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Tax Deferred Annuities

The University offers employees who wish to set aside additional retirement income an opportunity to enroll in one or more Tax Deferred Annuities within the IRS Annual Limit.  The plans available to eligible employees are defined in the Internal Revenue Code as: 401(k), 401(k) Roth, 403(b), and 457 plans.  Under current tax law, these plans provide opportunities to defer a portion of your income, the taxes on that income, and any interest earned until such time as you actually receive the funds, which usually occurs after retirement. In addition, employees who are separating from service may elect to make a tax deferred contribution from their unused annual leave payout.

Participation in these programs is available to all regular faculty, staff, residents and post docs on a voluntary basis. The University does not endorse a particular plan nor does it encourage or discourage employee participation.


Overview of Plans

401(k)/401(k) Roth

401(k) pre-tax contributions are tax deferred until money is withdrawn. Distributions from this plan are subject to ordinary income tax and if taken prior to age 59 ½, they may be subject to an additional 10% federal early withdrawal tax. Under the 401(k) Roth, you pay taxes on the money today and do not pay taxes when you withdraw the funds and you don’t pay taxes on the growth of the funds either. However, if withdrawn prior to the required 5 year holding period or age 59 ½, income taxes and a 10% federal early withdrawal tax will apply. The State of TN provides an up to $50 pre-tax contribution to the 401k plan. Residents and Post Docs are NOT eligible for the state match. 

457 Plan

This plan operates similarly to a 401(k) or 403(b), only there is no 10 percent penalty for withdrawal before the age of 59 ½. There is no match provided for the 457 plan.


All newly hired employees are auto-enrolled in the pre-tax 401k at 2% of base salary with an up to $50 match from UT. TCRS Hybrid members receive an additional 5% contribution to the 401k from UT regardless of active participation. New hires should receive a notification letter from Empower Retirement with log-in and contact information. Employees are also eligible for enrollment in 401k Roth or 457 at any time via the Retire Ready TN website. Employees have the option to opt-out of the plan at any time.

Empower Retirement Contact:

Rosaline R. Banks, CRPC | Retirement Plan Advisor
Cell: 901.293.5446 | Email:
Schedule a Consultation


A 403b is another option to shelter pre-tax dollars for retirement. Distributions from this plan are subject to ordinary income tax and if taken prior to age 59 ½, may be subject to an additional 10% federal early withdrawal tax. There is no employer match for this plan. If contributing to a 403(b) and a 401(k), the IRS will consider the combined contributions one yearly maximum.


To enroll in the 403(b) there are two steps. An enrollment change form must be completed and submitted to the Benefits office: 910 Madison Ave. Ste. 753. An account must be opened with one of the companies listed below to complete the enrollment process. 


  • TIAA: Plan #102587; 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017; 800.842.2733
  • VOYA: Plan# VT0057; 800.584.6001
Jul 11, 2022