October 19, 2012

IRS Announces 2013 Dollar Limitations for Employee Benefit Plans

By: Bruce Ashton and Joshua Waldbeser

The IRS just announced the new dollar limits for contributions and benefits in retirement and certain deferred compensation plans for 2013.  The new limits are the result of the application of statutory cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).  We have set out a chart summarizing the key limits below. 

Since plans generally incorporate COLAs by reference, no plan document amendments should be required on account of the 2013 limit increases.  However, plans that are established or restated in 2013, and SPDs that are required to be updated in 2013, should reflect the updated dollar amounts.   

In addition, employers may wish to communicate some of these changes to employees before the end of 2012.  For example, to help ensure that employees maximize their tax-deferred savings opportunities in the coming year, it may be advisable to inform them of the increase to the limit on elective deferral contributions to 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) plans from $17,000 to $17,500.  Many employees may have elected to make the maximum deferral amount applying the 2012 limit, and they may wish to make corresponding adjustments before the new year.

Summary of Key Dollar Limits for Employee Benefit Plans


New Limit for 2013

Old Limit for 2012

401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) Elective Deferral Limit



Age 50 Catch-Up Contribution Limit (no change)



Defined Contribution Plan Annual Contribution Limit



Defined Benefit Plan Annual Benefit Limit



Annual Compensation Limit



Highly Compensated Employee Compensation Threshold (no change)



Top Heavy Key Employee Threshold (no change)



ESOP Maximum Balance for 5-Year Payout Period



Minimum Amount Over Minimum Balance for Lengthening of
5-Year ESOP Payout Period



If you have any questions or would like assistance with any of the matters discussed in this Alert, please contact any member of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group.

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