I recently left my employer, with whom I had a 401k account. For the year to date date, I had some post- and some pre-tax contributions to that account coming out of my pay. Since my new employer does not have a 401k, I will make no more 401k contributions this year. Can I reclaim the tax I paid on the post-tax contributions in some way ( tax deduction / credit ), since the total will not surpass the maximum pre-tax contribution for the year?

  • Have you recharacterized the contributions? I'm not sure I understand the question... The yearly contribution cap is total, not pre-tax.
    – littleadv
    Jun 8, 2013 at 0:20
  • You have not as yet paid the tax on your post-tax contributions, even though your employer has withheld the tax on your behalf and sent it to the US Treasury. Even if you re-characterize your contributions (assuming this is possible), you will not get the withheld tax back from your previous employer. Instead, when you file your income tax return come next April, the extra payment will be included as part of the total tax withheld. If you overpaid, you will get a refund from the IRS, else the extra amount will reduce the tax due with your Form 1040. Jun 8, 2013 at 1:53

2 Answers 2


You are asking if you can, in effect, deposit pretax dollars to the 401(k) after the fact. I don't believe that's possible. You've already separated from that employer.


I am not even sure that you could re-characterize them after the fact, even if you were still employed with them. I am sure there is a procure for re-characterizing funds if they were mistakenly deposited the wrong way, but that is not your situation.

You are asking to un-Roth the funds. Most people are more interested in converting non-Roth (401K or IRA) to a Roth account. In fact the general advice is to deposit enough 401K funds to get the full match, then deposit funds in a Roth IRA, and then put the rest in the 401K up to the yearly max.

Because you had a 401K for part of this year, the IRS limits the deductability of IRA funds for 2013. You new IRA deposits are likely going to be of the Roth variety.

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