26 CFR § 1.457-5 - Individual limitation for combined annual deferrals under multiple eligible plans
(a) General rule. The individual limitation under section 457(c) and this section equals the basic annual deferral limitation under § 1.457-4(c)(1)(i)(A), plus either the age 50 catch-up amount under § 1.457-4(c)(2), or the special section 457 catch-up amount under § 1.457-4(c)(3), applied by taking into account the combined annual deferral for the participant for any taxable year under all eligible plans. While an eligible plan may include provisions under which it will limit deferrals to meet the individual limitation under section 457(c) and this section, annual deferrals by a participant that exceed the individual limit under section 457(c) and this section (but do not exceed the limits under § 1.457-4(c)) will not cause a plan to lose its eligible status. However, to the extent the combined annual deferrals for a participant for any taxable year exceed the individual limitation under section 457(c) and this section for that year, the amounts are treated as excess deferrals as described in § 1.457-4(e).
(b) Limitation applied to participant. The individual limitation in this section applies to eligible plans of all employers for whom a participant has performed services, including both eligible governmental plans and eligible plans of a tax-exempt entity and both eligible plans of the employer and eligible plans of other employers. Thus, for purposes of determining the amount excluded from a participant's gross income in any taxable year (including the underutilized limitation under § 1.457-4 (c)(3)(ii)(B)), the participant's annual deferral under an eligible plan, and the participant's annual deferrals under all other eligible plans, must be determined on an aggregate basis. To the extent that the combined annual deferral amount exceeds the maximum deferral limitation applicable under § 1.457-4 (c)(1)(i)(A), (c)(2), or (c)(3), the amount is treated as an excess deferral under § 1.457-4(e).
(c) Special rules for catch-up amounts under multiple eligible plans. For purposes of applying section 457(c) and this section, the special section 457 catch-up under § 1.457-4 (c)(3) is taken into account only to the extent that an annual deferral is made for a participant under an eligible plan as a result of plan provisions permitted under § 1.457-4 (c)(3). In addition, if a participant has annual deferrals under more than one eligible plan and the applicable catch-up amount under § 1.457-4 (c)(2) or (3) is not the same for each such eligible plan for the taxable year, section 457(c) and this section are applied using the catch-up amount under whichever plan has the largest catch-up amount applicable to the participant.
(d) Examples. The provisions of this section are illustrated by the following examples:
(ii) Conclusion. For purposes of applying this section to Participant F for 2006, the maximum exclusion is $20,000. This is equal to the sum of $15,000 plus $5,000, which is the age 50 catch-up amount. Thus, F has an excess amount of $10,000 which is treated as an excess deferral for Participant F for 2006 under § 1.457-4(e).
(ii) Conclusion. For purposes of applying this section to Participant E for year 2006, Participant E could elect to defer $23,000 under Plan Y, which is the maximum deferral limitation under § 1.457-4(c)(1) through (3), and to defer no amount under Plans W, X, and Z. The $23,000 maximum amount is equal to the sum of $15,000 plus $8,000, which is the catch-up amount applicable to Participant E under Plan Y and which is the largest catch-up amount applicable to Participant E under any of the four plans for year 2006. Alternatively, Participant E could instead elect to defer the following combination of amounts: An aggregate total of $15,000 to Plans X, Y, and Z, if no contribution is made to Plan W; an aggregate total of $20,000 to any of the four plans, assuming at least $5,000 is contributed to Plan W; or $22,000 to Plan W and none to any of the other three plans.
(iii) If the underutilized amount under Plans W, X, and Y for year 2006 were in each case zero (because E had always contributed the maximum amount or E was a new participant) or an amount not in excess of $5,000, the maximum exclusion under this section would be $20,000 for Participant E for year 2006 ($15,000 plus the $5,000 age 50 catch-up amount), which Participant E could contribute to any of the plans assuming at least $5,000 is contributed to Plan W.