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My employer matches 2% of my contributions to my 401k but insists those contributions cannot be pre-tax. Is that correct?

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It's the opposite. The match must be pretax. If you have a Roth 401(k) for example, the match goes into the traditional side of the 401(k) account, not the Roth.

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+1 Many people seem to exhibit a profound confusion between the notions of pretax and post-tax in the context of 401k contributions. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 14 '14 at 21:42
is there an IRS source that says employer matches must be pre tax? my employer allows me to choose whether employer contributions go in pre-tax or post-tax, and that difference shows up on my paychecks and in my account balances. – Michael A Jul 14 '14 at 22:10
... (continuation) and what the employer contributes as the matching amount should have no effect on your take-home pay. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 14 '14 at 22:19
I guess my employer erroneously breaks down their matching contributions that way, since that document is pretty clear. Once again, I'm perfectly clear on the difference between my own contributions and my employer's matching contributions. – Michael A Jul 15 '14 at 13:06
.. your own contributions that you directed to your Roth 401k account: the employer match to your Roth contributions might be broken out separately as a line item on your paystub, but that is not Roth money and it is going into a traditional 401k account, same as the employer match to your traditional 401k contributions. – Dilip Sarwate Jul 15 '14 at 14:02

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