There are effectively 2 different contribution caps - one for what an employee can defer from his or her salary, and a total contribution maximum from all combined sources. As far as what an employee can defer from his/her salary in 2015, if you are younger than 50, $18,000 can be deferred, and if you are 50 or older, $24,000 can be deferred. The maximum that can be contributed to a 401k from ALL sources (i.e. employee deferral, employer match, and/or employer profit sharing contribution) is $53,000 (in 2015 if you are younger than 50) or $59,000 (in 2015 if you are 50 or older).
An employee younger than age 50 can defer/contribute up to $18,000 per year (2015). Age 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,000 (2015)
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