Save time with our cheat sheets, fact sheets, checklists & books!

February 23, 2009

Excess contribution

Your Guide



Contribution in excess of the statutory limit:

  1. For IRAs, contributions are limited to the lesser of 100% of compensation or the dollar limit in effect for the year. Contributions in excess of this amount are excess contributions. Click here for the IRA limits. See NIA for information about removing earnings with excess IRA contributions
  2. For 401(k) plans, excess contributions are those that cause the plan to fail the Actual Deferral Percentage Test
  3. Individuals who make salary deferral contributions to employer sponsored plans are subject to the limit in effect for the year.  For the limits in effect for the year, see Salary Deferral Contributions. Contributions in excess of this limit are excess salary deferral contributions.
  • Excess IRA contributions that are not corrected by the deadline are subject to a 6% excise tax for every year the excess remains in the IRA.
  • Excess 401(k) contributions that are not corrected timely will result in the employer being subject to a 10% excise tax, the employee being taxed twice on the excess amount and  possible disqualification of the 401(k) plan.
  • Excess salary deferral contributions that are not corrected by the deadline are subject to penalties and may be double-taxed. See Excess deferral  for more information.

Referring Cite

IRC § 219(b),  IRC § 401(k), Treas. Reg. § 1.401(k)-1(b)(2)

Additional Helpful Information

  • Excess IRA contributions must be corrected  by the taxpayer’s tax-filing deadline, including extensions. An individual who files his/her tax return or files for an extension by the due date of his/her federal tax return receives an automatic 6-months extension to correct an excess IRA contribution.
  • If an individual timely files his/her return without withdrawing the excess ,  and completes the transaction  no later than 6 months after the due date of his/her tax return, he/she should  file an amended return with “Filed pursuant to section 301.9100-2” written at the top.  The amended return should include the transaction and any related earnings for the tax year. An explanation of the transaction should also be included.
  • If the plan fails the ACP test, corrective steps  include the following:
  • Refunding amounts to HCEs
  • Recharacterizing salary deferral contributions as after-tax contributions
  • Contributing additional amounts for non-highly compensated employees
  • Contributions that cause the plan to fail the Actual Deferral Percentage Test must be corrected within 2 ½ months after the end of the plan year.
  • Ineligible rollover contribution amounts are automatically deemed a regular year IRA contribution during a year in which the IRA holder is eligible to make a contribution. Refer PLR 8952011

Keep Learning

Domestic abuse distribution

A domestic abuse distribution is one that is made to domestic abuse victim, during the 1-year period beginning on any date on which the individual

Eligible retirement plan

The term “eligible retirement plan”, means a retirement plan to which a rollover contribution can be made. These are: (i)an individual retirement account described in

Qualified See-Through Trust beneficiary

Definition A qualified trust beneficiary is a trust that satisfies the requirements so as to be treated as a designated beneficiary.   For retirement accounts inherited

Saver’s Credit

Definition Also known as the Saver’s Tax Credit: Nonrefundable tax credit available to eligible individuals who make contributions to their retirement account. The saver’s credit

Be among the first to know when

IRA Rules