26 CFR § 1.410(b)-2 - Minimum coverage requirements (after 1993).

§ 1.410(b)-2 Minimum coverage requirements (after 1993).

(a)In general. A plan is a qualified plan for a plan year only if the plan satisfies section 410(b) for the plan year. A plan satisfies section 410(b) for a plan year if and only if it satisfies paragraph (b) of this section with respect to employees for the plan year and paragraph (c) of this section with respect to former employees for the plan year. The rules in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section apply to all plans as a condition of qualification, including plans under which no employee is able to accrue any additional benefits (for example, frozen plans). Paragraphs (d), (e), and (f) of this section provide special rules for nonelective section 403(b) plans subject to section 403(b)(12)(A)(i), for governmental and church plans subject to section 410(c), and for certain acquisitions or dispositions, respectively. See § 1.410(b)-7 for rules for determining the “plan” subject to section 410(b).

(b)Requirements with respect to employees -

(1)In general. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b) for a plan year if and only if it satisfies at least one of the tests in paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(7) of this section for the plan year.

(2)Ratio percentage test -

(i)In general. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b)(2) for a plan year if and only if the plan's ratio percentage for the plan year is at least 70 percent. This test incorporates both the percentage test of section 410(b)(1)(A) and the ratio test of section 410(b)(1)(B). See § 1.410(b)-9 for the definition of ratio percentage.

(ii)Examples. The following examples illustrate the ratio percentage test of this paragraph (b)(2).

Example 1.
For a plan year, Plan A benefits 70 percent of an employer's nonhighly compensated employees and 100 percent of the employer's highly compensated employees. The plan's ratio percentage for the year is 70 percent (70 percent/100 percent), and thus the plan satisfies the ratio percentage test.
Example 2.
For a plan year, Plan B benefits 40 percent of the employer's nonhighly compensated employees and 60 percent of the employer's highly compensated employees. Plan B fails to satisfy the ratio percentage test because the plan's ratio percentage is only 66.67 percent (40 percent/60 percent).

(3)Average benefit test. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b)(3) for a plan year if and only if the plan satisfies both the nondiscriminatory classification test of § 1.410(b)-4 and the average benefit percentage test of § 1.410(b)-5 for the plan year.

(4)Certain tax credit employee stock ownership plans. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b)(4) for a plan year if and only if the plan -

(i) Is a tax credit employee stock ownership plan (as defined in section 409(a)),

(ii) Is the only plan of the employer that is intended to qualify under section 401(a), and

(iii) Is a plan that satisfies the rule set forth in section 410(b)(6)(D).

This paragraph (b)(4) is available only for plan years for which the tax credit employee stock ownership plan receives contributions for which the employer is allowed a tax credit under section 41 (as in effect prior to its repeal by the Tax Reform Act of 1986) or section 48(n) (as in effect prior to its amendment by the Tax Reform Act of 1984). The requirement of this paragraph (b)(4) that the plan be the only plan of the employer that is intended to qualify under section 401(a) is not satisfied if the employer has only one plan, but that plan is treated as two or more separate plans under the mandatory disaggregation rules of § 1.410(b)-7(c).

(5)Employers with no nonhighly compensated employees. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b)(5) for a plan year if and only if the plan is maintained by an employer that has no nonhighly compensated employees at any time during the plan year.

(6)Plans benefiting no highly compensated employees. A plan satisfies this paragraph (b)(6) for a plan year if and only if the plan benefits no highly compensated employees for the plan year.

(7)Plans benefiting collectively bargained employees. A plan that benefits solely collectively bargained employees for a plan year satisfies this paragraph (b)(7) for the plan year. If a plan (within the meaning of § 1.410(b)-7(b)) benefits both collectively bargained employees and noncollectively bargained employees for a plan year, § 1.410(b)-7(c)(4) provides that the portion of the plan that benefits collectively bargained employees is treated as a separate plan from the portion of the plan that benefits noncollectively bargained employees. Thus, the mandatorily disaggregated portion of the plan that benefits the collectively bargained employees automatically satisfies this paragraph (b)(7) for the plan year and hence section 410(b). See § 1.410(b)-9 for the definitions of collectively bargained employee and noncollectively bargained employee.

(c)Requirements with respect to former employees -

(1)Former employees tested separately.Former employees are tested separately from employees for purposes of section 410(b). Thus, former employees are disregarded in applying the ratio percentage test, the nondiscriminatory classification test, and the average benefit percentage test with respect to the coverage of employees under a plan, and employees are disregarded in applying this section with respect to the coverage of former employees under a plan.

(2)Testing former employees. A plan satisfies section 410(b) with respect to former employees if and only if, under all of the relevant facts and circumstances (including the group of nonexcludable former employees not benefiting under the plan), the group of former employees benefiting under the plan does not discriminate significantly in favor of highly compensated former employees.

(d)Nonelective contributions under section 403(b) plans. For plan years beginning on or after January 1, 1989, a plan subject to section 403(b)(12)(A)(i) with respect to nonelective contributions (i.e., contributions not made pursuant to a salary reduction agreement) is treated as a plan subject to the requirements of this section. For this purpose, a plan described in the preceding sentence must satisfy the requirements of this section without regard to section 410(c) and paragraph (e) of this section. For plan years beginning before the effective date set forth in § 1.410(b)-10(d), any plan described in section 410(c)(1)(A) (regarding governmental plans) satisfies the requirements of this section.

(e)Certain governmental and church plans. The requirements of section 410(b) do not apply to a plan described in section 410(c)(1) (other than a plan subject to section 403(b)(12)(A)(i) or a plan with respect to which an election has been made under section 410(d)). Such a plan must satisfy section 401(a)(3) as in effect on September 1, 1974. For this purpose, a plan that satisfies section 410(b) (without regard to this paragraph (e)) is treated as satisfying section 401(a)(3) as in effect on September 1, 1974. For plan years beginning before the effective date set forth in § 1.410(b)-10(d), any plan described in section 410(c)(1)(A) (regarding governmental plans) satisfies the requirements of this section and is thus treated as satisfying the requirements of section 401(a)(3) as in effect on September 1, 1974. See § 1.410(b)-10(b)(2) for a special rule for plans of tax-exempt organizations.

(f)Certain acquisitions or dispositions. Section 410(b)(6)(C) (relating to certain acquisitions or dispositions) provides a special rule whereby a plan may be treated as satisfying section 410(b) for a limited period of time after an acquisition or disposition if it satisfies section 410(b) (without regard to the special rule) immediately before the acquisition or disposition and there is no significant change in the plan or in the coverage of the plan other than the acquisition or disposition. For purposes of section 410(b)(6)(C) and this paragraph (f), the terms “acquisition” and “disposition” refer to an asset or stock acquisition, merger, or other similar transaction involving a change in employer of the employees of a trade or business.

(g)Additional rules. The Commissioner may, in revenue rulings, notices, and other guidance of general applicability, provide any additional rules that may be necessary or appropriate in applying the minimum coverage requirements of section 410(b), including (without limitation) additional rules limiting or expanding the methods in § 1.410(b)-5(d) and (e) for determining employee benefit percentages.

[T.D. 8363, 56 FR 47643, Sept. 19, 1991; 57 FR 10817, Mar. 31, 1992, as amended by T.D. 8487, 58 FR 46839, Sept. 3, 1993; T.D. 8548, 59 FR 32914, June 27, 1994]