[Updated in November 2019 after official numbers for 2020 are out.]
Retirement plan contribution limits are adjusted for inflation each year. After inflation pushed up both the 401k/403b/457 contribution limit and the IRA contribution limit in 2019 by $500, some of the contribution limits will go up again in 2020 while some will stay the same as in 2019.
Before the IRS published the official numbers in November, I was able to make my own calculations using the published inflation numbers and the same rules the IRS uses as stipulated by law. Before I had the inflation numbers for all the months used in the formula, due to rounding rules I could project the contribution limit for next year with high confidence. The inflation numbers in the months to come just weren’t able to make the limits cross another rounding threshold. For example the law says a limit must be rounded down to the nearest $500. When the calculated result ends around $6,200, I knew even if it was off a little, it wasn’t going to go over $6,500.
I have been able to do early projections with 100% accuracy ever since I started doing them quite a few years ago. 2020 is no exception. My projections several months before matched 100% to the official numbers published by the IRS in its Notice 2019-59.
401k/403b/457/TSP Elective Deferral Limit
401k/403b/457/TSP contribution limit will go up by $500 from $19,000 in 2019 to $19,500 in 2020. If you are age 50 or over, the catch-up contribution limit will also go up by $500 from $6,000 in 2019 to $6,500 in 2020.
Employer match or profit sharing contributions aren’t included in these limits. If you work for multiple employers in the same year or if your employer offers multiple plans, you have one single limit for 401k, 403b, and TSP across all plans. The 457 plan limit is separate. You can contribute the maximum to both a 401k/403b/TSP plan and a 457 plan.
Annual Additions Limit
The total employer plus employee contributions to all defined contribution plans by the same employer will increase by $1,000 from $56,000 in 2019 to $57,000 in 2020. The age-50-or-over catch-up contribution is on top of this limit. If you work for multiple unrelated employers in the same year, you have separate limits.
Annual Compensation Limit
The maximum annual compensation that can be considered for making contributions to a retirement plan is always 5x the annual additions limit. Therefore the annual compensation limit will increase by $5,000 from $280,000 in 2019 to $285,000 in 2020.
Highly Compensated Employee Threshold
If your employer limits your contribution because you are a Highly Compensated Employee (HCE), the minimum compensation will increase by $5,000 from $125,000 in 2019 to $130,000 in 2020.
SIMPLE 401k and SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limit
SIMPLE 401k and SIMPLE IRA plans have a lower limit than 401k plans. It will also increase by $500 from $13,000 in 2019 to $13,500 in 2020. If you are age 50 or over, the catch-up contribution limit will stay the same at $3,000 in 2020 as in 2019. Employer contributions aren’t included in these limits.
Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limit
Traditional and Roth IRA contribution limit will stay the same at $6,000 in both 2019 and 2020. The age 50 catch up limit is fixed by law at $1,000 in all years. The IRA contribution limit and the 401k/403b/TSP or SIMPLE contribution limit are separate. You can contribute the respective maximum to both a 401k/403b/TSP/SIMPLE plan and a traditional or Roth IRA.
Deductible IRA Income Limit
The income limit for taking a full deduction for your contribution to a traditional IRA while participating in a workplace retirement will increase by $1,000 for singles, from $64,000 in 2019 to $65,000 in 2020, and it will also increase by $1,000 for married filing jointly, from $103,000 in 2019 to $104,000 in 2020. The deduction completely phases out when your income goes above $74,000 in 2019 and $75,000 in 2020 for singles; and $123,000 in 2019 and $124,000 in 2020 for married filing jointly.
The income limit for taking a full deduction for your contribution to a traditional IRA when you are not covered in a workplace retirement but your spouse is will go up by $3,000 for married filing jointly from $193,000 in 2019 to $196,000 in 2020. The deduction completely phases out when your income goes above $203,000 in 2019 and $206,000 in 2020 for married filing jointly.
Roth IRA Income Limit
The income limit for contributing the maximum to a Roth IRA will go up by $2,000 for singles from $122,000 in 2019 to $124,000 in 2020. It will go up by $3,000 for married filing jointly from $193,000 in 2019 to $196,000 in 2020. You can’t contribute anything directly to a Roth IRA when your income goes above $137,000 in 2019 and $139,000 in 2020 for singles and $203,000 in 2019 and $206,000 in 2020 for married filing jointly, up by $2,000 and $3,000 respectively in 2020. You can still do a backdoor Roth IRA in such case.
Flexible Spending Account Contribution Limit
The FSA contribution limit will go up by $50 from $2,700 in 2019 to $2,750 in 2020.
Health Savings Account Contribution Limit
The HSA contribution limit for single coverage will go up by $50 from $3,500 in 2019 to $3,550 in 2020. The HSA contribution limit for family coverage will go up from $7,000 in 2019 to $7,100 in 2020. These were announced previously in the spring. Please see 2018 2019 2020 HSA Contribution Limits.
Those who are 55 or older can contribute additional $1,000. If you are married and both of you are 55 or older, you can each contribute the additional $1,000, but to separate HSAs in each person’s name.
Saver’s Credit Income Limit
The income limits for receiving a Retirement Savings Contributions Credit (“Saver’s Credit”) will increase in 2020. For married filing jointly, it will be $38,500 in 2019 and $39,000 in 2020 (50% credit), $41,500 in 2019 and $42,500 in 2020 (20% credit), and $64,000 in 2019 and $65,000 in 2020 (10% credit). The limits for singles will be at half of the limits for married filing jointly, at $19,250 in 2019 and $19,500 in 2020 (50% credit), $20,750 in 2019 and $21,250 in 2020 (20% credit), and $32,000 in 2019 and $32,500 in 2020 (10% credit).
|Limit on employee contributions to 401k, 403b, or 457 plan||$19,000||$19,500||$500|
|Limit on age 50+ catchup contributions to 401k, 403b, or 457 plan||$6,000||$6,500||$500|
|SIMPLE 401k or SIMPLE IRA contributions limit||$13,000||$13,500||$500|
|SIMPLE 401k or SIMPLE IRA age 50+ catchup contributions limit||$3,000||$3,000||None|
|Highly Compensated Employee definition||$125,000||$130,000||$5,000|
|Maximum annual additions to all defined contribution plans by the same employer||$56,000||$57,000||$1,000|
|Traditional and Roth IRA contribution limit||$6,000||$6,000||None|
|Traditional and Roth IRA age 50+ catchup contribution limit||$1,000||$1,000||None|
|Deductible IRA income limit, single, active participant in workplace retirement plan||$64,000 – $74,000||$65,000 – $75,000||$1,000|
|Deductible IRA income limit, married, active participant in workplace retirement plan||$103,000 – $123,000||$104,000 – $124,000||$1,000|
|Deductible IRA income limit, married, spouse is active participant in workplace retirement plan||$193,000 – $203,000||$196,000 – $206,000||$3,000|
|Roth IRA income limit, single||$122,000 – $137,000||$124,000 – $139,000||$2,000|
|Roth IRA income limit, married filing jointly||$193,000 – $203,000||$196,000 – $206,000||$3,000|
|FSA Contribution Limit||$2,700||$2,750||$50|
|HSA Contribution Limit, single coverage||$3,500||$3,550||$50|
|HSA Contribution Limit, family coverage||$7,000||$7,100||$100|
|HSA, age 55 catch-up||$1,000||$1,000||None|
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