26 CFR § 1.219-2 - Definition of active participant.
(a) In general. This section defines the term active participant for individuals who participate in retirement plans described in section 219(b)(2). Any individual who is an active participant in such a plan is not allowed a deduction under section 219(a) for contributions to an individual retirement account.
(b) Defined benefit plans -
(1) In general. Except as provided in subparagraphs (2), (3) and (4) of this paragraph, an individual is an active participant in a defined benefit plan if for any portion of the plan year ending with or within such individual's taxable year he is not excluded under the eligibility provisions of the plan. An individual is not an active participant in a particular taxable year merely because the individual meets the plan's eligibility requirements during a plan year beginning in that particular taxable year but ending in a later taxable year of the individual. However, for purposes of this section, an individual is deemed not to satisfy the eligibility provisions for a particular plan year if his compensation is less than the minimum amount of compensation needed under the plan to accrue a benefit. For example, assume a plan is integrated with Social Security and only those individuals whose compensation exceeds a certain amount accrue benefits under the plan. An individual whose compensation for the plan year ending with or within his taxable year is less than the amount necessary under the plan to accrue a benefit is not an active participant in such plan.
(2) Rules for plans maintained by more than one employer. In the case of a defined benefit plan described in section 413(a) and funded at least in part by service-related contributions, e.g., so many cents-per-hour, an individual is an active participant if an employer is contributing or is required to contribute to the plan an amount based on that individual's service taken into account for the plan year ending with or within the individual's taxable year. The general rule in paragraph (b)(1) of this section applies in the case of plans described in section 413(a) and funded only on some non-service-related unit, e.g., so many cents-per-ton of coal.
(3) Plans in which accruals for all participants have ceased. In the case of a defined benefit plan in which accruals for all participants have ceased, an individual in such a plan is not an active participant. However, any benefit that may vary with future compensation of an individual provides additional accruals. For example, a plan in which future benefit accruals have ceased, but the actual benefit depends upon final average compensation will not be considered as one in which accruals have ceased.
(4) No accruals after specified age. An individual in a defined benefit plan who accrues no additional benefits in a plan year ending with or within such individual's taxable year by reason of attaining a specified age is not an active participant by reason of his participation in that plan.
(c) Money purchase plan. An individual is an active participant in a money purchase plan if under the terms of the plan employer contributions must be allocated to the individual's account with respect to the plan year ending with or within the individual's taxable year. This rule applies even if an individual is not employed at any time during the individual's taxable year.
(d) Profit-sharing and stock-bonus plans -
(1) In general. This paragraph applies to profit-sharing and stock bonus plans. An individual is an active participant in such plans in a taxable year if a forfeiture is allocated to his account as of a date in such taxable year. An individual is also an active participant in a taxable year in such plans if an employer contribution is added to the participant's account in such taxable year. A contribution is added to a participant's account as of the later of the following two dates: the date the contribution is made or the date as of which it is allocated. Thus, if a contribution is made in an individual's taxable year 2 and allocated as of a date in individual's taxable year 1, the later of the relevant dates is the date the contribution is made. Consequently, the individual is an active participant in year 2 but not in year 1 as a result of that contribution.
(2) Special rule. An individual is not an active participant for a particular taxable year by reason of a contribution made in such year allocated to a previous year if such individual was an active participant in such previous year by reason of a prior contribution that was allocated as of a date in such previous year.
(e) Employee contributions. If an employee makes a voluntary or mandatory contribution to a plan described in paragraphs (b), (c), or (d) of this section, such employee is an active participant in the plan for the taxable year in which such contribution is made.
(f) Certain individuals not active participants. For purposes of this section, an individual is not an active participant under a plan for any taxable year of such individual for which such individual elects, pursuant to the plan, not to participate in such plan.
(g) Retirement savings for married individuals. The provisions of this section apply in determining whether an individual or his spouse is an active participant in a plan for purposes of section 220 (relating to retirement savings for certain married individuals).
(h) Examples. The provisions of this section may be illustrated by the following examples:
(i) Effective date. The provisions set forth in this section are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1978.
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