Shortcut Navigation:

Retirement Plan and IRA Limits for 2011

Many retirement plan and IRA limits are indexed for inflation each year. Some of the key numbers for 2011 are discussed below.

Elective deferrals

If you're lucky enough to be eligible to participate in a 401(k), 403(b), 457(b), or SAR-SEP plan, you can make elective deferrals of up to $16,500 in 2011, unchanged from 2010. If you're age 50 or older, you also can make a catch-up contribution of up to $5,500 to these plans in 2011 (also unchanged from 2010). (Special catch-up limits apply to certain participants in 403(b) and 457(b) plans.)

If your 401(k) or 403(b) plan allows Roth contributions, your total elective contributions, pretax and Roth, can't exceed $16,500 ($22,000 with catch-up contributions). You can split your contribution any way you wish. For example, you can make $9,500 of Roth contributions and $7,000 of pretax 401(k) contributions. It's up to you.

If you participate in a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k) plan, you can contribute up to $11,500 in 2011 (unchanged from 2010). If you're age 50 or older, the maximum catch-up contribution to a SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k) plan in 2011 is $2,500 (unchanged from 2010).

IRA limits remain the same for 2011

The amount you can contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA remains at $5,000 (or 100% of your earned income, if less) for 2011, and the maximum catch-up contribution for those age 50 or older remains at $1,000. You can contribute to an IRA in addition to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. But if you (or your spouse) participate in an employer-sponsored plan, your ability to deduct

Contribution limits: 2011 tax year*
Plan type Annual dollar limit Catch-up limit
401(k), 403(b), govt. 457(b) plans $16,500 $5,500
SIMPLE plans $11,500 $2,500
Traditional and Roth IRAs $5,000 $1,000

*Contributions can't exceed 100% of your income. Special catch-up rules apply to 403(b) and governmental 457(b) plans.

traditional IRA contributions may be limited, depending on your income. Roth contributions are also subject to income limits.

Some other key numbers for 2011

For 2011, the maximum amount of compensation your employer can take into account when calculating contributions and benefits in qualified plans (and certain other plans) is $245,000 (unchanged from 2010).

The maximum annual benefit you can receive from a defined benefit pension plan is limited to $195,000 in 2011 (unchanged from 2010).

And the maximum amount that can be allocated to your account in a defined contribution plan (for example, a 401(k) plan or profit-sharing plan) in 2011 is $49,000 (also unchanged from 2010), plus age-50 catch-up contributions. (This includes both your contributions and your employer's contributions. Special rules apply if your employer sponsors more than one retirement plan.)

Many retirement plan and IRA limits are indexed for inflation each year. Most of the limits for 2011 are unchanged from 2010.
Income phaseout range for determining deductibility of traditional IRA contributions in 2011
1. Covered by an employer plan  
Single/head of household $56,000-$66,000 (same for 2010)
Married filing jointly $90,000-$110,000 ($89,000-$109,000 for 2010)
Married filing separately $0-$10,000
2. Not covered by an employer plan, but filing joint return with a spouse who is covered $169,000-$179,000 ($167,000-$177,000 for 2010)
Income phaseout range for determining ability to fund Roth IRA in 2011
Single/head of household $107,000-$122,000 ($105,000-$120,000 for 2010)
Married filing jointly $169,000-$179,000 ($167,000-$177,000 for 2010)
Married filing separately $0-$10,000