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If your actual contributions (not including catch-up contributions) are greater than your MAC, you have an excess contribution. Excess contributions can result in income tax, additional taxes, and penalties. The effect of excess contributions depends on the type of excess contribution. This chapter discusses excess contributions to your 403(b) account.
At the end of the year or the beginning of the next year, you should refigure your MAC based on your actual compensation and actual contributions made to your account.
If the actual contributions (not including catch-up contributions) to your account are greater than your MAC, you have excess contributions. If, at any time during the year, your employment status or your compensation changes, you should refigure your MAC using a revised estimate of compensation to prevent excess contributions.
Certain excess contributions in a 403(b) account can be corrected. The effect of an excess 403(b) contribution will depend on the type of excess contribution.
Excess annual addition, or
Excess elective deferral.
An excess annual addition is a contribution (not including catch-up contributions) that is more than your limit on annual additions. To determine your limit on annual additions, see chapter 3 (chapter 5 for ministers or church employees).
In the year that your contributions are more than your limit on annual additions, the excess amount will be included in your income.
If your 403(b) account invests in mutual funds, and you exceed your limit on annual additions, you may be subject to a 6% excise tax on the excess contribution. The excise tax doesn’t apply to funds in an annuity account or to excess deferrals.
You must pay the excise tax each year in which there are excess contributions in your account. Excess contributions can be corrected by contributing less than the applicable limit in later years or by making permissible distributions. See chapter 8 for a discussion on permissible distributions.
You can’t deduct the excise tax.
An excess elective deferral is the amount that is more than your limit on elective deferrals. To determine your limit on elective deferrals, see chapter 4.
Your employer's 403(b) plan may contain language permitting it to distribute excess deferrals. If so, it may require that in order to get a distribution of excess deferrals, you either notify the plan of the amount of excess deferrals or designate a distribution as an excess deferral. The plan may require that the notification or designation be in writing and may require that you certify or otherwise establish that the designated amount is an excess deferral. A plan isn’t required to permit distribution of excess deferrals.
The plan and either you or your employer designate the distribution as an excess deferral to the extent you have excess deferrals for the year.
The correcting distribution is made after the date on which the excess deferral was made.
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