Ana María Bigas-Kennerley, special counsel at labor and employment law firm Littler Mendelson, has published an outline of changes announced by the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury for 2019 limits on qualified retirement plan contributions.
As Bigas-Kennerley points out, on December 31, 2018, the Puerto Rico Department of the Treasury (PR Treasury) issued Internal Revenue Informative Bulletin No. 18-24 (IB 18-24) announcing the 2019 applicable limits for Puerto Rico qualified retirement plans.
The Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011 requires that, before the beginning of each taxable year, the PR Treasury provide notice of the applicable limits under Section 401(a) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which are incorporated by reference into the Puerto Rico Code limits, once the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes the retirement plan limits under the U.S. Code. On November 1, 2018, the IRS published the retirement plan limits under the U.S. Code for taxable year 2019.
“Consequently, the PR Treasury announced, through IB 18-24, the limits on qualified retirement plans under the PR Code, including those limits applicable under the U.S. Code,” Bigas-Kennerley explains. “Employers in Puerto Rico should be aware of these developments and should contact knowledgeable counsel with any questions.”
The following are the applicable 2019 limit updates, as cited by Bigas-Kennerley:
- The annual benefit limit applicable to defined benefit plans increases to $225,000 from $220,000 for 2018.
- The annual contribution limit applicable to defined contribution plans increases to $56,000 from $55,000.
- The annual compensation limit increases to $280,000 from $275,000.
Bigas-Kennerley points out that the compensation limit for defining highly compensated employees has actually decreased, to $125,000. This change is derived from Act No. 257 of December 10, 2018, which amended the definition of highly compensated employees under the PR Code to eliminate the previous $150,000 limit established pursuant to Act 9 of February 8, 2017.
Other changes include the following:
- The elective deferrals limit applicable only to participants in a dual qualified plan or to federal government employees increases to $19,000 from $18,500 for 2018.
- The catch-up contributions limit applicable only to federal government employees age 50 or over remains unchanged at $6,000.
- The elective deferrals limit applicable to participants in a plan qualified only under Section 1081.01(a) of the PR Code also remains unchanged at $15,000.
- The catch-up contributions limit applicable to participants in a plan not sponsored by the federal government who at the end of the plan year are at least 50 years of age remains unchanged as well, at $1,500.
- Finally, after-tax contribution limits are unchanged and limited to 10% of the aggregate compensation of employees for all years in which they are participants in a retirement plan.