So let's say I max out my 401(k) ($19,000 in 2019) and then have a forced withdrawal of $10,000 because my company failed the highly compensated employee test. The $19,000 I put into the 401(k) is probably not worth exactly $19,000 at the time of the withdrawal. So is the $10,000 that I'm getting back solely the principal or does that include the "interest" on my over payment as well?


There is no distinction between "principal" and "interest" in 401(k) accounts because there is no difference in tax treatment. Your total balance (whether more or less than $19,000) will be $10,000 less and your net contributions (for tax purposes) for the year will be $9,000.

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