Most retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b), individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and Roth IRAs allow for catch-up contributions for those aged 50 or older. This takes effect the calendar year you turn 50. If you turn 50 in November 2016, you can make full use of the catch-up clause for the entire year of 2016. The amount depends heavily on the type of plan.

401(k) Plans

The common 401(k) allows for a basic $18,000 contribution plus an extra $6,000 catch-up after age 50 (for 2015/2016). You must make all contributions, including the catch-up contribution, in the same calendar year.

403(b) Plans

There are similar limits for age for 403(b) plans, but there is also a 15-year service clause for employees at public school systems, hospitals, home health service agencies, health and welfare service agencies, churches, or conventions or associations of churches. These employees qualify for additional catch-up contributions based on length of service. There are several options for 403(b) participants if the plan allows it. These additional contributions come with different, specific eligibility criteria; see IRS Publication 571 for more details.


A SIMPLE IRA or a SIMPLE 401(k) allows for catch-up contributions of $3,000 annually. Salary reduction contributions in a SIMPLE IRA are only treated as catch-up after the total contribution exceeds $12,500.

Regular IRAs and Roth IRAs

Regular IRAs and Roth IRAs have a $1,000 catch-up limit for 2015 and 2016. You can make these catch-up contributions until the due date of the tax return. For example, you must make the contribution for 2015 by April 15, 2016, in order for it to count for that year.