How do I correct an excess salary deferral to my 401(k)?


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There is an annual limit to the amount you may contribute (also called "deferring") to your 401(k) plan(s). This interview will help you determine if you have an excess deferral and if so, how to correct the excess.

Information you'll need

  • Your 401(k) plan's maximum limit for deferral.

  • Your total contributions for the year – this includes pre-tax and designated Roth contributions. They don't include contributions your employer made. You can find this contribution amount on your annual benefits statement, or ask your plan administrator (HR or payroll).

The tool is designed for taxpayers who were U.S. citizens or resident aliens for the entire tax year for which they're inquiring. If married, the spouse must also have been a U.S. citizen or resident alien for the entire tax year. For information about nonresidents or dual-status aliens, please see International taxpayers.


Conclusions are based on information provided by you in response to the questions you answered. Answers do not constitute written advice in response to a specific written request of the taxpayer within the meaning of section 6404(f) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Estimated completion time: 10 minutes

Please note: After 30 minutes of inactivity, you'll be forced to start over.

Caution: Using the "Back" button within the ITA tool could cause an application error.