Defined Benefit Plan Calculator

Defined Benefit Plan Calculator

What Is Your Defined Benefit Plan Deduction?

The Defined Benefit Plan Calculator provides a FREE Defined Benefit pension calculation. Because Cash Balance Plans are a type of Defined Benefit Plan, this tool also is a Cash Balance Plan Calculator and will provide a Cash Balance Plan calculation. Use the sliders to select your age, your income and how long you have been in business. If you are married and your spouse is an employee of your business, provide the same information for your spouse. Employing your spouse increases your possible Defined Benefit deduction.

The Defined Benefit Plan Calculator will compute figures in real-time as you move the sliders. This functionality shows you how the numbers change for each input. In addition, you can run several scenarios quickly, because you don't have to "submit" your information each time you change your data.

A note on income, for Corporations and LLCs taxed as Corporations, input your W-2 wage. For partnerships and sole proprietors, input your earned income found on your K-1 or Schedule C, respectively.

The Defined Benefit pension calculator provides two figures:

1. Deductible Contribution: The estimated first year Defined Benefit contribution without maximum front-loading.

2. Front-Loaded Contribution: The estimated maximum amount that can be contributed in the first year. The maximum contribution calculates a "front-loaded" figure. This option results in lower contributions in future years. "Over-contributing" in the early years may make sense when a larger deduction is needed up-front or a longer compounding period for "more dollars" is desired. 

Questions? Contact us at (480) 795-8256 or

How Inputs Impact Your Defined Benefit Pension Calculation

The Defined Benefit Plan Calculator computes your possible deductible contribution. How do the inputs impact your Defined Benefit Plan calculation?

1. Age: In general, the closer you are to retirement age, the higher your allowable contribution. This is because for a given benefit level, higher Defined Benefit contributions are required when the horizon is shorter.

2. Your Income: Defined Benefit limits are adjusted for income. In 2023, a 3-year average income of $265,000 would provide the full maximum benefit. A lower average income may reduce the Defined Benefit limit. However, this may not necessarily be the case. It will depend on the level of income and how long the owner has worked for the business.  

3. Years with Business: As mentioned, the number of years in the business may impact your Defined Benefit Plan limit when average compensation is below $265,000 in 2023.

4. Is Your Spouse an Employee in the Business?: By having your spouse as an employee of the business, you can potentially double your deductible contribution amount. The increase in the allowable contribution will depend on your spouse's age, income and years with the business. 

Increasing Your Defined Benefit Plan Contribution

Now that you know how the inputs impact the Defined Benefit Plan calculation, here are some ways you can increase your maximum deductible contribution:

1. Increase Your Income: Increasing your income will provide you a higher limit. This is most easily done when you are taxed as a Corporation, because higher W-2 wages will directly impact your contribution limit. However, you will need to weigh the larger income tax deduction against higher payroll taxes.

2. Employ Your Spouse in the Business: As mentioned, if your spouse is an employee in the business, you can potentially double your deduction. In practice, the spouse may receive a lower wage than the primary owner of the company. However, depending on the spouse's age and income level, the Defined Benefit deduction can be significantly increased.

3. Add a 401(k) Plan: By adding a 401(k) Plan, you can defer and deduct an additional $26,000 per person if you are age 50 or older. In addition, Profit Sharing allocations are permitted.

What If You Have Employees?

In general, employees will need to be covered in the Defined Benefit Plan, although typically at a much lower level. The Defined Benefit Plan contribution calculator does not quantify the cost of employee benefits. However, depending on the ages and income levels of your employees, the cost of benefits relative to tax savings may make good financial sense.

We can calculate your deduction and the cost of employee benefits if you contact us at (480) 795-8256 or at

Defined Benefit Calculator

Other Defined Benefit Plan Questions

What Is a Defined Benefit Plan? 
A Defined Benefit Plan is an employer "sponsored" retirement plan, like a 401(k) or SEP. However, in a Defined Benefit Plan, you can make much larger deductible contributions – as high as $100k to $250k+ per year.

How is the Defined Benefit Plan contribution calculated?
Defined Benefit Plans have a contribution range (i.e., minimum required and maximum deductible contribution amounts). An actuary calculates both the minimum amount required to fund the Defined Benefit Plan and the maximum annual amount that can be deducted. 

How is the minimum required contribution calculated?
The minimum contribution equals the value of benefit increases in the coming year plus a 15-year amortization of unfunded benefits already accrued. If the Defined Benefit Plan is overfunded, there is no unfunded benefits, so the value of benefit increases is reduced by the amount of funding surplus. In fact, if the Plan is very well funded, there may not be a required contribution. Because most small employers want to overfund their Defined Benefit Plan, the calculator on this page does not show the minimum required amount.

How is the maximum deductible contribution calculated?
An employer can fund 150% of the value of benefits already accrued plus the full value of benefit increases in the coming year. This amount is calculated by the calculator on this page. If employers overfund the Defined Benefit Plan, future contributions are likely to decrease over time.

Is there a way to increase your Defined Benefit deduction?
You may increase your deduction by amending the Plan to provide a higher benefit and/or increasing Plan compensation (e.g., W-2 wages for corporations). Employing your spouse and providing them a benefit also can significantly increase your deduction. In some cases, it may approximately double your allowable deduction.

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Cash Balance Plan Calculator

You also can use this tool as a Cash Balance Plan calculator. The contribution limits for Traditional and Cash Balance Defined Benefit Plans are the same, so the figures above also provide a Cash Balance Plan calculation. Cash Balance Plans are structured differently from Traditional Defined Benefit Plans, and which design you use depends on your objectives.

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* Figures provided in the calculator are first-year contribution estimates and for informational purposes only. Contributions in subsequent years will vary depending on investment returns, future salaries and any legislation changes. The calculator is not a substitute for professional advice. Actual deductible amounts may vary based on your situation.