26 CFR § 1.401(a)(4)-4 - Nondiscriminatory availability of benefits, rights, and features.

§ 1.401(a)(4)-4 Nondiscriminatory availability of benefits, rights, and features.

(a)Introduction. This section provides rules for determining whether the benefits, rights, and features provided under a plan (i.e., all optional forms of benefit, ancillary benefits, and other rights and features available to any employee under the plan) are made available in a nondiscriminatory manner. Benefits, rights, and features provided under a plan are made available to employees in a nondiscriminatory manner only if each benefit, right, or feature satisfies the current availability requirement of paragraph (b) of this section and the effective availability requirement of paragraph (c) of this section. Paragraph (d) of this section provides special rules for applying these requirements. Paragraph (e) of this section defines optional form of benefit, ancillary benefit, and other right or feature.

(b)Current availability -

(1)General rule. The current availability requirement of this paragraph (b) is satisfied if the group of employees to whom a benefit, right, or feature is currently available during the plan year satisfies section 410(b) (without regard to the average benefit percentage test of § 1.410(b)-5). In determining whether the group of employees satisfies section 410(b), an employee is treated as benefiting only if the benefit, right, or feature is currently available to the employee.

(2)Determination of current availability -

(i)General rule. Whether a benefit, right, or feature that is subject to specified eligibility conditions is currently available to an employee generally is determined based on the current facts and circumstances with respect to the employee (e.g., current compensation, accrued benefit, position, or net worth).

(ii)Certain conditions disregarded -

(A)Certain age and service conditions - (1) General rule. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, any specified age or service condition with respect to an optional form of benefit or a social security supplement is disregarded in determining whether the optional form of benefit or the social security supplement is currently available to an employee. Thus, for example, an optional form of benefit that is available to all employees who terminate employment on or after age 55 with at least 10 years of service is treated as currently available to an employee, without regard to the employee's current age or years of service, and without regard to whether the employee could potentially meet the age and service conditions prior to attaining the plan's normal retirement age.

(2)Time-limited age or service conditions not disregarded. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(A)(1) of this section, an age or service condition is not disregarded in determining the current availability of an optional form of benefit or social security supplement if the condition must be satisfied within a limited period of time. However, in determining the current availability of an optional form of benefit or a social security supplement subject to such an age or service condition, the age and service of employees may be projected to the last date by which the age condition or service condition must be satisfied in order to be eligible for the optional form of benefit or social security supplement under the plan. Thus, for example, an optional form of benefit that is available only to employees who terminate employment between July 1, 1995, and December 31, 1995, after attainment of age 55 with at least 10 years of service is treated as currently available to an employee only if the employee could satisfy those age and service conditions by December 31, 1995.

(B)Certain other conditions. Specified conditions on the availability of a benefit, right, or feature requiring a specified percentage of the employee's accrued benefit to be nonforfeitable, termination of employment, death, satisfaction of a specified health condition (or failure to meet such condition), disability, hardship, family status, default on a plan loan secured by a participant's account balance, execution of a covenant not to compete, application for benefits or similar ministerial or mechanical acts, election of a benefit form, execution of a waiver of rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act or other federal or state law, or absence from service, are disregarded in determining the employees to whom the benefit, right, or feature is currently available. In addition, if a multiemployer plan includes a reasonable condition that limits eligibility for an ancillary benefit, or other right or feature, to those employees who have recent service under the plan (e.g., a condition on a death benefit that requires an employee to have a minimum number of hours credited during the last two years) and the condition applies to all employees in the multiemployer plan (including the collectively bargained employees) to whom the ancillary benefit, or other right or feature, is otherwise currently available, then the condition is disregarded in determining the employees to whom the ancillary benefit, or other right or feature, is currently available.

(C)Certain conditions relating to mandatory cash-outs. In the case of a plan that provides for mandatory cash-outs of all terminated employees who have a vested accrued benefit with an actuarial present value less than or equal to a specified dollar amount (not to exceed the cash-out limit in effect under § 1.411(a)-11(c)(3)(ii)) as permitted by sections 411(a)(11) and 417(e), the implicit condition on any benefit, right, or feature (other than the mandatory cash-out) that requires the employee to have a vested accrued benefit with an actuarial present value in excess of the specified dollar amount is disregarded in determining the employees to whom the benefit, right, or feature is currently available.

(D)Other dollar limits. A condition that the amount of an employee's vested accrued benefit or the actuarial present value of that benefit be less than or equal to a specified dollar amount is disregarded in determining the employees to whom the benefit, right, or feature is currently available.

(E)Certain conditions on plan loans. In the case of an employee's right to a loan from the plan, the condition that an employee must have an account balance sufficient to be eligible to receive a minimum loan amount specified in the plan (not to exceed $1,000) is disregarded in determining the employees to whom the right is currently available.

(3)Benefits, rights, and features that are eliminated prospectively -

(i)Special testing rule. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a benefit, right, or feature that is eliminated with respect to benefits accrued after the later of the eliminating amendment's adoption or effective date (the elimination date), but is retained with respect to benefits accrued as of the elimination date, and that satisfies this paragraph (b) as of the elimination date, is treated as satisfying this paragraph (b) for all subsequent periods. This rule does not apply if the terms of the benefit, right, or feature (including the employees to whom it is available) are changed after the elimination date.

(ii)Elimination of a benefit, right, or feature -

(A)General rule. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3), a benefit, right, or feature provided to an employee is eliminated with respect to benefits accrued after the elimination date if the amount or value of the benefit, right, or feature depends solely on the amount of the employee's accrued benefit (within the meaning of section 411(a)(7)) as of the elimination date, including subsequent income, expenses, gains, and losses with respect to that benefit in the case of a defined contribution plan.

(B)Special rule for benefits, rights, and features that are not section 411(d)(6)-protected benefits. Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) of this section, in the case of a benefit, right, or feature under a defined contribution plan that is not a section 411(d)(6)-protected benefit (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-4, Q&A-1), e.g., the availability of plan loans, for purposes of this paragraph (b)(3)(ii) each employee's accrued benefit as of the elimination date may be treated, on a uniform basis, as consisting exclusively of the dollar amount of the employee's account balance as of the elimination date.

(C)Special rule for benefits, rights, and features that depend on adjusted accrued benefits. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(3), a benefit, right, or feature provided to an employee under a plan that has made a fresh start does not fail to be eliminated as of an elimination date that is the fresh-start date merely because it depends solely on the amount of the employee's adjusted accrued benefit (within the meaning of § 1.401(a)(4)-13(d)(8)).

(c)Effective availability -

(1)General rule. Based on all of the relevant facts and circumstances, the group of employees to whom a benefit, right, or feature is effectively available must not substantially favor HCEs.

(2)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules of this paragraph (c):

Example 1.
Employer X maintains Plan A, a defined benefit plan that covers both of its highly compensated nonexcludable employees and nine of its 12 nonhighly compensated nonexcludable employees. Plan A provides for a normal retirement benefit payable as an annuity and based on a normal retirement age of 65, and an early retirement benefit payable upon termination in the form of an annuity to employees who terminate from service with the employer on or after age 55 with 30 or more years of service. Both HCEs of Employer X currently meet the age and service requirement, or will have 30 years of service by the time they reach age 55. All but two of the nine NHCEs of Employer X who are covered by Plan A were hired on or after age 35 and, thus, cannot qualify for the early retirement benefit. Even though the group of employees to whom the early retirement benefit is currently available satisfies the ratio percentage test of § 1.410(b)-2(b)(2) when age and service are disregarded pursuant to paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(A) of this section, absent other facts, the group of employees to whom the early retirement benefit is effectively available substantially favors HCEs.
Example 2.
Employer Y maintains Plan B, a defined benefit plan that provides for a normal retirement benefit payable as an annuity and based on a normal retirement age of 65. By a plan amendment first adopted and effective December 1, 1998, Employer Y amends Plan B to provide an early retirement benefit that is available only to employees who terminate employment by December 15, 1998, and who are at least age 55 with 30 or more years of service. Assume that all employees were hired prior to attaining age 25 and that the group of employees who have, or will have, attained age 55 with 30 years of service by December 15, 1998, satisfies the ratio percentage test of § 1.410(b)-2(b)(2). Assume, further, that the employer takes no steps to inform all eligible employees of the early retirement option on a timely basis and that the only employees who terminate from employment with the employer during the two-week period in which the early retirement benefit is available are HCEs. Under these facts, the group of employees to whom this early retirement window benefit is effectively available substantially favors HCEs.
Example 3.
Employer Z amends Plan C on June 30, 1999, to provide for a single sum optional form of benefit for employees who terminate from employment with Employer Z after June 30, 1999, and before January 1, 2000. The availability of this single sum optional form of benefit is conditioned on the employee's having a particular disability at the time of termination of employment. The only employee of the employer who meets this disability requirement at the time of the amendment and thereafter through December 31, 1999, is a HCE. Under paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(B) of this section, the disability condition is disregarded in determining the current availability of the single sum optional form of benefit. Nevertheless, under these facts, the group of employees to whom the single sum optional form of benefit is effectively available substantially favors HCEs.

(d)Special rules -

(1)Mergers and acquisitions -

(i)Special testing rule. A benefit, right, or feature available under a plan solely to an acquired group of employees is treated as satisfying paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section during the period that each of the following requirements is satisfied:

(A) The benefit, right, or feature must satisfy paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section (determined without regard to the special rule in section 410(b)(6)(C)) on the date that is selected by the employer as the latest date by which an employee must be hired or transferred into the acquired trade or business for an employee to be included in the acquired group of employees. This determination is made with reference to the plan of the current employer and its nonexcludable employees.

(B) The benefit, right, or feature must be available under the plan of the current employer after the transaction on the same terms as it was available under the plan of the prior employer before the transaction. This requirement is not violated merely because of a change made to the benefit, right, or feature that is permitted by section 411(d)(6), provided that -

(1) The change is a replacement of the benefit, right, or feature with another benefit, right, or feature that is available to the same employees as the original benefit, right, or feature, and the original benefit, right, or feature is of inherently equal or greater value (within the meaning of paragraph (d)(4)(i)(A) of this section) than the benefit, right, or feature that replaces it; or

(2) The change is made before January 12, 1993.

(ii)Scope of special testing rule. This paragraph (d)(1) applies only to benefits, rights, and features with respect to benefits accruing under the plan of the current employer, and not to benefits, rights, and features with respect to benefits accrued under the plan of the prior employer (unless, pursuant to the transaction, the plan of the prior employer becomes the plan of the current employer, or the assets and liabilities with respect to the acquired group of employees under the plan of the prior employer are transferred to the plan of the current employer in a plan merger, consolidation, or other transfer described in section 414(l)).

(iii)Example. The following example illustrates the rules of this paragraph (d)(1):

Example.
Employer X maintains Plan A, a defined benefit plan with a single sum optional form of benefit for all employees. Employer Y acquires Employer X and merges Plan A into Plan B, a defined benefit plan maintained by Employer Y that does not otherwise provide a single sum optional form of benefit. Employer Y continues to provide the single sum optional form of benefit under Plan B on the same terms as it was offered under Plan A to all employees who were acquired in the transaction with Employer X (and to no other employees). The optional form of benefit satisfies paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section immediately following the transaction (determined without taking into account section 410(b)(6)(C)) when tested with reference to Plan B and Employer Y's nonexcludable employees. Under these facts, Plan B is treated as satisfying this section with respect to the single sum optional form of benefit for the plan year of the transaction and all subsequent plan years.

(2)Frozen participants. A plan must satisfy the nondiscriminatory availability requirement of this section not only with respect to benefits, rights, and features provided to employees who are currently benefiting under the plan, but also separately with respect to benefits, rights, and features provided to nonexcludable employees with accrued benefits who are not currently benefiting under the plan (frozen participants). Thus, each benefit, right, and feature available to any frozen participant under the plan is separately subject to the requirements of this section. A plan satisfies paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section with respect to a benefit, right, or feature available to any frozen participant under the plan only if one or more of the following requirements is satisfied:

(i) The benefit, right, or feature must be one that would satisfy paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section if it were not available to any employee currently benefiting under the plan.

(ii) The benefit, right, or feature must be one that would satisfy paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section if all frozen participants were treated as employees currently benefiting under the plan.

(iii) No change in the availability of the benefit, right, or feature may have been made that is first effective in the current plan year with respect to a frozen participant.

(iv) Any change in the availability of the benefit, right, or feature that is first effective in the current plan year with respect to a frozen participant must be made in a nondiscriminatory manner. Thus, any expansion in the availability of the benefit, right, or feature to any highly compensated frozen participant must be applied on a consistent basis to all nonhighly compensated frozen participants. Similarly, any contraction in the availability of the benefit, right, or feature that affects any nonhighly compensated frozen participant must be applied on a consistent basis to all highly compensated frozen participants.

(3)Early retirement window benefits. If a benefit, right, or feature meets the definition of an early retirement window benefit in § 1.401(a)(4)-3(f)(4)(iii) (or would meet that definition if the definition applied to all benefits, rights, and features), the benefit, right, or feature is disregarded for purposes of applying this section with respect to an employee for all plan years other than the first plan year in which the benefit is currently available to the employee.

(4)Permissive aggregation of certain benefits, rights, or features -

(i)General rule. An optional form of benefit, ancillary benefit, or other right or feature may be aggregated with another optional form of benefit, ancillary benefit, or other right or feature, respectively, and the two may be treated as a single optional form of benefit, ancillary benefit, or other right or feature, if both of the following requirements are satisfied:

(A) One of the two optional forms of benefit, ancillary benefit, or other rights or features must in all cases be of inherently equal or greater value than the other. For this purpose, one benefit, right, or feature is of inherently equal or greater value than another benefit, right, or feature only if, at any time and under any conditions, it is impossible for any employee to receive a smaller amount or a less valuable right under the first benefit, right, or feature than under the second benefit, right, or feature.

(B) The optional form of benefit, ancillary benefit, or other right or feature of inherently equal or greater value must separately satisfy paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section (without regard to this paragraph (d)(4)).

(ii)Aggregation may be applied more than once. The aggregation rule in this paragraph (d)(4) may be applied more than once. Thus, for example, an optional form of benefit may be aggregated with another optional form of benefit that itself constitutes two separate optional forms of benefit that are aggregated and treated as a single optional form of benefit under this paragraph (d)(4).

(iii)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules in this paragraph (d)(4):

Example 1.
Plan A is a defined benefit plan that provides a single sum optional form of benefit to all employees. The single sum optional form of benefit is available on the same terms to all employees, except that, for employees in Division S, a five-percent discount factor is applied and, for employees of Division T, a seven-percent discount factor is applied. Under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the single sum optional form of benefit constitutes two separate optional forms of benefit. Assume that the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division S separately satisfies paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section without taking into account this paragraph (d)(4). Because a lower discount factor is applied in determining the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division S than is applied in determining the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division T, the first single sum optional form of benefit is of inherently greater value than the second single sum optional form of benefit. Under these facts, these two single sum optional forms of benefit may be aggregated and treated as a single optional form of benefit for purposes of this section.
Example 2.
The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that, in order to receive the single sum optional form of benefit, employees of Division S (but not employees of Division T) must have completed at least 20 years of service. The single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division S is not of inherently equal or greater value than the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division T, because an employee of Division S who terminates employment with less than 20 years of service would receive a smaller single sum amount (i.e., zero) than a similarly-situated employee of Division T who terminates employment with less than 20 years of service. Under these facts, the two single sum optional forms of benefit may not be aggregated and treated as a single optional form of benefit for purposes of this section.

(5)Certain spousal benefits. In the case of a plan that includes two or more plans that have been permissively aggregated under § 1.410(b)-7(d), the aggregated plan satisfies this section with respect to the availability of any nonsubsidized qualified joint and survivor annuities, qualified preretirement survivor annuities, or spousal death benefits described in section 401(a)(11), if each plan that is part of the aggregated plan satisfies section 401(a)(11). Whether a benefit is considered subsidized for this purpose may be determined using any reasonable actuarial assumptions. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(5), a qualified joint and survivor annuity, qualified preretirement survivor annuity, or spousal death benefit is deemed to be nonsubsidized if it is provided under a defined contribution plan.

(6)Special ESOP rules. An ESOP does not fail to satisfy paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section merely because it makes an investment diversification right or feature or a distribution option available solely to all qualified participants (within the meaning of section 401(a)(28)(B)(iii)), or merely because the restrictions of section 409(n) apply to certain individuals.

(7)Special testing rule for unpredictable contingent event benefits. A benefit, right, or feature that is contingent on the occurrence of an unpredictable contingent event (within the meaning of section 412(l)(7)(B)(ii)) is tested under this section as if the event had occurred. Thus, the current availability of a benefit that becomes an optional form of benefit upon the occurrence of an unpredictable contingent event is tested by deeming the event to have occurred and by disregarding age and service conditions on the eligibility for that benefit to the extent permitted for optional forms of benefit under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(e)Definitions -

(1)Optional form of benefit -

(i)General rule. The term optional form of benefit means a distribution alternative (including the normal form of benefit) that is available under a plan with respect to benefits described in section 411(d)(6)(A) or a distribution alternative that is an early retirement benefit or retirement-type subsidy described in section 411(d)(6)(B)(i), including a QSUPP. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section, different optional forms of benefit exist if a distribution alternative is not payable on substantially the same terms as another distribution alternative. The relevant terms include all terms affecting the value of the optional form, such as the method of benefit calculation and the actuarial assumptions used to determine the amount distributed. Thus, for example, different optional forms of benefit may result from differences in terms relating to the payment schedule, timing, commencement, medium of distribution (e.g., in cash or in kind), election rights, differences in eligibility requirements, or the portion of the benefit to which the distribution alternative applies.

(ii)Exceptions -

(A)Differences in benefit formula or accrual method. A distribution alternative available under a defined benefit plan does not fail to be a single optional form of benefit merely because the benefit formulas, accrual methods, or other factors (including service-computation methods and definitions of compensation) underlying, or the manner in which employees vest in, the accrued benefit that is paid in the form of the distribution alternative are different for different employees to whom the distribution alternative is available. Notwithstanding the foregoing, differences in the normal retirement ages of employees or in the form in which the accrued benefit of employees is payable at normal retirement age under a plan are taken into account in determining whether a distribution alternative constitutes one or more optional forms of benefit.

(B)Differences in allocation formula. A distribution alternative available under a defined contribution plan does not fail to be a single optional form of benefit merely because the allocation formula or other factors (including service-computation methods, definitions of compensation, and the manner in which amounts described in § 1.401(a)(4)-2(c)(2)(iii) are allocated) underlying, or the manner in which employees vest in, the accrued benefit that is paid in the form of the distribution alternative are different for different employees to whom the distribution alternative is available.

(C)Distributions subject to section 417(e). A distribution alternative available under a defined benefit plan does not fail to be a single optional form of benefit merely because, in determining the amount of a distribution, the plan applies a lower interest rate to determine the distribution for employees with a vested accrued benefit having an actuarial present value not in excess of $25,000, as required by section 417(e)(3) and § 1.417(e)-1.

(D)Differences attributable to uniform normal retirement age. A distribution alternative available under a defined benefit plan does not fail to be a single optional form of benefit, to the extent that the differences are attributable to differences in normal retirement dates among employees, provided that the differences do not prevent the employees from having the same uniform normal retirement age under the definition of uniform normal retirement age in § 1.401(a)(4)-12.

(iii)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules in this paragraph (e)(1):

Example 1.
Plan A is a defined benefit plan that benefits all employees of Divisions S and T. The plan offers a qualified joint and 50-percent survivor annuity at normal retirement age, calculated by multiplying an employee's single life annuity payment by a factor. For an employee of Division S whose benefit commences at age 65, the plan provides a factor of 0.90, but for a similarly-situated employee of Division T the plan provides a factor of 0.85. The qualified joint and survivor annuity is not available to employees of Divisions S and T on substantially the same terms, and thus it constitutes two separate optional forms of benefit.
Example 2.
Plan B is a defined benefit plan that benefits all employees of Divisions U and V. The plan offers a single sum distribution alternative available on the same terms and determined using the same actuarial assumptions, to all employees. However, different benefit formulas apply to employees of each division. Under the exception provided in paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division U is not a separate optional form of benefit from the single sum optional form of benefit available to employees of Division V.
Example 3.
Defined benefit Plan C provides an early retirement benefit based on a schedule of early retirement factors that is a single optional form of benefit. Plan C is amended to provide an early retirement window benefit that consists of a temporary change in the plan's benefit formula (e.g., the addition of five years of service to an employee's actual service under the benefit formula) applicable in determining the benefits for certain employees who terminate employment within a limited period of time. Under the exception provided in paragraph (e)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, the early retirement optional form of benefit available to window-eligible employees is not a separate optional form of benefit from the early retirement optional form of benefit available to the other employees.

(2)Ancillary benefit. The term ancillary benefit means social security supplements (other than QSUPPs), disability benefits not in excess of a qualified disability benefit described in section 411(a)(9), ancillary life insurance and health insurance benefits, death benefits under a defined contribution plan, preretirement death benefits under a defined benefit plan, shut-down benefits not protected under section 411(d)(6), and other similar benefits. Different ancillary benefits exist if an ancillary benefit is not available on substantially the same terms as another ancillary benefit. Principles similar to those in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section apply in making this determination.

(3)Other right or feature -

(i)General rule. The term other right or feature generally means any right or feature applicable to employees under the plan. Different rights or features exist if a right or feature is not available on substantially the same terms as another right or feature.

(ii)Exceptions to definition of other right or feature. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, a right or feature is not considered an other right or feature if it -

(A) Is an optional form of benefit or an ancillary benefit under the plan;

(B) Is one of the terms that are taken into account in determining whether separate optional forms of benefit or ancillary benefits exist, or that would be taken into account but for paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section (e.g., benefit formulas or the manner in which benefits vest); or

(C) Cannot reasonably be expected to be of meaningful value to an employee (e.g., administrative details).

(iii)Examples. Other rights and features include, but are not limited to -

(A)Plan loan provisions (other than those relating to a distribution of an employee's accrued benefit upon default under a loan);

(B) The right to direct investments;

(C) The right to a particular form of investment, including, for example, a particular class or type of employer securities (taking into account, in determining whether different forms of investment exist, any differences in conversion, dividend, voting, liquidation preference, or other rights conferred under the security);

(D) The right to make each rate of elective contributions described in § 1.401(k)-6 (determining the rate based on the plan's definition of the compensation out of which the elective contributions are made (regardless of whether that definition satisfies section 414(s)), but also treating different rates as existing if they are based on definitions of compensation or other requirements or formulas that are not substantially the same);

(E) The right to make after-tax employee contributions to a defined benefit plan that are not allocated to separate accounts;

(F) The right to make each rate of after-tax employee contributions described in § 1.401(m)-1(a)(3) (determining the rate based on the plan's definition of the compensation out of which the after-tax employee contributions are made (regardless of whether that definition satisfies section 414(s)), but also treating different rates as existing if they are based on definitions of compensation or other requirements or formulas that are not substantially the same);

(G) The right to each rate of allocation of matching contributions described in § 1.401(m)-1(a)(2) (determining the rate using the amount of matching, elective, and after-tax employee contributions determined after any corrections under §§ 1.401(k)-2(b)(1)(i), 1.401(m)-2(b)(1)(i), but also treating different rates as existing if they are based on definitions of compensation or other requirements or formulas that are not substantially the same);

(H) The right to purchase additional retirement or ancillary benefits under the plan; and

(I) The right to make rollover contributions and transfers to and from the plan.

[T.D. 8485, 58 FR 46796, Sept. 3, 1993, as amended by T.D. 8794, 63 FR 70338, Dec. 21, 1998; T.D. 8891, 65 FR 44682, July 19, 2000; T.D. 9169, 69 FR 78153, Dec. 29, 2004]