The Internal Revenue Service has announced the annual cost-of-living adjustments applicable to dollar limitations for pension plans and other items for Tax Year 2006. Several limitations are scheduled to increase at the beginning of 2006 under the provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (“EGTRRA”). In addition, the increase in the cost-of-living index met the statutory thresholds that trigger adjustment for most other limitations.
EGTRRA Limitation Increases
EGTRRA amended the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) to specify the applicable dollar amount for certain limitations for particular years. These EGTRRA mandated limitation increases are scheduled for the beginning of 2006:
- Increase in the Maximum Amount of Elective Deferrals:The maximum amount of elective deferrals that may be made to 401(k) plans, 403(b) annuities, simplified employee pensions (“SEPs”), and 457(b) plans for 2006 is increased from $14,000 to $15,000 (Code sections 402(g)(1) and 457(e)(15)).
- Increase in the Maximum Amount of Catch-Up Contributions:
- The maximum amount of catch-up contributions that individuals aged 50 or over may make in 2006 to 401(k) plans, 403(b) annuities, SEPs, and 457(b) plans is increased from $4,000 to $5,000 (Code section 414(v)(2)(B)(i)).
- The maximum amount of catch-up contributions that individuals aged 50 or over may make in 2006 to SIMPLE 401(k) Plans or SIMPLE Retirement Accounts is increased from $2,000 to $2,500 (Code section 414(v)(2)(B)(ii)).
These increases combine to allow a maximum 401(k) deferral in 2006 of $20,000 for those participants who are age 50 or older.
Other Limitation Increases
- The limitation on annual additions under defined contribution plans is increased from $42,000 to $44,000 (Code section 415(c)(1)(A)).
- The limitation on annual benefits under a defined benefit plan is increased from $170,000 to $175,000. For participants who separated from service before January 1, 2006, the defined benefit limitation is computed by multiplying the participant’s compensation limitation, as adjusted through 2005, by 1.0383 (Code sections 415(b)(1)(A) and (B)).
- The annual compensation limit is increased from $210,000 to $220,000 (Code sections 401(a)(17), 404(l), 408(k)(3)(C), and 408(k)(6)(D)(ii)).
- The dollar limitation used for the definition of key employee in a top-heavy plan is increased from $135,000 to $140,000 (Code section 416(i)(1)(A)(i)).
- The dollar amount for determining the maximum account balance in an employee stock ownership plan subject to a 5-year distribution period is increased from $850,000 to $885,000, while the dollar amount used to determine the lengthening of the 5-year distribution period is increased from $170,000 to $175,000 (Code section 409(o)(1)(C)(ii)).
- The limitation used in the definition of highly compensated employee is increased from $95,000 to $100,000 (Code section 414(q)(1)(B)).
- The annual compensation limitation for eligible participants in certain governmental plans that, under the plan as in effect on July 1, 1993, allowed cost-of-living adjustments to the compensation limitation under the plan under Code section 401(a)(17) to be taken into account, is increased from $315,000 to $325,000.
- The compensation amounts used in defining “control employee” for fringe benefit valuation remains unchanged at $85,000 for Board or shareholderappointed, confirmed, or elected officers of the employer, but is increased from $170,000 to $175,000 for all other employees (Reg. sections 1.61–21(f)(5)(i) and (iii)).
Limitations which Remain Unchanged
- The limitation on the exclusion for elective deferrals to SIMPLE retirement accounts is remains unchanged at $10,000 (Code section 408(p)(2)(E)).
- The minimum compensation amount used for determining required participation in SEPs remains unchanged at $450 (Code section 408(k)(2)(C)).