IRS Announces Adjusted Plan Limits for 2013

Cooley Alert

Adjusted Limits

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2013 limits that affect the operation of tax-qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans, and certain other types of employee benefit plans, including deferred compensation plans that may be subject to Internal Revenue Code §409A. The amount by which the limits are adjusted each year is based on a cost of living index. Not all limits increase every year. Please see the accompanying table for the limits that are effective January 1, 2013, as well as a reference for comparison purposes to the 2012 limits, where different.

Social Security

The Social Security (OASDI) taxable wage base, which governs the amount of pay subject to Social Security tax withholding and affects plans that are "integrated" with Social Security, also is subject to adjustment annually. For 2013, the OASDI taxable wage base has been increased to $113,700.


Provision 2013 Limit 2012 Limit
Maximum 401(k) Contributions $17,500 $17,000
Maximum Compensation Limit $255,000 $250,000
Highly Compensated Employees
Earning (in previous year) more than
Key Employee Compensation Limit $165,000  
Annual Contribution Limit for Defined Contribution Plans $51,000 $50,000
Annual Benefit Limit for Defined Benefit Plans $205,000 $200,000
SIMPLE Plan Limit $12,000 $11,500
Age 50 and Older Catch-Up Contribution Limit
All plans other than SIMPLE Plans

Annual Contribution Limit for Section 457 Deferred Compensation Plans (government and tax-exempt organizations) $17,500 $17,000
Maximum account balance subject to five-year distribution period

Each dollar amount of in excess of account balance that adds one year to distribution period


Simplified Employee Pension Plans (SEPs)
Contributions must be made for employees earning at least
409A Minimum Specified Employee (Officer)
Compensation Requirement
409A Involuntary Separation Pay Exception $510,000 $500,000

If you have questions about this Alert, please contact a member of your Cooley team or one of the attorneys above from the Compensation & Benefits Group.

Related Contacts
Tom Reicher Senior Counsel San Francisco
David Walsh Partner Reston
Thomas Welk Senior Counsel San Diego
Related Practices & Industries

Compensation & Benefits