§ 54.4976-1TQuestions and answers relating to taxes with respect to welfare benefit funds (temporary).
Q-1: What does section 4976 provide?
A-1: Section 4976 imposes a tax on employers who provide disqualified benefits through a welfare benefit fund. The tax imposed is equal to 100 percent of the disqualified benefit.
Q-2: What constitutes a disqualified benefit?
A-2: A disqualified benefit is (a) any post-retirement medical or life insurance benefit provided with respect to a key employee (as defined in section 419A(d)(3)) through a welfare benefit fund if a separate account is required to be established for such employee under section 419A(d) and the cost for such coverage is not charged against or paid from such separate account; (b) any post-retirement medical or life insurance benefit provided through a welfare benefit fund with respect to an individual in whose favor discrimination is prohibited unless the plan of which the fund is a part meets the requirements of section 505(b) with respect to that benefit; and (c) any portion of the fund which reverts to the benefit of the employer. A post-retirement medical or life insurance benefit provided with respect to a key employee will not constitute a disqualified benefit even though such benefit is not provided through a separate account if the cost of such benefit is paid by the employer in the taxable year in which the benefit is provided and there is not (and there is not required to be) a separate account with an outstanding credit balance maintained for the key employee.
Q-3: What is the effective date of section 4976?
A-3: (a) Generally, section 4976 applies to disqualified benefits provided by a welfare benefit fund after December 31, 1985. However, a disqualified benefit, as defined in section 4976(b)(1) or (2), is not subject to section 4976(a) if it is provided from “existing reserves for post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits” that are within the transition rule set forth in section 512(a)(3)(E)(iii) and Q&A-4 of § 1.512(a)-5T (or would be if such transition rule applied to such welfare benefit fund). For example, if a welfare benefit fund in existence on July 18, 1984, provides an individual in whose favor discrimination is prohibited with a post-retirement life insurance benefit after December 31, 1985, that does not meet the requirements of section 505(b) and if the welfare benefit fund received no contributions after July 18, 1984, then the disqualified benefit provided by the fund is not subject to section 4976(a)
(b) A welfare benefit fund will be able to avoid the application of section 4976(b)(1) and (2) if the employer withdraws from such fund, before April 7, 1986, any amounts that are not attributable to “existing reserves for post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits” because they were neither actually set aside nor treated as actually set aside under Q&A-4 of § 1.512(a)-5T, on July 18, 1984. The employer making such a withdrawal must include the amount in income for the first taxable year ending after July 18, 1984, or, to the extent that the withdrawn amount is attributable to the following taxable year, for such following taxable year. Such a withdrawal will not be treated as an impermissible distribution or reversion under section 501(c)(9), and will not be treated as a disqualified benefit under section 4976(b)(3). Of course, to the extent that the welfare benefit fund contains amounts that are attributable to “existing reserves” but are not within the transition rule set forth in Q&A-4 of § 1.512(a)-5T (as applied to welfare benefit funds), for example, because such amounts exceed the amounts that could have been accumulated under the principles set forth in Revenue Rulings 69-382, 1969-2 C.B. 28; 69-478, 1969-2 C.B. 29; and 73-599, 1973-2 C.B. 40, the fund will not be able to avoid the application of section 4976(b)(1) and (2) under this paragraph.
(c) In the case of a plan which is maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements (1) between employee representatives and one or more employers and (2) which are in effect on July 1, 1985 (or ratified on or before that date), the provision does not apply to disqualified benefits provided in years beginning before the termination of the last of the collective bargaining agreements pursuant to which the plan is maintained (determined without regard to any extension of the contract agreed to after July 1, 1985). For purposes of the preceding sentence, any plan amendment made pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement relating to the plan which amends the plan solely to conform to any requirement added under section 511 of the Tax Reform Act 1984 (i.e., requirements under sections 419, 419A, 512(a)(3)(E), and 4976) shall not be treated as a termination of such collective bargaining agreement.
[T.D. 8073, 51 FR 4336, Feb. 4, 1986]
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