What Are the 2022 Roth 401(k) Contribution Limits?

Learn how much you can deposit into these savings vehicles

The contribution limit for a designated Roth 401(k) increased $1,000 to $20,500 in 2022. Accountholders who are age 50 or older may make additional catch-up contributions of up to $6,500. This means the total contribution can reach as much as $27,000.

Employers can make contributions to a Roth 401(k) by matching employee contributions up to a certain percentage or dollar amount. They can also make elective contributions that don't depend on employee contributions.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) adjusts contribution limits each year based on inflation. For 2022, the limit on employee and employer contributions is $61,000 or 100% of employee compensation, whichever is lower. Workers who are age 50 and over can add a $6,500 catch-up contribution for a total of $67,500.

Key Takeaways

  • Retirement contribution limits are adjusted each year for inflation.
  • The limits for IRAs and 401(k)s are different.
  • Employers can contribute to employee Roth 401(k)s through a match or elective contributions.
  • You may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA, which has contribution limits and rules that differ from those of a Roth 401(k).
  • No taxes are due on your withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) in retirement, but after age 72, you must take required minimum distributions.

Roth 401(k) vs. Traditional 401(k)

Although the contribution limits are the same for traditional 401(k) plans and their Roth counterparts, a designated Roth 401(k) account is technically a separate account within your traditional 401(k) that allows for the contribution of after-tax dollars. The elected amount is deducted from your paycheck after income, Social Security, and other applicable taxes are assessed. The contribution doesn't garner you a tax break in the year you make it.

The big advantage of a Roth 401(k) is that no income tax is due on these funds or their earnings when they're withdrawn after you retire. A traditional 401(k) works in the opposite way. That is, savers make their contributions on a pretax basis and pay income tax on the amounts withdrawn when they retire. Neither of these 401(k) accounts imposes income limitations for participation.

When available, savers may use a combination of the Roth 401(k) and the traditional 401(k) to plan for retirement. Splitting your retirement contributions between both kinds of 401(k)s, if you have the option, can help you ease your tax burden in retirement.

If You Have Multiple Roth Accounts

The question for those who also want to have a Roth IRA: Do you meet the income limits for being permitted to contribute to one? In 2021, the income phaseout for Roth IRA contributions started at $125,000 for single filers and eligibility ended at $140,000. For those who were married filing jointly (and qualifying widows and widowers) in 2021, that income threshold started at $198,000 and ended at $208,000.

In 2022, these figures went up. Income phaseout for Roth IRA contributions starts at $129,000 and ends at $144,000 for single filers. For those married filing jointly, plus qualifying widow(er)s, the income phaseout starts at $204,000 and ends at $214,000.

The 401(k) contribution deadline is at the end of the calendar year, whereas the deadline on IRAs is April 15 or thereabouts. In other words, for the 2021 tax year, you can contribute to your Roth IRA until April 15, 2022.

If you have both a Roth 401(k) plan and a Roth IRA, your total annual contribution for all accounts in 2022 has a combined limit of $26,500 ($20,500 Roth 401(k) contribution + $6,000 Roth IRA contribution) or $34,000 if you are 50 or older ($20,500 Roth 401(k) contribution + $6,500 catch-up contribution + $6,000 Roth IRA contribution + $1,000 catch-up contribution).

Roth IRA accounts have a separate annual contribution limit of $6,000, with an additional $1,000 limit for catch-up contributions if you are age 50 or over (for a total of $7,000). This limit has been in place since 2019.

Additional Rules

Roth 401(k) contributions must be made by the end of the calendar year, meaning the 2022 contribution deadline is Dec. 31, 2022. You have a bit more time with Roth IRA contributions—you must make them by tax day.

Five years must pass from your first contribution before you can withdraw from your Roth 401(k) tax-free, and you must also be at least 59½ years old. At age 72, you are required to take minimum distributions from your Roth 401(k) but not from a Roth IRA.

Can I Contribute to Both a 401(k) and a Roth 401(k)?

That depends on your employer. Some employers offer an option to split contributions between a traditional and a Roth 401(k). Others don't.

How Much Can I Contribute to My Roth 401(k) in 2022?

The maximum amount you can contribute to a 401(k), traditional or Roth, in 2022 is $20,500, or $27,000 if you are age 50 or older and eligible to make catch-up payments to bulk up the account(s) before retirement.

What Happens If I Exceed the Roth 401(k) Limit?

If your 401(k) contributions exceed the annual limit, you risk being taxed twice on your excess contributions. It’s advisable to contact your HR, payroll department, or plan administrator as soon as you notice an overcontribution. If you inform them before the tax-filing deadline, you may be able to fix the issue in time.

When Is the Roth 401(k) Contribution Limit Reset?

Roth 401(k) contribution limits apply to the calendar year, so from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. At the beginning of a new year, contributions are reset to zero, and the limit may be raised to account for inflation.

Article Sources
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  1. Internal Revenue Service. "IRS Announces 401(k) Limit Increases to $20,500."

  2. Internal Revenue Service. "Retirement Topics - 401(k) and Profit-Sharing Plan Contribution Limits."

  3. Internal Revenue Service. "Retirement Plan and IRA Required Minimum Distributions FAQs."

  4. Internal Revenue Service. "Traditional and Roth IRAs."

  5. Internal Revenue Service. "Amount of Roth IRA Contributions That You Can Make for 2021."

  6. Internal Revenue Service. "IRA Year-End Reminders."

  7. Internal Revenue Service. "Retirement Topics - IRA Contribution Limits."

  8. Internal Revenue Service. "Roth Comparison Chart."

  9. FINRA. "Traditional and Roth 401(k)s."

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