The 401(k) contribution deadline is at the end of the calendar year.
However, the IRS allows contributions to IRA accounts up to the tax filing deadline of the coming year. For the 2022 tax year, you can contribute to your IRA accounts until April 15, 2023.1
If you have a SEP IRA and file an extension, you have until the extended filing deadline or when you file your tax return to make the contribution.
Most employer tax deductions for 401(k) contributions and other salary retirement plans usually apply only to the calendar year in which they are actually withheld from the taxpayer’s paycheck.2
However, employers can make contributions until their tax deadline for the year. For 2022 tax filing, businesses typically have until April 15, 2023. This offers added flexibility for those doing one-time contributions, profit sharing or other one-off arrangements.
Additional time becomes especially important in the case of someone who is self-employed. Individuals in these circumstances may not choose to contribute to their solo 401(k) plan for a given year until tax time the following year. The ability to do so can depend on the business type and whether the contribution is by employee deferral or through a profit-sharing component.
Remember, 401(k) plans can vary, so we recommend talking with an HR professional. For instance, contributions for a prior year may not be allowed because an employee is limited to making contributions through payroll deductions.
What are the 401(k) contribution limits?
Tax deductible contributions to 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts are subject to IRS limits. These limits are given cost-of-living adjustments from time to time. For tax year 2023, the 401(k) contribution limit is $22,500 for those who participate in 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans. If you’re age 50 or over, you can contribute an additional $7,500 in catch-up contributions.3
Employer-matching contributions don’t count toward this limit, but there is a limit for employee and employer contributions combined: either 100% of your salary or $66,000 ($73,500 if you’re age 50 or over), whichever comes first.
Limits for highly compensated employees
If you earn a high salary, you may be considered a highly compensated employee (HCE), subject to more stringent contribution limits. To prevent highly compensated employees from benefiting unfairly from the tax benefits of 401(k) plans, the ADP and ACP tests are required to ensure that employees of all compensation levels participate proportionately in their companies’ plans.
The bottom line
Generally, the 401(k) has a hard contribution deadline at the end of the year. But you can check with your company’s human resources department or a financial professional on how to make decisions for your retirement and to see if you’re permitted to make contributions in the new year — before tax time next spring.
Next steps for you? Get a comprehensive view of your entire financial life so that you know when and how much you can contribute to your 401(k).
- Sign up for Empower’s financial tools to track your entire portfolio for free, and check up on your chances for retirement success.
- Learn about different types of retirement plans for individuals that you may be eligible for this year.
- Consider speaking to a financial professional about your retirement plan.