IRS Announces Employee Benefit Plan Limits for 2015


In Depth

Recently the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration announced the cost-of-living adjustments to the applicable dollar limits on various employer-sponsored retirement and welfare plans and the Social Security wage base for 2015. The table below compares the applicable dollar limits for certain employee benefit programs and the Social Security wage base for 2014 and 2015.*


Annual compensation limit

401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) before-tax contributions

Catch-up contributions (if age 50 or older)

Highly compensated employee threshold

Key employee officer compensation threshold

Defined benefit plan annual benefit and accrual limit

Defined contribution plan annual contribution limit

Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) limit for determining the lengthening of the general five-year distribution period

ESOP limit for determining the maximum account balance subject to the general five-year distribution period


HEALTH AND WELFARE PLAN LIMITSHigh Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA)HDHP – Maximum Annual Out-of-Pocket Limit (excluding premiums):Self-only coverage

Family coverage

HDHP – Minimum Annual Deductible:

Self-only coverage

Family coverage

HSA – Annual Contribution Limit:

Self-only coverage

Family coverage

Catch-up contributions (age 55 or older)




Plan sponsors should update payroll and plan administration systems for the 2015 cost-of-living adjustments and should incorporate the new limits in relevant participant communications, like open enrollment materials and summary plan descriptions.

For further information about applying the new IRS employee benefit plan limits for 2015, contact your regular McDermott lawyer or one of the authors.

* The dollar limits are generally applied on a calendar year basis; however, certain dollar limits are applied on a plan-year, tax-year, or limitation-year basis.