IRS contribution limits on voluntary retirement plans

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets maximum limits on the amounts of money that both employees and employers contribute to voluntary retirement plans. The IRS may change these limits from year to year. Limits are specified on this webpage for the 457(b), 403(b), and 401(a) Supplemental Retirement Plan.


457(b) IRS limits for 2019

The employee limit is based on age. The employer limit is based on annual compensation.

If you are under age 50 ...

The maximum you (the employee) may contribute is ...

$19,000 - This is a cumulative limit. In other words, you may contribute up to $19,000 annually to all of your 457(b) accounts that you have with any and all employers. Consult a tax advisor for assistance.

If you are age 50 or older ...

The maximum you (the employee) may contribute is ...

$25,000 - Individuals age 50 or older may contribute up to the normal $19,000 limit plus a $6,000 “catch-up contribution.” This is a cumulative limit. In other words, you may contribute up to $25,000 to all of your 457(b) accounts that you have with any and all employers. Consult a tax advisor for assistance.


403(b) Pretax and 403(b) Roth After-Tax IRS limits for 2019

The same limits apply to the 403(b) Pretax and the 403(b) After-Tax as those listed above for the 457(b).


403(b) Pretax Irrevocable

The employee limit is the same, no matter your age. There is no catch-up contribution. Employees may contribute up to $56,000 annually. However, please remember that any contribution you choose toward the 403(b) Pretax Irrevocable is indeed an irrevocable election for your lifetime with the university. The irrevocable election must be made prior to your first period of employment. Your election will be in effect for the lifetime of the plan; if you come back to work for the UM System and the UM System has closed the plan, you will no longer make contributions to it.


401(a) Supplemental Retirement Plan

Employee contributions

The same limits on employee contributions apply to the 401(a) Supplemental Retirement Plan as what is listed above for the 403(a) Pretax Irrevocable. The 401(a) plan is also irrevocable, as explained under the 403(a) Pretax Irrevocable.

Employer contributions

If you are part of ERIP, the 401(a) plan is the plan where your employer deposits it's contributions—i.e., the 2% base contribution and up to a 3% match if you make contributions into your 457(b). There are employer contribution limits on these plans, based on annual compensation.

The maximum your employer may contribute is …

$14,000 annually - The IRS has set the employer limit at an annual compensation of $280,000. Therefore, the amount shown is determined by the following formula:

($280,000 annual compensation * 2% mandatory contribution from employer) + ($280,000 annual compensation * 3% matching contribution from employer) = $14,000.

Reviewed January 16, 2019.