IRS Announces Adjustments To Key Retirement Plan Limits

Retirement Plan Limits as of 2022In Notice 2021-61, the IRS recently announced 2022 cost-of-living adjustments to dollar limits and additional retirement plan limits. Here are some highlights:

Elective Deferrals

The annual limit on elective deferrals (employee contributions) will increase from $19,500 to $20,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pensions (SARSEPs). The annual limit will rise to $14,000, up from $13,500, for Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLEs) and SIMPLE IRA plans for small businesses.

Catch-Up Contributions

Annual retirement plan limits on catch-up contributions for individuals age 50 and over remains the same. Limits are set at $6,500 for 401(k), 403(b) and 457 plans, as well as for SARSEPs. It also stays at $3,000 for SIMPLEs and SIMPLE IRAs.

Annual Additions

The limit on annual additions to 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans will increase from $58,000 to $61,000. This applies to employer contributions plus employee contributions.


The annual limit on compensation that a business can take into account for contributions and deductions will increase from $290,000 to $305,000 for 401(k)s and other qualifying plans. Additionally, this includes Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) and SARSEPs.

Highly Compensated Employees (HCEs)

The threshold for determining who is an HCE will increase from $130,000 to $135,000.

Key Employees

The threshold for determining whether an officer is a “key employee” under the top-heavy rules will increase from $185,000 to $200,000. This will also apply to the cafeteria plan nondiscrimination rules.

Participation in a SEP or SARSEP

The threshold for determining participation in either type of plan will remain $650.

Business owners, along with their HR and benefits staff or providers, should carefully note when the new limits and thresholds apply. Sometimes the answer isn’t obvious. For example, the 2022 compensation threshold used to identify HCEs will be generally used by 401(k) plans for 2023 nondiscrimination testing, not 2022.

Professional Accounting Services

Review your employee communications, plan procedures and administrative forms, updating them as necessary to reflect these changes. Whether your company offers a 401(k) or another type of defined contribution plan, we can help! Our team of accountants will provide further information on the specific retirement plan limits and other applicable tax retirement plan rules.