish to contribute past the standard limits and believe they have potential eligibility to utilize the 15 years-of-service catch-up should contact CCC so we may collect the data necessary to preform an evaluation to determine eligibility.

An employee with at least 15 years of full-time equivalent service with their current employer through 12/31/2018 may be eligible for up to $3,000 in additional elective deferrals under IRC § 402(g)(7). However, eligibility for extra elective deferrals under this Code section is subject to a lifetime $15,000 limit on such extra deferrals and a $5,000 annual elective deferral average since initial employment. Specifically, the extra elective deferral for any taxable year for an employee with at least 15 years of full-time equivalent service is the least of the following quantities:

  1. $3,000;
  2. $15,000 reduced by extra elective deferrals for prior taxable years;
  3. The excess, if any, of $5,000 multiplied by the number of years of service of the employee over total elective deferrals for prior taxable years.

Critically Important Fact

The elective deferral limit is taxpayer-specific, not plan-specific or employer-specific. Therefore, an individual taxpayer must limit elective deferrals to all covered plans of all employers to no more than the elective deferral limit.

Therefore, if a participant in the Employer’s 403(b) plan also makes elective deferrals to a 403(b), 401(k), SEP, or SIMPLE plan of another employer, the combined elective deferrals to all such plans may not exceed the individual’s elective deferral limit for the year.

Annual Additions Limit

The employee elective deferral limits described above apply only to employee elective deferrals (EE deferrals). Some employers make discretionary and/or matching contributions to 403(b) plans on behalf of some of their employees (ER contributions). The aggregate of EE deferrals and ER contributions cannot exceed the Annual Additions Limit, which for 2020 is $57,000.00. Annual Addition limits for 403(b) plans through the years are shown in the right-hand column on this page. For additional information go to the Employer Contributions page.


Historical Contribution Limits

The standard 403(b) elective deferral, age 50 catch-up, and annual addition limits back through 1987 appear in the table below. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 introduced elective deferral limits for the first time.

Year Standard Limit Age 50 Limit Ann Add Limit
2020 $19,500.00 $6,500.00 $57,000.00
2019 $19,000.00 $6,000.00 $56,000.00
2018 $18,500.00 $6,000.00 $55,000.00
2017 $18,000.00 $6,000.00 $54,000.00
2016 $18,000.00 $6,000.00 $53,000.00
2015 $18,000.00 $6,000.00 $53,000.00
2014 $17,500.00 $5,500.00 $52,000.00
2013 $17,500.00 $5,500.00 $51,000.00
2012 $17,000.00 $5,500.00 $50,000.00
2011 $16,500.00 $5,500.00 $49,000.00
2010 $16,500.00 $5,500.00 $49,000.00
2009 $16,500.00 $5,500.00 $49,000.00
2008 $15,500.00 $5,000.00 $46,000.00
2007 $15,500.00 $5,000.00 $45,000.00
2006 $15,000.00 $5,000.00 $44,000.00
2005 $14,000.00 $4,000.00 $42,000.00
2004 $13,000.00 $3,000.00 $41,000.00
2003 $12,000.00 $2,000.00 $40,000.00
2002 $11,000.00 $1,000.00 $40,000.00
2001 $10,500.00 N/A $35,000.00
2000 $10,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1999 $10,000.00 N/A $30,000.00
1998 $10,000.00 N/A $30,000.00
1997 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1996 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1995 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1994 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1993 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1992 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1991 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1990 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1989 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1988 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1987 $9,500.00 N/A $30,000.00
1986 N/A N/A $30,000.00


Page Last Modified: 11/6/2019 1:31:15 PM