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2011 IRS retirement savings caps

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Friday, October 29, 2010
Posted: 11 am ET

The IRS yesterday announced the 2011 contribution limits on tax-advantaged retirement savings plans. Because inflation is low, most of the limits don't change much for 2010.

  • The employee contribution limit for 401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457(b) plans, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan is unchanged at $16,500, although if you are over 50, you can make an additional catchup contribution of $5,500.
  • The deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA phases out for singles and heads of household who are active participants in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes, or AGI, between $56,000 and $66,000, unchanged from 2010. The income cap for married couples filing jointly in which one working spouse contributes to a retirement plan is $90,000 to $110,000, up from $89,000 to $109,000. An additional contribution by a spouse phases out if the couple's income is between $169,000 and $179,000, up from $167,000 and $177,000.
  • The AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $169,000 to 179,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $167,000 to $177,000 in 2010. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $107,000 to $122,000, up from $105,000 to $120,000.
  • The income limit to take advantage of the saver's credit, also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, for low- and moderate-income workers is $56,500 for married couples filing jointly, up from $55,500 in 2010; $42,375 for heads of household, up from $41,625; and $28,250 for married individuals filing separately and for singles, up from $27,750.
  • The maximum annual benefit under a defined benefit plan remains unchanged at $195,000.

To take full advantage of these retirement planning opportunities, divide the maximum that you can contribute by your salary and have that percentage deducted from your pay check. No pain, no gain.

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Keith Casper
November 05, 2010 at 7:58 pm

If you are going to make use of the catchup provision, do talk to your HR person, particularly when nearing the basic maximum contribution. Some payroll preparers may be remiss in starting and stopping the catchup contributions in a timely manner leaving you with potential payment holes or double payments in your history.