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?

1 Answer 1


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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