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The person in the payroll department at work said that she didn't see why I couldn't but that before she began to process the check I should first check with the I.R.S. to make sure I wasn't doing something that would get me into trouble down the line.

And here's where you went wrong. You listened to someone who didn't fully understand the law. Unfortunately, you also got someone at IRS who didn't, assuming your question was worded at least as clearly as it was here.

The law doesn't prohibit the contribution you want to make, nor does it require that the plan allow it. The answer to your question lies with the plan, not with the IRS. Since the payroll person wasn't sure, your next call should be to her, asking her to find out for sure. The "trouble down the road" potential is the plan's, not yours.

As for IRS customer service, their performance is anywhere along a scale running from fantastic to gawdawful in any one case. Much the same as most large organizations, except banks. Banks invented bureaucratic ineptitude and buck passing.

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