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Excess benefit plan

A type of catch-all phrase for nonqualified deferred compensation plans set up solely to provide you with the ability to defer amounts for retirement greater than those allowed under the limits in IRC Section 415 for tax-qualified plans, such as 401(k) plans or 403(b) plans. These limits are adjusted each year for inflation.

Excess 401(k) plans are commmon at many large companies. They have most of the features of nonqualified deferred compensation plans, including the need to comply with Section 409A. They can be used more broadly with employees, by contrast with “top hat” plans.

See an FAQ elsewhere on this website for the differences between elective deferred compensation and an excess 401(k) plan.