457(b) Deferred compensation plan Contribution Limits

The maximum annual contribution limit for 457(b) plans will be $18,000 for 2017 (or 100% of gross annual compensation, if less).

Year Annual 457(b) Contribution Limits
2017 $18,000
2016 $18,000

Cost of living adjustments (COLAs) may allow for additional increases to these limits in increments of $500 per year.

Catch-up Contributions

A special catch-up limit allows participants who are age 50 and over to contribute an additional amount each year.

Year Annual 457(b) Contribution Limits Additional Catch Up Limit Total 457(b) Contribution Limit
2017 $18,000 $6,000 $24,000
2016 $18,000 $6,000 $24,000

Cost of living adjustments (COLAs) may allow for additional increases to these limits in increments of $500 per year.

Another catch-up limit allows participants who are within three years of attaining the normal retirement age of 65 to contribute up to twice the "annual contribution limit." For these participants, the maximum amount allowed is actually the lesser of:

  • twice the annual limit, or
  • the annual limit, plus the total amount of underutilized contributions from prior years.

Participants who use this catch-up limit cannot also use the "age 50" catch-up limit in the same year.

EXAMPLE: Let's assume it is 2017, Jane is 62 years old, and she is within three years of her normal retirement age of 65. Let's also assume that she contributed $6,000 in 2014, $7,000 in 2015, and $8,000 in 2016, for a total of $21,000. However, she could have contributed $53,500 in those three years ($17,500 + $18,000 + $18,000) for an extra $32,500. Because Jane is within three years of her normal retirement age, she can contribute the lesser of:

  • $36,000 (twice the annual 2017 limit of $18,000); or
  • $50,500 (the 2017 limit of $18,000, plus the $32,500 "left over" amount from the three previous years).

In this example, Jane would be allowed to contribute $36,000 in 2017.