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January 15, 2019 2019 Plan Limits

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2019 Limits - Defined Contribution Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has published the 2019 limits for tax-qualified defined benefit and defined contribution plans. The limits cap the amount that participants can contribute to the plan and update the definitions used to administer tax-qualified and non-qualified plans.  For a handy reference, download a copy of our 2019 Plan Limits guide here:  

2019 Plan Limits

Your TPA will help ensure these limits are enforced within your plan.  But as the plan sponsor, you can help avoid problems by integrating some key limits into your payroll system.  Two of the most important limits to incorporate into your payroll system are the maximum deferral limit and the annual compensation limit.  

  • Maximum Contribution Amount:  The maximum amount a participant can contribute in 2019 is $19,000 if they are under 50 years of age and $25,000 if they are 50 or over.  Participants who are 50 years of age or older can contribute more than $19,000 because they can also contribute an additional $6,000 in catchup contributions. Check with your payroll company of software provider to make sure that this deferral limit is set properly in your system.  Note that participants do not need to make a special "catchup" election.  Your payroll system should automatically stop participants at $19,000 if they are under 50 years old, but allow those 50 or over to continue making contributions until they reach the combined limit of $25,000.  
  • Compensation Limit:  The new compensation limit for 2019 is $280,000.  This limit impacts the maximum amount an employee can receive in terms of employer contributions.  For instance, if you make a 3% safe harbor non elective contribution and one of your executives makes $300,000, they should only receive 3% on $280,000 rather than on $300,000 since the last $20,000 of their compensation is over the 2019 compensation limit for plan purposes.  Similarly, if you are matching your employee's contributions dollar for dollar up to 5% of their pay, the maximum match you will provide to a person is $14,000, which is 5% of $280,000. Many payroll systems will allow you to incorporate these limits into the system as well. First, determine your maximum contribution amount by multiplying your formula against the 2019 compensation limit of $280,000.  If you need help with this calculation - give us a call!  Then, enter this maximum contribution amount into your payroll contribution formula.  This will ensure that your payroll system will automatically stop your matching contribution when the maximum contribution limit is hit.  
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