26 CFR 1.411(b)(5)-1 - Reduction in rate of benefit accrual under a defined benefit plan.

§ 1.411(b)(5)-1 Reduction in rate of benefit accrual under a defined benefit plan.

(a)In general -

(1)Organization of regulation. This section sets forth certain rules for determining whether a reduction occurs in the rate of benefit accrual under a defined benefit plan because of the attainment of any age for purposes of section 411(b)(1)(H)(i). Paragraph (b) of this section describes safe harbors for certain plan designs (including statutory hybrid plans) that are deemed to satisfy the age discrimination rules under section 411(b)(1)(H). Paragraph (c) of this section describes rules relating to statutory hybrid plan conversion amendments. Paragraph (d) of this section describes rules restricting interest credits (or equivalent amounts) under a statutory hybrid plan to a market rate of return. Paragraph (e) of this section contains additional rules related to market rates of return. Paragraph (f) of this section contains effective/applicability dates.

(2)Definitions. The definitions of accumulated benefit, lump sum-based benefit formula, statutory hybrid benefit formula, statutory hybrid plan, and variable annuity benefit formula in § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d) apply for purposes of this section.

(b)Safe harbors for certain plan designs -

(1)Accumulated benefit testing -

(i)In general. Pursuant to section 411(b)(5)(A), and subject to paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, a plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H)(i) with respect to an individual who is or could be a participant if, as of any date, the accumulated benefit of the individual would not be less than the accumulated benefit of any similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant. Thus, this test involves a comparison of the accumulated benefit of an individual who is or could be a participant in the plan with the accumulated benefit of each similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant in the plan. See paragraph (b)(5) of this section for rules regarding whether a younger individual who is or could be a participant is similarly situated to a participant. The comparison described in this paragraph (b)(1)(i) is based on any one of the following benefit measures, each of which is referred to as a safe-harbor formula measure:

(A) The annuity payable at normal retirement age (or current age, if later) if the accumulated benefit of the participant under the terms of the plan is an annuity payable at normal retirement age (or current age, if later).

(B) The current balance of a hypothetical account maintained for the participant if the accumulated benefit of the participant is the current balance of a hypothetical account.

(C) The current value of an accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation if the accumulated benefit of the participant is the current value of an accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation.

(ii)Benefit formulas for comparison -

(A)In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B), (C), (D) and (E) of this section, the safe harbor provided by section 411(b)(5)(A) and paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section is available only with respect to a participant if the participant's accumulated benefit under the plan is expressed in terms of only one safe-harbor formula measure and no similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant has an accumulated benefit that is expressed in terms of any measure other than that same safe-harbor formula measure. Thus, for example, if a plan provides that the accumulated benefit of participants who are age 55 or older is expressed under the terms of the plan as a life annuity payable at normal retirement age (or current age if later) as described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section and the plan provides that the accumulated benefit of participants who are younger than age 55 is expressed as the current balance of a hypothetical account as described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section, then the safe harbor described in section 411(b)(5)(A) and paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section does not apply to individuals who are or could be participants and who are age 55 or older.

(B)Sum-of benefit formulas. If a plan provides that a participant's accumulated benefit is expressed as the sum of benefits determined in terms of two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of a different safe-harbor formula measure, then the plan is deemed to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to the participant, provided that the plan satisfies the comparison described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section separately for benefits determined in terms of each safe-harbor formula measure and no accumulated benefit of a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant is expressed other than as -

(1) The sum of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures as is used for the participant's “sum-of” benefit;

(2) The greater of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of any one of those same safe-harbor formula measures;

(3) The choice of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of any one of those same safe-harbor formula measures;

(4) A benefit that is determined in terms of only one of those same safe-harbor formula measures; or

(5) The lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, at least one of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures.

(C)Greater-of benefit formulas. If a plan provides that a participant's accumulated benefit is expressed as the greater of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is determined in terms of a different safe-harbor formula measure, then the plan is deemed to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to the participant, provided that the plan satisfies the comparison described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section separately for benefits determined in terms of each safe-harbor formula measure and no accumulated benefit of a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant is expressed other than as -

(1) The greater of benefits determined under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures as is used for the participant's “greater-of” benefit;

(2) The choice of benefits determined under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures;

(3) A benefit that is determined in terms of only one of those same safe-harbor formula measures; or

(4) The lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, at least one of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures.

(D)Choice-of benefit formulas. If a plan provides that a participant's accumulated benefit is determined pursuant to a choice by the participant between benefits determined in terms of two or more different safe-harbor formula measures, then the plan is deemed to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to the participant, provided that the plan satisfies the comparison described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section separately for benefits determined in terms of each safe-harbor formula measure and no accumulated benefit of a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant is expressed other than as -

(1) The choice of benefits determined under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures as is used for the participant's “choice-of” benefit;

(2) A benefit that is determined in terms of only one of those same safe-harbor formula measures; or

(3) The lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, at least one of which is expressed in terms of one of those same safe-harbor formula measures.

(E)Lesser-of benefit formulas. If a plan provides that a participant's accumulated benefit is expressed as a single safe-harbor formula measure and no accumulated benefit of a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant is expressed other than as a benefit that is determined under the same safe-harbor formula measure or as the lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, at least one of which is expressed in terms of the same safe-harbor formula measure, then the plan is deemed to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to the participant only if the plan satisfies the comparison described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section for benefits determined in terms of the same safe-harbor formula measure. Similarly, if a plan provides that a participant's accumulated benefit is expressed as the lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, each of which is determined in terms of a different safe-harbor formula measure, then the plan is deemed to satisfy paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to the participant only if the plan satisfies the comparison described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section separately for benefits determined in terms of each safe-harbor formula measure and no accumulated benefit of a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant is expressed other than as the lesser of benefits under two or more benefit formulas, expressed in terms of all of those same safe-harbor formula measures (and any other additional formula measures).

(F)Limitations on plan formulas that provide for hypothetical accounts or accumulated percentages of final average compensation. For plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable), a benefit measure is a safe harbor formula measure described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) or (C) of this section only if the formula under which the balance of a hypothetical account or the accumulated percentage of final average compensation is determined is a lump-sum based benefit formula.

(iii)Disregard of certain subsidized benefits. For purposes of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, any subsidized portion of an early retirement benefit that is included in a participant's accumulated benefit is disregarded. For this purpose, an early retirement benefit includes a subsidized portion only if it provides a higher actuarial present value on account of commencement before normal retirement age. However, for plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable), if the annual benefit payable before normal retirement age is greater for a participant than the annual benefit under the corresponding form of benefit for any similarly situated, older individual who is or could be a participant and who is currently at or before normal retirement age, then that excess is not part of the subsidized portion of an early retirement benefit and, accordingly, is not disregarded under this paragraph (b)(1)(iii). For purposes of determining whether the annual benefit payable before normal retirement age is greater for a participant than the annual benefit under the corresponding form of benefit for any similarly situated, older individual who is or could be a participant, social security leveling options and social security supplements are disregarded. In addition, a plan is not treated as providing a greater annual benefit to a participant than to a similarly situated, older individual who is or could be a participant merely because the reduction (based on actuarial equivalence, using reasonable actuarial assumptions) in the amount of an annuity to reflect a survivor benefit is smaller for the participant than for a similarly situated, older individual who is or could be a participant.

(iv)Examples. The provisions of this paragraph (b)(1) are illustrated by the following examples:

Example 1.
(i)Facts relating to formulas described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section. Employer X maintains a defined benefit plan that provides a straight life annuity payable commencing at normal retirement age (which is age 65) equal to 1 percent of the participant's highest 3 consecutive years' compensation times years of service and provides for suspension of benefits as permitted under section 411(a)(3)(B). In the case of a participant whose service continues after normal retirement age, the amount payable is the greater of (i) the benefit payable at normal retirement age, and for each year thereafter, actuarially increased to account for delayed commencement, and (ii) the retirement benefit determined under the formula at the date the employee's service ceases (calculated by including years of service and increases in compensation after normal retirement age).

(ii)Conclusion. Under these facts, the plan formula is a formula described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section. The formula is not a statutory hybrid benefit formula merely because the plan formula includes a benefit that is based on the participant's benefit at normal retirement age (and each year thereafter) that is actuarially increased for commencement after attainment of normal retirement age. In addition, the plan formula would satisfy the comparison under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section for each individual who is or could be a participant because, as of any date (including any date after normal retirement age), the accumulated benefit of the individual would not be less than the accumulated benefit of any similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant.

Example 2.
(i)Facts relating to formulas described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section. Employer Y maintains a defined benefit plan that expresses each participant's accumulated benefit as the balance of a hypothetical account. Under the formula, the hypothetical account balance of each participant is credited monthly with interest at a specified rate and the hypothetical account balance of each employee who is a participant is also credited with a pay credit under the plan equal to 7 percent of the participant's compensation for the month.

(ii)Conclusion. The plan formula is a lump sum-based benefit formula described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section and the formula would satisfy the comparison under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section for each individual who is or could be a participant because, as of any date, the hypothetical account balance of the individual would not be less than the hypothetical account balance of any similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant.

Example 3.
(i)Facts where plan suspends interest credits after normal retirement age. The facts are the same as in Example 2 except that the plan provides for suspension of benefits as permitted under section 411(a)(3)(B). Pursuant to the plan's suspension of benefits provision, the plan provides for interest credits to cease during service after normal retirement age or for the amount of the interest credits during this service to be reduced to reflect principal credits credited.

(ii)Conclusion. The plan does not satisfy the safe harbor in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section. Applying the rule of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, the plan formula would fail to satisfy the safe harbor comparison under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to an individual whose benefits have been suspended because, as of any date after attainment of normal retirement age, the hypothetical account balance of this individual would be less than the hypothetical account balance of one or more similarly situated individuals who have not attained normal retirement age.

Example 4.
(i)Facts providing greater-of benefits as described in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(C) of this section. Employer Z sponsors a defined benefit plan that provides an accumulated benefit expressed as a straight life annuity commencing at the plan's normal retirement age (age 65), based on a percentage of average annual compensation times the participant's years of service. On November 2, 2011, the plan is amended effective as of January 1, 2012, to provide participants who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, with a benefit that is the greater of the benefit under the average annual compensation formula and a benefit that is based on the balance of a hypothetical account, which provides for annual pay credits of a specified percentage of the participant's compensation and annual interest credits based on the third segment rate.

(ii)Conclusion where plan provides greater-of benefits to older participants. The plan satisfies the safe harbor of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to all individuals who are or could be participants. Pursuant to the rules of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(C) of this section, the plan satisfies the safe harbor with respect to individuals who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, because (A) with respect to the benefit described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section (the benefit based on average annual compensation, disregarding the benefit based on the balance of a hypothetical account), the accumulated benefit for any individual who is or could be a participant and who is at least age 55 on January 1, 2012, would in no event be less than the accumulated benefit for a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be participant and who has not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, (B) with respect to the benefit described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section (the benefit based on the balance of a hypothetical account, disregarding the benefit based on average annual compensation), the accumulated benefit for any individual who is or could be a participant and who is at least age 55 on January 1, 2012, would in no event be less than the accumulated benefit for a similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant and who has not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, and (C) the benefit of any individual who is or could be a participant who has not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, is only expressed as an annuity payable at normal retirement age as described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section, and this safe-harbor formula measure applies also to participants who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012. Furthermore, the plan satisfies the safe harbor with respect to individuals who have not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, because the benefit of these individuals satisfies the general rule of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) of this section.

(iii)Conclusion where plan provides greater-of benefits only to younger participants. If, instead of the facts in paragraph (i) of this Example 4, the plan had been amended to provide only participants who have not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, with a benefit that is the greater of the benefit under the average annual compensation formula and a benefit that is based on the balance of a hypothetical account, then the safe harbor would not be satisfied with respect to individuals who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012. Under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, except as provided in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B), (C), and (D) of this section, the safe harbor of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section is available only with respect to individuals over age 55, whose benefit is expressed in terms of only one safe-harbor formula measure, if no similarly situated, younger individual has an accumulated benefit that is expressed in terms of any measure other than that same safe-harbor formula measure. This is not the case under these facts. The greater-of rule of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(C) of this section would not apply to individuals who have attained age 55 because the accumulated benefits of these individuals is not equal to the greater of benefits under two or more benefit formulas.

Example 5.
(i)Facts where plan provides choice-of benefits to older participants. The facts are the same as in paragraph (i) of Example 4, except that for service after December 31, 2011, the amendment permits participants who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, to choose between benefits under the average annual compensation benefit formula or benefits under the hypothetical account balance formula (but, if a participant chooses the hypothetical account balance formula, his or her benefit under the plan is in no event to be less than the benefit determined under the average annual compensation benefit formula for service before January 1, 2012), while other participants receive benefits solely under the hypothetical account balance formula (but individuals who are participants on December 31, 2011, are in no event to receive less than the benefit determined under the average annual compensation benefit formula for service before January 1, 2012).

(ii)Conclusion where plan provides choice to older participants. The plan satisfies the safe harbor with respect to all individuals who are or could be participants. Pursuant to the rule of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(D) of this section, the plan satisfies the safe harbor of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section with respect to individuals who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, and, pursuant to the rule of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A), the plan satisfies the safe harbor with respect to individuals who have not yet attained 55 by January 1, 2012.

(iii)Conclusion where plan provides choice-of benefits to older workers and greater-of benefits to younger participants. If, in addition to the facts in paragraph (i) of this Example 5, the plan were also to provide participants who had not yet attained age 55 by January 1, 2012, the greater of the benefits under the average annual compensation benefit formula or the benefits under the hypothetical account balance formula, then pursuant to the rules of paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) and (D) of this section, the safe harbor would not be satisfied with respect to participants who have attained age 55 by January 1, 2012.

(2)Indexed benefits -

(i)In general. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, pursuant to section 411(b)(5)(E) and this paragraph (b)(2)(i), a defined benefit plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) with respect to a participant solely because a benefit formula (other than a lump sum-based benefit formula) under the plan provides for the periodic adjustment of the participant's accrued benefit under the plan by means of the application of a recognized index or methodology. An indexing rate that does not exceed a market rate of return, as defined in paragraph (d) of this section, is deemed to be a recognized index or methodology for purposes of the preceding sentence. In addition, for plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section, as applicable (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer), any subsidized portion of any early retirement benefit under such a plan that meets the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(iii) is disregarded in determining whether the plan meets the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H). However, such a plan must satisfy the qualification requirements otherwise applicable to statutory hybrid plans, including the requirements of § 1.411(a)(13)-1(c) (relating to minimum vesting standards) and paragraph (c) of this section (relating to plan conversion amendments) if the plan has an effect similar to a lump sum-based benefit formula, pursuant to the rules of § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(4)(ii).

(ii)Similarly situated participant test. Paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section does not apply unless the aggregate adjustments made to a participant's accrued benefit under the plan (determined as a percentage of the unadjusted accrued benefit) in a period would not be less than the aggregate adjustments for any similarly situated, younger participant. This test requires a comparison, for each period, of the aggregate adjustments for each individual who is or could be a participant in the plan for the period with the aggregate adjustments of each other similarly situated, younger individual who is or could be a participant in the plan for that period. See paragraph (b)(5) of this section for rules regarding whether each younger individual who is or could be a participant is similarly situated to a participant.

(iii)Protection against loss -

(A)In general. Paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section does not apply unless the plan satisfies section 411(b)(5)(E)(ii) and paragraph (d)(2) of this section (relating to preservation of capital).

(B)Exception for variable annuity benefit formulas. The requirement to satisfy section 411(b)(5)(B)(i)(II), as set forth in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, as well as section 411(b)(5)(E)(ii), as set forth in this paragraph (b)(2)(iii), does not apply in the case of a benefit provided under a variable annuity benefit formula as defined in § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(6).

(3)Certain offsets permitted. A plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) solely because the plan provides offsets against benefits under the plan to the extent the offsets are allowable in applying the requirements of section 401(a) and the applicable requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, Public Law 93-406 ( 88 Stat. 829 (1974)), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Public Law 90-202 ( 81 Stat. 602 (1967)).

(4)Permitted disparities in plan contributions or benefits. A plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) solely because the plan provides a disparity in contributions or benefits with respect to which the requirements of section 401(l) are met.

(5)Definition of similarly situated. For purposes of paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, an individual is similarly situated to another individual if the individual is identical to that other individual in every respect that is relevant in determining a participant's benefit under the plan (including period of service, compensation, position, date of hire, work history, and any other respect) except for age. In determining whether an individual is similarly situated to another individual, any characteristic that is relevant for determining benefits under the plan and that is based directly or indirectly on age is disregarded. For example, if a particular benefit formula applies to a participant on account of the participant's age, an individual to whom the benefit formula does not apply and who is identical to the participant in all other respects is similarly situated to the participant. By contrast, an individual is not similarly situated to a participant if a different benefit formula applies to the individual and the application of the different formula is not based directly or indirectly on age.

(c)Special rules for plan conversion amendments -

(1)In general. Pursuant to section 411(b)(5)(B)(ii), (iii), and (iv), if there is a conversion amendment within the meaning of paragraph (c)(4) of this section with respect to a defined benefit plan, then the plan is treated as failing to meet the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) unless the plan, after the amendment, satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(2)Separate calculation of post-conversion benefit -

(i)In general. A statutory hybrid plan satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (c)(2) if the plan provides that, in the case of an individual who was a participant in the plan immediately before the date of adoption of the conversion amendment, the participant's benefit at any subsequent annuity starting date is not less than the sum of -

(A) The participant's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit (as defined in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(14)) with respect to service before the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the conversion amendment; and

(B) The participant's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit with respect to service on and after the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the conversion amendment.

(ii)Rules of application. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(2), except as provided in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the benefits under paragraphs (c)(2)(i)(A) and (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section must each be determined in the same manner as if they were provided under separate plans that are independent of each other (for example, without any benefit offsets), and, except to the extent permitted under § 1.411(d)-3 or § 1.411(d)-4 (or other applicable law), each optional form of payment provided under the terms of the plan with respect to a participant's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit as in effect before the conversion amendment must be available thereafter to the extent of the plan's benefits for service prior to the effective date of the conversion amendment.

(3)Establishment of opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage - (i) Provided that the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section are satisfied, a statutory hybrid plan under which an opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation is established as of the effective date of the conversion amendment does not fail to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section merely because benefits attributable to that opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage (that is, benefits that are not described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section) are substituted for benefits described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section.

(ii)Comparison of benefits at annuity starting date -

(A)Testing requirement. The requirements of this paragraph (c)(3)(ii) are satisfied with respect to an optional form of benefit payable at an annuity starting date only if the plan provides that the amount of the benefit payable in that optional form under the lump sum-based benefit formula that is attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage as described in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section is not less than the benefit under the comparable optional form of benefit under paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section. To satisfy this requirement, if the benefit under the optional form attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage is less than the benefit under the comparable optional form of benefit described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section, then the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage must be increased to the extent necessary to provide the minimum benefit described in this paragraph (c)(3)(ii). Thus, if a plan is using the option under this paragraph (c)(3)(ii) to satisfy paragraph (c)(2) of this section with respect to a participant, the participant must receive a benefit equal to not less than the sum of -

(1) The benefit described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section; and

(2) The greater of -

(i) The benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or attributable to the opening accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation as described in this paragraph (c)(3)(ii); or

(ii) The benefit described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section.

(B)Comparable optional form of benefit. If there was an optional form of benefit within the same generalized optional form of benefit (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(8)) that would have been available to the participant at that annuity starting date under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the conversion amendment, then that optional form of benefit is the comparable optional form of benefit.

(C)Special rule for new post-conversion optional forms of benefit. If an optional form of benefit is available on the annuity starting date with respect to the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage, but no optional form within the same generalized optional form of benefit (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(8)) was available at that annuity starting date under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the conversion amendment, then, for purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(ii), the plan is treated as if such an optional form of benefit were available immediately prior to the effective date of the conversion amendment for purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(ii). Thus, for example, if a single-sum optional form of payment is not available under the plan terms applicable to the accrued benefit described in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section, but a single-sum optional form of payment is available with respect to the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage as of the annuity starting date, then, for purposes of this paragraph (c)(3)(ii), the plan is treated as if a single sum (which satisfies the requirements of section 417(e)(3)) were available under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the conversion amendment.

(4)Conversion amendment -

(i)In general. An amendment is a conversion amendment that is subject to the requirements of this paragraph (c) with respect to a participant if -

(A) The amendment reduces or eliminates the benefits that, but for the amendment, the participant would have accrued after the effective date of the amendment under a benefit formula that is not a statutory hybrid benefit formula (and under which the participant was accruing benefits prior to the amendment); and

(B) After the effective date of the amendment, all or a portion of the participant's benefit accruals under the plan are determined under a statutory hybrid benefit formula.

(ii)Rules of application -

(A)In general. Paragraphs (c)(4)(iii), (iv), and (v) of this section describe special rules that treat certain arrangements as conversion amendments. The rules described in those paragraphs apply both separately and in combination. Thus, for example, in an acquisition described in § 1.410(b)-2(f), if the buyer adopts an amendment under which a participant's benefits under the seller's plan that is not a statutory hybrid plan are coordinated with a separate plan of the buyer that is a statutory hybrid plan, such as through an offset of the participant's benefit under the buyer's plan by the participant's benefit under the seller's plan, the seller and buyer are treated as a single employer under paragraph (c)(4)(iv) of this section and they are treated as having adopted a conversion amendment under paragraph (c)(4)(iii) of this section. However, pursuant to paragraph (c)(4)(iii) of this section, if there is no coordination between the two plans, there is no conversion amendment.

(B)Covered amendments. Only amendments that eliminate or reduce accrued benefits described in section 411(a)(7), or a retirement-type subsidy described in section 411(d)(6)(B)(i), that would otherwise accrue as a result of future service are treated as amendments described in paragraph (c)(4)(i)(A) of this section.

(C)Operation of plan terms treated as covered amendment. If, under the terms of a plan, a change in the conditions of a participant's employment results in a reduction of the participant's benefits that would have accrued in the future under a benefit formula that is not a statutory hybrid benefit formula, the plan is treated for purposes of this paragraph (c)(4) as if such plan terms constitute an amendment that reduces the participant's benefits that would have accrued after the effective date of the change under a benefit formula that is not a statutory hybrid benefit formula. Thus, for example, if a participant transfers from an operating division that is covered by a non-statutory hybrid benefit formula to an operating division that is covered by a statutory hybrid benefit formula, there has been a conversion amendment and the effective date of the conversion amendment is the date of the transfer. For purposes of applying the effective date rule of paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section, the date that the relevant plan terms were adopted is treated as the adoption date of the amendment.

(iii)Multiple plans. An employer is treated as having adopted a conversion amendment if the employer adopts an amendment under which a participant's benefits under a plan that is not a statutory hybrid plan are coordinated with a separate plan that is a statutory hybrid plan, such as through a reduction (offset) of the benefit under the plan that is not a statutory hybrid plan.

(iv)Multiple employers. If the employer of an employee changes as a result of a transaction described in § 1.410(b)-2(f), then the two employers are treated as a single employer for purposes of this paragraph (c)(4).

(v)Multiple amendments -

(A)In general -

(1)General rule. For purposes of this paragraph (c)(4), a conversion amendment includes multiple amendments that result in a conversion amendment even if the amendments are not conversion amendments individually. For example, an employer is treated as having adopted a conversion amendment if the employer first adopts an amendment described in paragraph (c)(4)(i)(A) of this section and, at a later date, adopts an amendment that adds a benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula as described in paragraph (c)(4)(i)(B) of this section, if they are consolidated under paragraph (c)(4)(v)(A)(2) of this section.

(2)Delay between plan amendments. In determining whether a conversion amendment has been adopted, an amendment to provide a benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula is consolidated with a prior amendment to reduce non-statutory hybrid benefit formula benefits if the amendment providing benefits under a statutory hybrid benefit formula is adopted within three years after adoption of the amendment reducing non-statutory hybrid benefit formula benefits. Thus, the later adoption of the statutory hybrid benefit formula will cause the earlier amendment to be treated as part of a conversion amendment. In the case of an amendment to provide a benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula that is adopted more than three years after adoption of an amendment to reduce benefits under a non-statutory hybrid benefit formula, there is a presumption that the amendments are not consolidated unless the facts and circumstances indicate that adoption of the amendment to provide a benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula was intended at the time of reduction in the non-statutory hybrid benefit formula.

(B)Multiple conversion amendments. If an employer adopts multiple amendments reducing benefits described in paragraph (c)(4)(i)(A) of this section, each amendment is treated as a separate conversion amendment, provided that paragraph (c)(4)(i)(B) of this section is applicable at the time of the amendment (taking into account the rules of this paragraph (c)(4)).

(vi)Effective date of a conversion amendment. The effective date of a conversion amendment is, with respect to a participant, the date as of which the reduction of the participant's benefits described in paragraph (c)(4)(i)(A) of this section occurs. In accordance with section 411(d)(6), the date of a reduction of those benefits cannot be earlier than the date of adoption of the conversion amendment.

(5)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this paragraph (c):

Example 1.
(i)Facts where plan does not establish opening hypothetical account balance for participants and participant elects life annuity at normal retirement age. Employer N sponsors Plan E, a defined benefit plan that provides an accumulated benefit, payable as a straight life annuity commencing at age 65 (which is Plan E's normal retirement age), based on a percentage of highest average compensation times the participant's years of service. Plan E permits any participant who has had a severance from employment to elect payment in the following optional forms of benefit (with spousal consent if applicable), with any payment not made in a straight life annuity converted to an equivalent form based on reasonable actuarial assumptions: A straight life annuity; and a 50 percent, 75 percent, or 100 percent joint and survivor annuity. The payment of benefits may commence at any time after attainment of age 55, with an actuarial reduction if the commencement is before normal retirement age. In addition, the plan offers a single-sum payment after attainment of age 55 equal to the present value of the normal retirement benefit using the applicable interest rate and mortality table under section 417(e)(3) in effect under the terms of the plan on the annuity starting date.

(ii)Facts relating to the conversion amendment. On January 1, 2012, Plan E is amended to eliminate future accruals under the highest average compensation benefit formula and to base future benefit accruals under a hypothetical account balance formula. For service on or after January 1, 2012, each participant's hypothetical account balance is credited monthly with a pay credit equal to a specified percentage of the participant's compensation during the month and also with interest based on the third segment rate described in section 430(h)(2)(C)(iii). With respect to benefits under the hypothetical account balance attributable to service on and after January 1, 2012, a participant is permitted to elect (with spousal consent if applicable) payment in the same generalized optional forms of benefit (even though different actuarial factors apply) as under the terms of the plan in effect before January 1, 2012, and also as a single-sum distribution. The plan provides for the benefit attributable to service before January 1, 2012, to be determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment, and the benefit attributable to service on and after January 1, 2012, to be determined separately, under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the amendment, with neither benefit offsetting the other in any manner. Thus, each participant's benefit is equal to the sum of the benefit attributable to service before January 1, 2012 (to be determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment), plus the benefit attributable to the participant's hypothetical account balance.

(iii)Facts relating to an affected participant. Participant A is age 62 on January 1, 2012. On December 31, 2011, A's benefit for years of service before January 1, 2012, payable as a straight life annuity commencing at A's normal retirement age (age 65), which is January 1, 2015, is $1,000 per month. On January 1, 2015, when Participant A has a severance from employment, the then-current hypothetical account balance, with pay credits and interest from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2015, is $11,000. Using the conversion factors applicable under the plan on January 1, 2015, that balance is equivalent to a straight life annuity of $100 per month commencing on January 1, 2015. This benefit is in addition to the benefit attributable to service before January 1, 2012. Participant A elects (with spousal consent) a straight life annuity of $1,100 per month commencing January 1, 2015.

(iv)Conclusion. Participant A's benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section because Participant A's benefit is not less than the sum of Participant A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit (as defined in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(14)) with respect to service before the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment, and Participant A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit with respect to service on and after the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the amendment.

Example 2.
(i)Facts involving plan's establishment of opening hypothetical account balance and payment of pre-conversion accumulated benefit in life annuity at normal retirement age. Except as indicated in this Example 2, the facts are the same as the facts under paragraph (i) of Example 1.

(ii)Facts relating to the conversion amendment. On January 1, 2012, Plan E is amended to eliminate future accruals under the highest average compensation benefit formula and to provide future benefit accruals under a hypothetical account balance formula. An opening hypothetical account balance is established for each participant, and, under the plan's terms, that balance is equal to the present value of the participant's accumulated benefit on December 31, 2011 (payable as a straight life annuity at normal retirement age or immediately, if later), using the applicable interest rate and applicable mortality table under section 417(e)(3) on January 1, 2012. Under Plan E, the account based on this opening hypothetical account balance is maintained as a separate account from the account for accruals on or after January 1, 2012. The hypothetical account balance maintained for each participant for accruals on or after January 1, 2012, is credited monthly with a pay credit equal to a specified percentage of the participant's compensation during the month. A participant's hypothetical account balance (including both of the separate accounts) is credited monthly with interest based on the third segment rate described in section 430(h)(2)(C)(iii).

(iii)Facts relating to optional forms of benefit. Following severance from employment and attainment of age 55, a participant is permitted to elect (with spousal consent, if applicable) payment in the same generalized optional forms of benefit as under the plan in effect prior to January 1, 2012, with the amount payable calculated based on the hypothetical account balance on the annuity starting date and the applicable interest rate and applicable mortality table on the annuity starting date. The single-sum distribution is equal to the hypothetical account balance.

(iv)Facts relating to conversion protection. The plan provides that, as of a participant's annuity starting date, the plan will determine whether the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance payable in the particular optional form of benefit selected is equal to or greater than the benefit accrued under the plan through the date of conversion and payable in the same generalized optional form of benefit with the same annuity starting date. If the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance is equal to or greater than the pre-conversion benefit, the plan provides that such benefit is paid in lieu of the pre-conversion benefit, together with the benefit attributable to post-conversion pay-based principal credits. If the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance is less than the pre-conversion benefit, the plan provides that such benefit is increased sufficiently to provide the pre-conversion benefit, together with the benefit attributable to post-conversion pay-based principal credits.

(v)Facts relating to an affected participant. On January 1, 2012, the opening hypothetical account balance established for Participant A is $80,000, which is the present value of Participant A's straight life annuity of $1,000 per month commencing at January 1, 2015, using the applicable interest rate and applicable mortality table under section 417(e)(3) in effect on January 1, 2012. On January 1, 2012, the applicable interest rate for Participant A is equivalent to a level rate of 5.5 percent. Thereafter, Participant A's hypothetical account balance for subsequent accruals is credited monthly with a pay credit equal to a specified percentage of the participant's compensation during the month. In addition, Participant A's hypothetical account balance (including both of the separate accounts) is credited monthly with interest based on the third segment rate described in section 430(h)(2)(C)(iii).

(vi)Facts relating to calculation of the participant's benefit. Participant A has a severance from employment on January 1, 2015 at age 65, and elects (with spousal consent) a straight life annuity commencing January 1, 2015. On January 1, 2015, the opening hypothetical account balance, with interest credits from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2015, has become $95,000, which, using the conversion factors under the plan on January 1, 2015, is equivalent to a straight life annuity of $1,005 per month commencing on January 1, 2015 (which is greater than the $1,000 a month payable at age 65 under the terms of the plan in effect before January 1, 2012). This benefit is in addition to the benefit determined using the hypothetical account balance for service after January 1, 2012.

(vii)Conclusion. The benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant A because A's benefit is not less than the sum of (A) the greater of Participant A's benefits attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance and A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit (as defined in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(14)) with respect to service before the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment, and (B) Participant A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit with respect to service on and after the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the amendment.

Example 3.
(i)Facts involving a subsequent decrease in interest rates. The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that, because of a decrease in bond rates after January 1, 2012, and before January 1, 2015, the rate of interest credited in that period averages less than 5.5 percent, and, on January 1, 2015, the effective applicable interest rate under section 417(e)(3) under the plan's terms is 4.7 percent. As a result, Participant A's opening hypothetical account balance plus attributable interest credits has increased to only $87,000 on January 1, 2015, and, using the conversion factors under the plan on January 1, 2015, is equivalent to a straight life annuity commencing on January 1, 2015, of $775 per month. Under the terms of Plan E, the benefit attributable to A's opening hypothetical account balance is increased so that A's straight life annuity commencing on January 1, 2015, is $1,000 per month. This benefit is in addition to the benefit attributable to the hypothetical account balance for service after January 1, 2012.

(ii)Conclusion. The benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant A because A's benefit is not less than the sum of -

(A) The greater of A's benefits attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance and A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit (as defined in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(14)) with respect to service before the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment; and

(B) A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit with respect to service on and after the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the amendment.

Example 4.
(i)Facts involving payment of a subsidized early retirement benefit. The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that under the terms of Plan E on December 31, 2011, a participant who retires before age 65 and after age 55 with 30 years of service has only a 3 percent per year actuarial reduction. Participant A has a severance from employment on January 1, 2013, when A is age 63 and has 30 years of service. On January 1, 2013, A's opening hypothetical account balance, with interest from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2013, has become $86,000, which, using the conversion factors under the plan (as amended) on January 1, 2013, is equivalent to a straight life annuity commencing on January 1, 2013, of $850 per month.

(ii)Facts relating to calculation of the participant's benefit. Under the terms of Plan E on December 31, 2011, Participant A is entitled to a straight life annuity commencing on January 1, 2013, equal to at least $940 per month ($1,000 reduced by 3 percent for each of the 2 years that A's benefits commence before normal retirement age). Under the terms of Plan E, the benefit attributable to A's opening account balance is increased so that A is entitled to a straight life annuity of $940 per month commencing on January 1, 2015. This benefit is in addition to the benefit determined using the hypothetical account balance for service after January 1, 2012.

(iii)Conclusion. The benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant A because A's benefit is not less than the sum of -

(A) The greater of Participant A's benefits attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest credits) and A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit (as defined in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(14)) with respect to service before the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect immediately before the effective date of the amendment; and

(B) Participant A's section 411(d)(6) protected benefit with respect to service on and after the effective date of the conversion amendment, determined under the terms of the plan as in effect after the effective date of the amendment.

Example 5.
(i)Facts involving addition of a single-sum payment option. The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that, before January 1, 2012, Plan E did not offer payment in a single-sum distribution for amounts in excess of $5,000. Plan E, as amended on January 1, 2012, offers payment in any of the available annuity distribution forms commencing at any time following severance from employment as were provided under Plan E before January 1, 2012. In addition, Plan E, as amended on January 1, 2012, offers payment in the form of a single sum attributable to service before January 1, 2012, which is the greater of the opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest credits) or a single-sum distribution of the straight life annuity payable at age 65 using the same actuarial factors as are used for mandatory cashouts for amounts equal to $5,000 or less under the terms of the plan on December 31, 2011. Participant B is age 40 on January 1, 2012, and B's opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest credits) is $33,000 (which is the present value, using the conversion factors under the plan (as amended) on January 1, 2012, of Participant B's straight life annuity of $1,000 per month commencing at January 1, 2037, which is when B will be age 65). Participant B has a severance from employment on January 1, 2015, and elects (with spousal consent) an immediate single-sum distribution. Participant B's opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest) on January 1, 2015, is $45,000. The present value, on January 1, 2015, of Participant B's benefit of $1,000 per month, commencing immediately using the actuarial factors for mandatory cashouts under the terms of the plan on December 31, 2011, would result in a single-sum payment of $44,750. Participant B is paid a single-sum distribution equal to the sum of $45,000 plus an amount equal to B's January 1, 2015, hypothetical account balance for benefit accruals for service after January 1, 2012.

(ii)Conclusion. Because, under Plan E, Participant B is entitled to the sum of -

(A) The greater of the $45,000 opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest credits) and $44,750 (present value of the benefit with respect to service prior to January 1, 2012, using the actuarial factors for mandatory cashout distributions under the terms of the plan on December 31, 2011); and

(B) An amount equal to B's hypothetical account balance for benefit accruals for service after January 1, 2012, the benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant B. If Participant B's hypothetical account balance under Plan E was instead less than $44,750 on January 1, 2015, Participant B would be entitled to a single-sum payment equal to the sum of $44,750 and an amount equal to B's hypothetical account balance for benefit accruals for service after January 1, 2012.

Example 6.
(i)Facts involving addition of new annuity optional form of benefit. The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that, after December 31, 2011, and before January 1, 2015, Plan E is amended to offer payment in a 5-, 10-, or 15-year term certain and life annuity, using the same actuarial assumptions that apply for other optional forms of distribution. When Participant A has a severance from employment on January 1, 2015, A elects (with spousal consent) a 5-year term certain and life annuity commencing immediately equal to $935 per month. Application of the same actuarial assumptions to Participant A's benefit of $1,000 per month (under Plan E as in effect on December 31, 2011), commencing immediately on January 1, 2015, would result in a 5-year term certain and life annuity commencing immediately equal to $955 per month. Under the terms of Plan E, the benefit attributable to A's opening account balance is increased so that, using the conversion factors under the plan (as amended) on January 1, 2015, A's opening hypothetical account balance (increased by attributable interest credits) produces a 5-year term certain and life annuity commencing immediately equal to $955 per month commencing on January 1, 2015. This benefit is in addition to the benefit determined using the January 1, 2015, hypothetical account balance for service after January 1, 2012.

(ii)Conclusion. This benefit satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant A.

Example 7.
(i)Facts involving addition of distribution option before age 55. The facts are the same as in Example 5, except that Participant B (age 43) elects (with spousal consent) a straight life annuity commencing immediately on January 1, 2015. Under Plan E, the straight life annuity attributable to Participant B's opening hypothetical account balance at age 43 is $221 per month. Application of the same actuarial assumptions to Participant B's benefit of $1,000 per month commencing at age 65 (under Plan E as in effect on December 31, 2011) would result in a straight life annuity commencing immediately on January 1, 2015, equal to $219 per month.

(ii)Conclusion. Because, under its terms, Plan E provides that Participant B is entitled to an amount not less than the present value (using the same actuarial assumptions as apply on January 1, 2015, in converting the $45,000 hypothetical account balance attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance to the $221 straight life annuity) of Participant B's straight life annuity of $1,000 per month commencing at age 65, and the $221 straight life annuity is in addition to the benefit accruals for service after January 1, 2012, payment of the $221 monthly annuity would satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section with respect to Participant B.

Example 8.
(i)Facts involving establishment of opening hypothetical account balance. A defined benefit plan provides an accrued benefit expressed as a straight life annuity commencing at the plan's normal retirement age (age 65), based on a percentage of average annual compensation multiplied by the participant's years of service. On January 1, 2009, a conversion amendment is adopted that converts the plan to a statutory hybrid plan. Participant A, age 55, had an accrued benefit under the pre-conversion formula of $1,500 per month payable at normal retirement age. In conjunction with this conversion, the plan provides each participant with an opening hypothetical account balance equal to the present value, determined in accordance with section 417(e)(3) of the participant's pre-conversion benefit. Participant A's opening hypothetical account balance was calculated as $121,146. The opening account balance (along with any subsequent amounts credited to the hypothetical account) is credited annually with interest credits at the rate of 5.0 percent up to the annuity starting date of each participant.

(ii)Facts relating to changes between establishment of opening hypothetical account balance and age 65. Upon attainment of age 65, Participant A elects to receive Participant A's entire benefit under the plan as a single sum distribution. At the annuity starting date, Participant A's hypothetical account balance attributable to Participant A's opening account balance has increased to $197,334. However, under the terms of the plan and in accordance with section 417(e)(3), the present value at the annuity starting date of Participant A's pre-conversion benefit of $1,500 per month is $221,383.

(iii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(A) of this section, Participant A must receive the benefit attributable to post-conversion service, plus the greater of the benefit attributable to the opening hypothetical account balance and the pre-conversion benefit (with the determination as to which is greater made at the annuity starting date). Accordingly the single-sum distribution must equal the benefit attributable to post-conversion service plus $221,383.

(d)Market rate of return -

(1)In general -

(i)Basic test. Subject to the rules of paragraph (e) of this section, a statutory hybrid plan satisfies the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) and this paragraph (d) only if, for any plan year, the interest crediting rate with respect to benefits determined under a statutory hybrid benefit formula is not greater than a market rate of return.

(ii)Definitions relating to market rate of return -

(A)Interest credit. Subject to other rules in this paragraph (d), an interest credit for purposes of this paragraph (d) and section 411(b)(5)(B) means the following adjustments to a participant's accumulated benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula, to the extent not conditioned on current service and not made on account of imputed service (as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-11(d)(3)(ii)(B)) -

(1) Any increase or decrease for a period, under the terms of the plan at the beginning of the period, that is calculated by applying a rate of interest or rate of return (including a rate of increase or decrease under an index) to the participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) as of the beginning of the period; and

(2) Any other increase for a period, under the terms of the plan at the beginning of the period.

(B)Treatment of plan amendments. An increase to a participant's accumulated benefit is not treated as an interest credit to the extent the increase is made as a result of a plan amendment providing for a one-time adjustment to the participant's accumulated benefit. However, a pattern of repeated plan amendments each of which provides for a one-time adjustment to a participant's accumulated benefit will cause such adjustments to be treated as provided on a permanent basis under the terms of the plan. See § 1.411(d)-4, A-1(c)(1).

(C)Interest crediting rate. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (d), the interest crediting rate, or effective rate of return, for a period with respect to a participant equals the total amount of interest credits for the period divided by the participant's accumulated benefit at the beginning of the period.

(D)Principal credit. For purposes of this paragraph (d), a principal credit means any increase to a participant's accumulated benefit under a statutory hybrid benefit formula that is not an interest credit. Thus, for example, a principal credit includes an increase to a participant's accumulated benefit to the extent the increase is conditioned on current service or made on account of imputed service. As a result, a principal credit includes an increase to the value of an accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation. For indexed benefits described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, a principal credit includes an increase to the participant's accrued benefit other than an increase provided by indexing. In addition, pursuant to the rule in paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(B) of this section, a principal credit generally includes an increase to a participant's accumulated benefit to the extent the increase is made as a result of a plan amendment providing for a one-time adjustment to the participant's accumulated benefit. As a result, a principal credit includes an opening hypothetical account balance or opening accumulated percentage of the participant's final average compensation, as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(iii)Market rate of return for single rates. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (d)(1), an interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return only if the plan terms provide that the interest credit for each plan year is determined using one of the following specified interest crediting rates:

(A) The interest rate on long-term investment grade corporate bonds (as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section).

(B) An interest rate that, under paragraph (d)(4) of this section, is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(C) A rate of return that, under paragraph (d)(5) of this section, is not in excess of a market rate of return.

(iv)Timing and other rules related to interest crediting rate -

(A)In general. A plan that provides interest credits must specify how the plan determines interest credits and must specify how and when interest credits are credited. The plan must specify the method for determining interest credits in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section, the frequency of interest crediting in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(C) of this section, and the treatment of interest credits on distributed amounts, as well as other debits and credits during the period, in accordance with the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(D) of this section. In addition, a plan is permitted to round the calculated interest rate or rate of return in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(E) of this section. See paragraph (e) of this section for additional rules that apply to changes in the interest crediting rate.

(B)Methods to determine interest credits. A plan that is using any specified interest crediting rate can determine interest credits for each current interest crediting period based on the effective periodic interest crediting rate that applies over the period. Alternatively, a plan that is using one of the interest crediting rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section can determine interest credits for a stability period based on the interest crediting rate for a specified lookback month with respect to that stability period. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the stability period and lookback month must satisfy the rules for selecting the stability period and lookback month under § 1.417(e)-1(d)(4), although the interest crediting rate can be any one of the rates in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section and the stability period and lookback month need not be the same as those used under the plan for purposes of section 417(e)(3).

(C)Frequency of interest crediting. Interest credits under a plan must be provided on an annual or more frequent periodic basis and interest credits for each interest crediting period must be credited as of the end of the period. If a plan provides for the crediting of interest more frequently than annually (for example, daily, monthly or quarterly) based on one of the annual interest rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, then the plan generally provides an above market rate of return unless each periodic interest credit is determined using an interest crediting rate that is no greater than a pro rata portion of the applicable annual interest crediting rate. However, a plan that credits interest daily based on one of the annual interest rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section is not treated as providing an above market rate of return merely because the plan determines each daily interest credit using a daily interest crediting rate that is 1/360 of the applicable annual interest crediting rate. In addition, interest credits determined, under the terms of a plan, based on one of the annual interest rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section are not treated as creating an effective rate of return that is in excess of a market rate of return merely because an otherwise permissible interest crediting rate for a plan year is compounded more frequently than annually. Thus, for example, if a plan's terms provide for interest to be credited monthly and for the interest crediting rate to be equal to the interest rate on long-term investment grade corporate bonds (as described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section) and the applicable annual rate on these bonds for the plan year is 6 percent, then the accumulated benefit at the beginning of each month could be increased as a result of interest credits by as much as 0.5 percent per month during the plan year without resulting in an interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return.

(D)Debits and credits during the interest crediting period. A plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of this paragraph (d) merely because the plan does not provide for interest credits on amounts distributed prior to the end of the interest crediting period. Furthermore, a plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of this paragraph (d) merely because the plan calculates increases or decreases to the participant's accumulated benefit by applying a rate of interest or rate of return (including a rate of increase or decrease under an index) to the participant's adjusted accumulated benefit (or portion thereof) for the period. For this purpose, the participant's adjusted accumulated benefit equals the participant's accumulated benefit as of the beginning of the period, adjusted for debits and credits (other than interest credits) made to the accumulated benefit prior to the end of the interest crediting period, with appropriate weighting for those debits and credits based on their timing within the period. For plans that calculate increases or decreases to the participant's accumulated benefit by applying a rate of interest or rate of return to the participant's adjusted accumulated benefit (or portion thereof) for the period, interest credits include these increases and decreases, to the extent provided under the terms of the plan at the beginning of the period and to the extent not conditioned on current service and not made on account of imputed service (as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-11(d)(3)(ii)(B)), and the interest crediting rate with respect to a participant equals the total amount of interest credits for the period divided by the participant's adjusted accumulated benefit for the period.

(E)Rounding of interest crediting rate. A plan is not treated as failing to meet the requirements of this paragraph (d) merely because the plan determines interest credits for an interest crediting period by rounding the calculated interest rate or rate of return in accordance with this paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(E). An annual rate may be rounded to the nearest multiple of 25 basis points (or a smaller rounding interval). If a plan provides for the crediting of interest more frequently than annually, then the rounding interval must not exceed a pro-rata portion of 25 basis points. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, a plan is permitted to round to the nearest basis point regardless of the length of the interest crediting period.

(v)Lesser rates. An interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return if the rate can never be in excess of a particular rate that is described in paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of this section. Thus, for example, an interest crediting rate that always equals the rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section minus 200 basis points is not in excess of a market rate of return because it can never be in excess of the rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. Similarly, an interest crediting rate that always equals the lesser of the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities and a fixed 7 percent interest rate is not in excess of a market rate of return because it can never be in excess of the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities.

(vi)Greater-of rates. If a statutory hybrid plan determines an interest credit by applying the greater of 2 or more different rates to the accumulated benefit, the effective interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return only if each of the different rates would separately satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (d) and the requirements of paragraph (d)(6) of this section are also satisfied.

(vii)Blended rates. A statutory hybrid plan does not provide an effective interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return merely because the plan determines an interest credit by applying different rates to different predetermined portions of the accumulated benefit, provided each rate would separately satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (d) if the rate applied to the entire accumulated benefit.

(viii)Increases to existing rates and addition of other rates -

(A)Increases to existing rates. The Commissioner may, in guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter, increase an interest crediting rate set forth in this paragraph (d), so that the increased rate is treated as satisfying the requirement that the rate not exceed a market rate of return for purposes of this paragraph (d) and section 411(b)(5)(B). For this purpose, these increases can include increases to the maximum permitted margin that can be added to one or more of the safe harbor rates set forth in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, increases to the maximum permitted fixed rate set forth in paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section, or increases to a maximum permitted annual floor set forth in paragraph (d)(6) of this section.

(B)Additional rates. The Commissioner may, in guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter, provide for additional interest crediting rates that satisfy the requirement that they not exceed a market rate of return for purposes of this paragraph (d) and section 411(b)(5)(B) (including providing for additional combinations of rates, such as annual minimums in conjunction with rates that are based on rates described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section but that are reduced in order to ensure that the effective rate of return does not exceed a market rate of return).

(2)Preservation of capital requirement -

(i)General rule. A statutory hybrid plan satisfies the requirements of section 411(b)(1)(H) only if the plan provides that the participant's benefit under the statutory hybrid benefit formula determined as of the participant's annuity starting date is no less than the benefit determined as if the accumulated benefit were equal to the sum of all principal credits (as described in paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D) of this section) credited under the plan to the participant as of that date (including principal credits that were credited before the applicable statutory effective date of paragraph (f)(1) of this section). This paragraph (d)(2) applies only as of an annuity starting date, within the meaning of § 1.401(a)-20, A-10(b), with respect to which a distribution of the participant's entire vested benefit under the plan's statutory hybrid benefit formula as of that date commences. For a participant who has more than one annuity starting date, paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section provides rules to account for prior annuity starting dates when applying this paragraph (d)(2)(i).

(ii)Application to multiple annuity starting dates -

(A)In general. If the comparison under paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(B) of this section results in the sum of all principal credits credited to the participant (as of the current annuity starting date) exceeding the sum of the amounts described in paragraphs (d)(2)(ii)(B)(1) through (d)(2)(ii)(B)(3) of this section, then the participant's benefit to be distributed at the current annuity starting date must be no less than would be provided if that excess were included in the current accumulated benefit.

(B)Comparison to reflect prior distributions. For a participant who has more than one annuity starting date, the sum of all principal credits credited to the participant under the plan, as of the current annuity starting date, is compared to the sum of -

(1) The remaining balance of the participant's accumulated benefit as of the current annuity starting date;

(2) The amount of the reduction to the participant's accumulated benefit under the statutory hybrid benefit formula that is attributable to any prior distribution of the participant's benefit under that formula; and

(3) Any amount that was treated as included in the accumulated benefit under the rules of this paragraph (d)(2) as of any prior annuity starting date.

(C)Special rule for participants with 5 or more breaks in service. A plan is permitted to provide that, in the case of a participant who receives a distribution of the entire vested benefit under the plan and thereafter completes 5 consecutive 1-year breaks in service, as defined in section 411(a)(6)(A), the rules of this paragraph (d)(2) are applied without regard to the prior period of service. Thus, in the case of such a participant, the plan is permitted to provide that the rules of this paragraph (d)(2) are applied disregarding the principal credits and distributions that occurred before the breaks in service.

(iii)Exception for variable annuity benefit formulas. See paragraph (b)(2)(iii)(B) of this section for an exception to this paragraph (d)(2).

(3)Long-term investment grade corporate bonds. For purposes of this paragraph (d), the rate of interest on long-term investment grade corporate bonds means the third segment rate described in section 417(e)(3)(D) or 430(h)(2)(C)(iii) (determined with or without regard to section 430(h)(2)(C)(iv) and with or without regard to the transition rules of section 417(e)(3)(D)(ii) or 430(h)(2)(G)). However, for plan years beginning prior to January 1, 2008, the rate of interest on long-term investment grade corporate bonds means the rate described in section 412(b)(5)(B)(ii)(II) prior to amendment by the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Public Law 109-280 ( 120 Stat. 780 (2006)) (PPA '06).

(4)Safe harbor rates of interest -

(i)In general. This paragraph (d)(4) identifies interest rates that are deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. The Commissioner may, in guidance of general applicability, specify additional interest crediting rates that are deemed to be not in excess of the rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. See § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b).

(ii)Rates based on government bonds with margins. An interest crediting rate is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section if the rate is equal to the sum of any of the following rates of interest for bonds and the associated margin for that interest rate:

Interest rate bond index Associated margin
The discount rate on 3-month Treasury Bills 175 basis points.
The discount rate on 12-month or shorter Treasury Bills 150 basis points.
The yield on 1-year Treasury Constant Maturities 100 basis points.
The yield on 3-year or shorter Treasury Constant Maturities 50 basis points.
The yield on 7-year or shorter Treasury Constant Maturities 25 basis points.
The yield on 30-year or shorter Treasury Constant Maturities 0 basis points.

(iii)Eligible cost-of-living indices. An interest crediting rate is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section if the rate is adjusted no less frequently than annually and is equal to the rate of increase with respect to an eligible cost-of-living index described in § 1.401(a)(9)-6, A-14(b), except that, for purposes of this paragraph (d)(4)(iii), the eligible cost-of-living index described in § 1.401(a)(9)-6, A-14(b)(2) is increased by 300 basis points.

(iv)Short and mid-term investment grade corporate bonds. An interest crediting rate equal to the first segment rate is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. Similarly, an interest crediting rate equal to the second segment rate is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. For this purpose, the first and second segment rates mean the first and second segment rates described in section 417(e)(3)(D) or 430(h)(2)(C), determined with or without regard to section 430(h)(2)(C)(iv) and with or without regard to the transition rules of section 417(e)(3)(D)(ii) or 430(h)(2)(G).

(v)Fixed rate of interest. An annual interest crediting rate equal to a fixed 6 percent is deemed to be not in excess of the interest rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(5)Other rates of return -

(i)General rule. This paragraph (d)(5) sets forth additional methods for determining an interest crediting rate that is not in excess of a market rate of return.

(ii)Actual rate of return on plan assets -

(A)In general. An interest crediting rate equal to the actual rate of return on the aggregate assets of the plan, including both positive returns and negative returns, is not in excess of a market rate of return if the plan's assets are diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns. This requirement that plan assets be diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns does not require greater diversification than is required under section 404(a)(1)(C) of Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, Public Law 93-406 ( 88 Stat. 829 (1974)), as amended (ERISA), with respect to defined benefit pension plans.

(B)Subset of plan assets. An interest crediting rate equal to the actual rate of return on the assets within a specified subset of plan assets, including both positive and negative returns, is not in excess of a market rate of return if -

(1) The subset of plan assets is diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns, within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section (thus, this requirement is satisfied if the subset of plan assets is diversified such that it would meet the requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section if the subset were aggregate plan assets);

(2) The aggregate fair market value of qualifying employer securities and qualifying employer real property (within the meaning of section 407 of ERISA) held in the subset of plan assets does not exceed 10 percent of the fair market value of the aggregate assets in the subset; and

(3) The fair market value of the assets within the subset of plan assets approximates the liabilities for benefits that are adjusted by reference to the rate of return on the assets within the subset, determined using reasonable actuarial assumptions.

(C)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B) of this section:

Example 1.
(i)Facts.
(a) Employer A sponsors a defined benefit plan under which benefit accruals are determined under a formula that is not a statutory hybrid benefit formula. Effective January 1, 2015, the plan is amended to cease future accruals under the existing formula and to provide future benefit accruals under a statutory hybrid benefit formula that uses hypothetical accounts. For service on or after January 1, 2015, the terms of the plan provide that each participant's hypothetical account balance is credited monthly with a pay credit equal to a specified percentage of the participant's compensation during the month. The plan also provides that hypothetical account balance is increased or decreased by an interest credit, which is calculated as the product of the account balance at the beginning of the period and the net rate of return on the assets within a specified subset of plan assets during that period. Under the terms of the plan, the net rate of return is equal to the actual rate of return adjusted to reflect a reduction for specified plan expenses. The plan does not provide for interest credits on amounts that are distributed prior to the end of an interest crediting period.

(b) As of the effective date of the amendment, there are no assets in the specified subset of plan assets. Under the terms of the plan, an amount is added to the specified subset at the time each subsequent contribution for any plan year starting on or after the effective date of the amendment is made to the plan. The amount added (the formula contribution) is the amount deemed necessary to fund benefit accruals under the statutory hybrid benefit formula. Investment of the specified subset is diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns, within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section, and no qualifying employer securities or qualifying employer real property (within the meaning of section 407 of ERISA) are held in the subset. Benefits accrued under the statutory hybrid benefit formula are paid from the specified subset. However, if assets of the specified subset are insufficient to pay benefits accrued under the statutory hybrid benefit formula, the plan provides that assets of the residual legacy subset of plan assets (from which benefits accrued before January 1, 2015 are paid) are available to pay those benefits in accordance with the requirement that all assets of the plan be available to pay all plan benefits. Except as described in this paragraph, no other amounts are added to or subtracted from the specified subset of plan assets.

(c) The formula contribution for each plan year that is added to the specified subset of plan assets is an amount equal to the sum of the target normal cost of the statutory hybrid benefit formula for the plan year plus an additional amount intended to reflect gains or losses. This additional amount is equal to the annual amount necessary to amortize the difference between the funding target attributable to the statutory hybrid benefit formula portion of the plan for the plan year over the value of plan assets included in the specified subset of plan assets for the plan year in level annual installments over a 7-year period. For this purpose, target normal cost and funding target are determined under the rules of § 1.430(d)-1 as if the statutory hybrid benefit formula portion of the plan were the entire plan and without regard to special rules that are applicable to a plan in at-risk status, even if the plan is in at-risk status for a plan year. If the formula contribution for a plan year exceeds the amount of the actual contribution to the plan for a year (such as could be the case if all or a portion of the contribution is offset by all or a portion of the plan's prefunding balance), then an amount equal to the excess of the formula contribution over the actual contribution is transferred from the residual legacy subset of plan assets to the specified subset of plan assets on the plan's due date for the minimum required contribution for the year.

(ii)Conclusion. The specified subset is diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns (within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section). The aggregate fair market value of qualifying employer securities and qualifying employer real property (within the meaning of section 407 of ERISA) held in the specified subset do not exceed 10 percent of the fair market value of the aggregate assets in the subset. The fair market value of the assets within the specified subset of plan assets approximates the liabilities for benefits that are adjusted by reference to the rate of return on the assets within the subset, determined using reasonable actuarial assumptions, within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B)(3) of this section. Therefore, the interest crediting rate under the statutory hybrid benefit formula portion of Employer A's defined benefit plan is not in excess of a market rate of return.

Example 2.
(i)Facts.
(a) Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, Employer X, Employer Y and Employer Z maintain and contribute to a multiemployer plan (as defined in section 414(f)) that is established as of January 1, 2015 under which benefit accruals are determined under a variable annuity benefit formula. The plan provides that, on an annual basis, the benefit of each participant who has not yet retired is adjusted by reference to the difference between the actual return on the assets within a specified subset of plan assets and 4 percent. A participant's benefits are fixed at retirement and thereafter are not adjusted.

(b) As of the effective date of the plan, there are no assets in the specified subset. Under the terms of the plan, any amount contributed to the plan by a contributing employer is added to the specified subset at the time of the contribution. Investment of the specified subset is diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns, within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section, and no qualifying employer securities or qualifying employer real property (within the meaning of section 407 of ERISA) are held in the subset. The plan provides that, at the time of a participant's retirement, an amount equal to the present value of the liability for benefits payable to that participant is transferred to a separate subset of plan assets (the retiree pool). The retiree pool is invested in high-quality bonds in an attempt to achieve cash-flow matching of the retiree liabilities. Benefits are paid from the retiree pool. However, if assets of the retiree pool are insufficient to pay benefits, the plan provides that assets of the specified subset are available to pay benefits in accordance with the requirement that all assets of the plan be available to pay all plan benefits. Except as described in this paragraph, no other amounts are added to or subtracted from the specified subset of plan assets.

(ii)Conclusion. The specified subset is diversified so as to minimize the volatility of returns (within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section). The aggregate fair market value of qualifying employer securities and qualifying employer real property (within the meaning of section 407 of ERISA) held in the specified subset do not exceed 10 percent of the fair market value of the aggregate assets in the subset. The fair market value of the assets within the specified subset of plan assets approximates the liabilities for benefits that are adjusted by reference to the rate of return on the assets within the subset, determined using reasonable actuarial assumptions, within the meaning of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B)(3) of this section. Therefore, the methodology used to adjust participant benefits under the plan's variable annuity benefit formula, which is a statutory hybrid benefit formula under § 1.411(a)(13)-1(d)(4), is not in excess of a market rate of return.

(iii)Annuity contract rates. The rate of return on the annuity contract for the employee issued by an insurance company licensed under the laws of a State is not in excess of a market rate of return. However, this paragraph (d)(5)(iii) does not apply if the Commissioner determines that the annuity contract has been structured to provide an interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return.

(iv)Rate of return on certain RICs. An interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return if it is equal to the rate of return on a regulated investment company (RIC), as defined in section 851, that is reasonably expected to be not significantly more volatile than the broad United States equities market or a similarly broad international equities market. For example, a RIC that has most of its assets invested in securities of issuers (including other RICs) concentrated in an industry sector or a country other than the United States generally would not meet this requirement. Likewise a RIC that uses leverage, or that has significant investment in derivative financial products, for the purpose of achieving returns that amplify the returns of an unleveraged investment, generally would not meet this requirement. Thus, a RIC that has most of its investments concentrated in the semiconductor industry or that uses leverage in order to provide a rate of return that is twice the rate of return on the Standard & Poor's 500 index (S&P 500) would not meet this requirement. On the other hand, a RIC with investments that track the rate of return on the S&P 500, a broad-based “small-cap” index (such as the Russell 2000 index), or a broad-based international equities index would meet this requirement.

(6)Combinations of rates of return -

(i)In general. A plan that determines interest credits based, in whole or in part, on the greater of two or more different interest crediting rates provides an effective interest crediting rate in excess of a market rate of return unless the combination of rates is described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii), (d)(6)(iii), (e)(3)(iii), or (e)(4) of this section. However, a plan is not treated as providing the greater of two or more interest crediting rates merely because the plan satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d)(2) of this section. In addition, a plan is not treated as providing the greater of two or more interest crediting rates merely because a rate of return described in paragraph (d)(5)(iii) of this section is itself based on the greater of two or more rates.

(ii)Annual or more frequent floor -

(A)Application to segment rates. An interest crediting rate under a plan does not fail to be described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4)(iv) of this section for an interest crediting period merely because the plan provides that the interest crediting rate for that interest crediting period equals the greater of -

(1) An interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4)(iv) of this section; and

(2) An annual interest rate of 4 percent or less (or a pro rata portion of an annual interest rate of 4 percent or less for plans that provide interest credits more frequently than annually).

(B)Application to other bond-based rates. An interest crediting rate under a plan does not fail to be described in paragraph (d)(4) of this section for an interest crediting period merely because the plan provides that the interest crediting rate for that interest crediting period equals the greater of -

(1) An interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(ii) or (d)(4)(iii) of this section; and

(2) An annual interest rate of 5 percent or less (or a pro rata portion of an annual interest rate of 5 percent or less for plans that provide interest credits more frequently than annually).

(iii)Cumulative floor applied to investment-based or bond-based rates -

(A)In general. A plan that determines interest credits under a statutory hybrid benefit formula using a particular interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3), (d)(4), or (d)(5) of this section (or an interest crediting rate that can never be in excess of a particular interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3), (d)(4) or (d)(5) of this section) does not provide an effective interest crediting rate in excess of a market rate of return merely because the plan provides that the participant's benefit under the statutory hybrid benefit formula determined as of the participant's annuity starting date is equal to the benefit determined as if the accumulated benefit were equal to the greater of -

(1) The accumulated benefit determined using the interest crediting rate; and

(2) The accumulated benefit determined as if the plan had used a fixed annual interest crediting rate equal to 3 percent (or a lower rate) for all principal credits that are credited under the plan to the participant during the guarantee period (minimum guarantee amount).

(B)Guarantee period defined. The guarantee period is the prospective period that begins on the date the cumulative floor described in this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) begins to apply to the participant's benefit and that ends on the date on which that cumulative floor ceases to apply to the participant's benefit.

(C)Application to multiple annuity starting dates. The determination under this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) is made only as of an annuity starting date, within the meaning of § 1.401(a)-20, A-10(b), with respect to which a distribution of the participant's entire vested benefit under the plan's statutory hybrid benefit formula as of that date commences. For a participant who has more than one annuity starting date, paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(D) of this section provides rules to account for prior annuity starting dates when applying paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A) of this section. If the comparison under paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(D) of this section results in the minimum guarantee amount exceeding the sum of the amounts described in paragraphs (d)(6)(iii)(D)(1) through (d)(6)(iii)(D)(3) of this section, then the participant's benefit to be distributed at the current annuity starting date must be no less than would be provided if that excess were included in the current accumulated benefit.

(D)Comparison to reflect prior distributions. For a participant who has more than one annuity starting date, the minimum guarantee amount (described in paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A)(2) of this section), as of the current annuity starting date, is compared to the sum of -

(1) The remaining balance of the participant's accumulated benefit, as of the current annuity starting date, to which a minimum guaranteed rate described in paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A)(2) of this section applies;

(2) The amount of the reduction to the participant's accumulated benefit under the statutory hybrid benefit formula that is attributable to any prior distribution of the participant's benefit under that formula and to which a minimum guaranteed rate described in paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A)(2) of this section applied, together with interest at that minimum guaranteed rate annually from the prior annuity starting date to the current annuity starting date; and

(3) Any amount that was treated as included in the accumulated benefit under the rules of this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) as of any prior annuity starting date, together with interest annually at the minimum guaranteed rate that applied to the prior distribution from the prior annuity starting date to the current annuity starting date.

(E)Application to portion of participant's benefit. A cumulative floor described in this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) may be applied to a portion of a participant's benefit, provided the requirements of this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) are satisfied with respect to that portion of the benefit. If a cumulative floor described in this paragraph (d)(6)(iii) applies to a portion of a participant's benefit, only the principal credits that are attributable to that portion of the participant's benefit are taken into account in determining the amount of the guarantee described in paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A)(2) of this section.

(e)Other rules regarding market rates of return -

(1)In general. This paragraph (e) sets forth additional rules regarding the application of the market rate of return requirement with respect to benefits determined under a statutory hybrid benefit formula.

(2)Plan termination -

(i)In general. This paragraph (e)(2) provides special rules that apply for purposes of determining certain plan factors under a statutory hybrid benefit formula after the plan termination date of a statutory hybrid plan. The terms of a statutory hybrid plan must reflect the requirements of this paragraph (e)(2). Paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section sets forth rules relating to the interest crediting rate for interest crediting periods that end after the plan termination date. Paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section sets forth rules for converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity after the plan termination date. Paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section sets forth rules of application. Paragraph (e)(2)(v) of this section contains examples. The Commissioner may, in revenue rulings, notices, or other guidance published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, provide for additional rules that apply for purposes of this paragraph (e)(2) and the plan termination provisions of section 411(b)(5)(B)(vi). See § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter. See also regulations of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for additional rules that apply when a pension plan subject to Title IV of ERISA is terminated.

(ii)Interest crediting rates used to determine accumulated benefits -

(A)General rule. The interest crediting rate used under the plan to determine a participant's accumulated benefit for interest crediting periods that end after the plan termination date must be equal to the average of the interest rates used under the plan during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (e)(2)(ii), the actual annual interest rate (taking into account minimums, maximums, and other adjustments) used to determine interest credits under the plan for each of the interest crediting periods is used for purposes of determining the average of the interest rates.

(B)Special rule for variable interest crediting rates that are other rates of return -

(1)Application to interest crediting periods. This paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(B) applies for an interest crediting period if the interest crediting rate that was used for that interest crediting period was a rate of return described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section. This paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(B) also applies for an interest crediting period that begins before the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable), if the interest crediting rate that was used for that interest crediting period had the potential to be negative. For this purpose, a rate is not treated as having the potential to be negative if it is a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section or is any other rate that is based solely on current bond yields.

(2)Use of substitution rate. For any interest crediting period to which this paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(B) applies, for purposes of determining the average of the interest rates under this paragraph (e)(2)(ii), the interest rate used under the plan for the interest crediting period is deemed to be equal to the substitution rate (as described in paragraph (e)(2)(ii)(C) of this section) for the period.

(C)Definition of substitution rate. The substitution rate for any interest crediting period equals the second segment rate under section 430(h)(2)(C)(ii) (determined without regard to section 430(h)(2)(C)(iv)) for the last calendar month ending before the beginning of the interest crediting period, as adjusted to account for any minimums or maximums that applied in the period (other than cumulative floors under paragraph (d)(6)(iii) of this section), but without regard to other reductions that applied in the period. Thus, for example, if the actual interest crediting rate in an interest crediting period is equal to the rate of return on plan assets, but not greater than 5 percent, then the substitution rate for that interest crediting period is equal to the lesser of the applicable second segment rate for the period and 5 percent. However, if the actual interest crediting rate for an interest crediting period is equal to the rate of return on plan assets minus 200 basis points, then the substitution rate for that interest crediting period is equal to the applicable second segment rate for the period.

(D)Cumulative floors. Cumulative floors under paragraph (d)(6)(iii) of this section that applied during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date are not taken into account for purposes of determining the average of the interest rates under this paragraph (e)(2)(ii). However, the rules of paragraph (d)(6)(iii) of this section continue to apply to determine benefits as of annuity starting dates on or after the plan termination date. Thus, if, as of an annuity starting date on or after the plan termination date, the benefit provided by applying an applicable cumulative minimum rate under paragraph (d)(6)(iii)(A)(2) of this section exceeds the benefit determined by applying interest credits to the participant's accumulated benefit (with interest credits for interest crediting periods that end after the plan termination date determined under this paragraph (e)(2)), then that cumulative minimum rate is used to determine benefits as of that annuity starting date.

(iii)Annuity conversion rates and factors -

(A)Conversion factors where a separate mortality table was used prior to plan termination -

(1)Use of a separate mortality table. This paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A) applies for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity after the plan termination date if, for the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, the plan provides for a mortality table in conjunction with an interest rate to be used to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity. If this paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A) applies, then the plan is treated as meeting the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and paragraph (d)(1) of this section only if, for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit (or portion thereof) to an annuity for annuity starting dates after the plan termination date, the mortality table used is the table described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A)(2) of this section and the interest rate is the rate described in paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A)(3) of this section.

(2)Specific mortality table. The mortality table used is the mortality table specified under the plan for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity as of the termination date. This mortality table is used regardless of whether it was used during the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date. For purposes of applying this paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A)(2), if the mortality table specified in the plan, as of the plan termination date, is a mortality table that is updated to reflect expected improvements in mortality experience (such as occurs with the applicable mortality table under section 417(e)(3)), then the table used for an annuity starting date after the plan termination date takes into account updates through the annuity starting date.

(3)Specific interest rate. The interest rate used is the interest rate specified under the plan for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity for annuity starting dates after the plan termination date. However, if the interest rate used under the plan for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity has not been the same fixed rate during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, then the interest rate used for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit to an annuity for annuity starting dates after the plan termination date is the average interest rate that applied for this purpose during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date.

(B)Tabular factors. If, as of the plan termination date, a tabular annuity conversion factor (i.e., a single conversion factor that combines the effect of interest and mortality) is used to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity and that same fixed tabular annuity conversion factor has been used during the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, then the plan satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (e)(2)(iii) only if that same tabular annuity conversion factor continues to apply after the plan termination date. However, if the tabular annuity conversion factor used to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity is not described in the preceding sentence (including any case in which the tabular annuity conversion factor was a fixed conversion factor that changed during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date), then the plan satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (e)(2)(iii) only if the tabular annuity conversion factor used to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity for annuity starting dates after the plan termination date is equal to the average of the tabular annuity conversion factors used under the plan for that purpose during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date.

(C)Factor applicable where a separate mortality table was not used for entire 5-year period prior to plan termination. If paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A) of this section does not apply (including any case in which a separate mortality table was used in conjunction with a separate interest rate to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity for only a portion of the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date), then the plan is treated as having used a tabular annuity conversion factor to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to an annuity for the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date. As a result, the rules of paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(B) of this section apply to determine the annuity conversion factor used for purposes of converting a participant's accumulated benefit (or portion thereof) to an annuity for annuity starting dates after the plan termination date. For this purpose, if a separate mortality table and separate interest rate applied for a portion of the 5-year period, that mortality table and interest rate are used to calculate an annuity conversion factor and that factor is treated as having been the tabular annuity conversion factor that applied for that portion of the 5-year period for purposes of this paragraph (e)(2)(iii).

(D)Separate application with respect to optional forms. This paragraph (e)(2)(iii) applies separately with respect to each optional form of benefit on the date of plan termination. For this purpose, the term optional form of benefit has the meaning given that term in § 1.411(d)-3(g)(6)(ii), except that a change in the annuity conversion factor used to determine a particular benefit is disregarded in determining whether different optional forms exist. Thus, for example, if, for the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, the plan provides for a mortality table in conjunction with an interest rate to be used to determine annuities other than qualified joint and survivor annuities, but for specified tabular factors to apply to determine annuities that are qualified joint and survivor annuities, then paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(A) of this section applies for purposes of annuities other than qualified joint and survivor annuities and paragraph (e)(2)(iii)(B) of this section applies for purposes of annuities that are qualified joint and survivor annuities. In addition, if the annuity conversion factor used to determine a particular qualified joint and survivor annuity has changed in the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, the different factors are averaged for purposes of determining the annuity conversion factor that applies after plan termination for that particular qualified joint and survivor annuity.

(iv)Rules of application -

(A)Average of interest rates for crediting interest -

(1)In general. For purposes of determining the average of the interest rates under paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, an interest crediting period is taken into account if the interest crediting date for the interest crediting period is within the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date. The average of the interest rates is determined as the arithmetic average of the annual interest rates used for those interest crediting periods. If the interest crediting periods taken into account are not all the same length, then each rate is weighted to reflect the length of the interest crediting period in which it applied. If the plan provides for the crediting of interest more frequently than annually, then interest credits after the plan termination date must be prorated in accordance with the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(C) of this section.

(2)Section 411(d)(6) protected accumulated benefit. In general, the interest rate that was used for each interest crediting period is the ongoing interest crediting rate that was specified under the plan for that period, without regard to any interest rate that was used prior to an amendment changing the interest crediting rate with respect to a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit. However, if, as of the end of the last interest crediting period that ends on or before the plan termination date, the participant's accumulated benefit is based on a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit that results from a prior amendment to change the rate of interest crediting applicable under the plan, then the pre-amendment interest rate is treated as having been used for each interest crediting period after the date of the interest crediting rate change (so that the amendment is disregarded).

(B)Average annuity conversion rates and factors -

(1)In general. For purposes of determining average annuity conversion interest rates and average tabular annuity conversion factors under paragraph (e)(2)(iii) of this section, an interest rate or tabular annuity conversion factor is taken into account if the rate or conversion factor applied under the terms of the plan to convert a participant's accumulated benefit (or a portion thereof) to a benefit payable in the form of an annuity during the 5-year period ending on the plan termination date. The average is determined as the arithmetic average of the interest rates or tabular factors used during that period. If the periods in which the rates or factors that are averaged are not all the same length, then each rate or factor is weighted to reflect the length of the period in which it applied.

(2)Section 411(d)(6) protected annuity conversion factors. In general, the annuity conversion interest rate or tabular annuity conversion factor that was used for each period is the ongoing interest rate or tabular factor that was specified under the plan for that period, without regard to any rate or factor that was used under the plan prior to an amendment changing the rate or factor with respect to a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit. However, if, as of the plan termination date, the participant's annuity benefit for an annuity commencing at that date would be based on a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit that results from a prior amendment to change the rate or factor under the plan, then the pre-amendment rate or factor is treated as having been used after the date of the amendment (so that the amendment is disregarded).

(C)Blended rates. If, as of the plan termination date, the plan determines interest credits by applying different rates to two or more different predetermined portions of the accumulated benefit, then the interest crediting rate that applies after the plan termination date is determined separately with respect to each portion under the rules of paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section.

(D)Participants with less than 5 years of interest credits upon plan termination. If the plan provided for interest credits for any interest crediting period in which, pursuant to the terms of the plan, an individual was not eligible to receive interest credits (including because the individual was not a participant or beneficiary in the relevant interest crediting period), then, for purposes of determining the individual's average interest crediting rate under paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, the individual is treated as though the individual received interest credits in that period using the interest crediting rate that applied in that period under the terms of the plan to a similarly situated participant or beneficiary who was eligible to receive interest credits.

(E)Plan termination date -

(1)Plans subject to Title IV of ERISA. In the case of a plan that is subject to Title IV of ERISA, the plan termination date for purposes of this paragraph (e)(2) means the plan's termination date established under section 4048(a) of ERISA.

(2)Other plans. In the case of a plan that is not subject to Title IV of ERISA, the plan termination date for purposes of this paragraph (e)(2) means the plan's termination date established by the plan administrator, provided that the plan termination date may be no earlier than the date on which the actions necessary to effect the plan termination - other than the distribution of plan benefits - are taken. However, a plan is not treated as terminated on the plan's termination date if the assets are not distributed as soon as administratively feasible after that date. See Rev. Rul. 89-87 (1989-2 CB 2), (see § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter).

(v)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules of this paragraph (e)(2). In each case, it is assumed that the plan is terminated in a standard termination.

Example 1.
(i)Facts.
(A) Plan A is a defined benefit plan with a calendar plan year that expresses each participant's accumulated benefit in the form of a hypothetical account balance to which principal credits are made at the end of each calendar quarter and to which interest is credited at the end of each calendar quarter based on the balance at the beginning of the quarter. Interest credits under Plan A are based on a rate of interest fixed at the beginning of each plan year equal to the third segment rate for the preceding December, except that the plan used the rate of interest on 30-year Treasury bonds (instead of the third segment rate) for plan years before 2013. The plan is terminated on March 3, 2017.

(B) The third segment rate credited under Plan A from January 1, 2013, through December 31, 2016, is assumed to be: 6 percent annually for each of the four quarters in 2016; 6.5 percent annually for each of the four quarters in 2015; 6 percent annually for each of the four quarters in 2014; and 5.5 percent annually for each of the four quarters in 2013. The rate of interest on 30-year Treasury bonds credited under Plan A for each of the four quarters in 2012 is assumed to be 4.4 percent annually.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, the interest crediting rate used to determine accrued benefits under the plan on and after the date of plan termination is an annual rate of 5.68 percent (which is the arithmetic average of 6 percent, 6.5 percent, 6 percent, 5.5 percent, and 4.4 percent). In accordance with the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(C) of this section, the quarterly interest crediting rate after the plan termination date is 1.42 percent (5.68 divided by 4).

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1. Participant S, who terminated employment before January 1, 2017, has a hypothetical account balance of $100,000 when the plan is terminated on March 3, 2017. Participant S commences distribution in the form of a straight life annuity commencing on January 1, 2020. For the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date, the plan has provided that the applicable section 417(e) rates for the preceding August are applied on the annuity starting date in order to convert the hypothetical account balance to an annuity. Based on the 5-year averages of the first segment rates, the second segment rates, and the third segment rates as of the plan termination date, and the applicable mortality table for the year 2020, the resulting conversion rate at the January 1, 2020 annuity starting date is 166.67 for a monthly straight life annuity payable to a participant whose age is the age of Participant S on January 1, 2020.

(ii)Conclusion. In accordance with the conclusion in Example 1, the interest crediting rate after the plan termination date is 1.42 percent for each of the 12 quarterly interest crediting dates in the period from March 3, 2017, through December 31, 2019, so that Participant S's account balance is $118,436 on December 31, 2019. As a result, using the annuity conversion rate of 166.67, the amount payable to Participant S commencing on January 1, 2020 is $711 per month.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1. In addition, Participant T commenced participation in Plan A on April 17, 2014.

(ii)Conclusion. In accordance with the conclusion in Example 1 and the rule of paragraph (e)(2)(iv)(D) of this section, the quarterly interest crediting rate used to determine Participant T's accrued benefits under Plan A on and after the date of plan termination is 1.42 percent, which is the same rate that applies to all participants and beneficiaries in Plan A after the termination date (and that would have applied to Participant T if Participant T had participated in the plan during the 5-year period preceding the date of plan termination).

Example 4.
(i)Facts.
(A) Plan B is a defined benefit plan with a calendar plan year that expresses each participant's accumulated benefit in the form of a hypothetical account balance to which principal credits are made at the end of each calendar year and to which interest is credited at the end of each calendar year based on the balance at the end of the preceding year. The plan is terminated on January 27, 2018.

(B) The plan's interest crediting rate for each calendar year during the entire 5-year period ending on the plan termination date is equal to (A) 50 percent of the greater of the rate of interest on 3-month Treasury Bills for the preceding December and an annual rate of 4 percent, plus (B) 50 percent of the rate of return on plan assets. The rate of interest on 3-month Treasury Bills credited under Plan B is assumed to be: 3.4 Percent for 2017; 4 percent for 2016; 4.5 percent for 2015; 3.5 percent for 2014; and 4.2 percent for 2013. Each of these rates applied under Plan B for purposes of determining the interest credits described in clause (A) of this paragraph (i), except that the 4 percent minimum rate applied for 2017 and 2014. The second segment rate is assumed to be: 6 percent for December 2016; 6 percent for December 2015; 6.5 percent for December 2014; 6 percent for December 2013; and 5.5 percent for December 2012.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, the interest crediting rate used to determine accrued benefits under the plan on and after the date of plan termination is 5.07 percent. This number is equal to the sum of 50 percent of 4.14 percent (which is the sum of 4 percent, 4 percent, 4.5 percent, 4 percent, and 4.2 percent, divided by 5), and 50 percent of 6 percent (which is the average second segment rate applicable for the 5 interest crediting periods ending within the 5-year period, as applied pursuant to the substitution rule described in paragraphs (e)(2)(ii)(B) and (C) of this section).

Example 5.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 4, except that the plan had credited interest before January 1, 2016, using the rate of return on a specified RIC and had been amended effective January 1, 2016, to base interest credits for all plan years after 2015 on the interest rate formula described in paragraph (i) of Example 4. In order to comply with section 411(d)(6), the plan provides that, for each participant or beneficiary who was a participant on December 31, 2015, benefits at any date are based on either the ongoing hypothetical account balance on that date (which is based on the December 31, 2015 balance, with interest credited thereafter at the rate described in the first sentence of paragraph (i) of Example 4 and taking principal credits after 2015 into account) or a special hypothetical account balance (the pre-2016 balance) on that date, whichever balance is greater. For each participant, the pre-2016 balance is a hypothetical account balance equal to the participant's December 31, 2015 balance, with interest credited thereafter at the RIC rate of return, but with no principal credits after 2015. There are 10 participants for whom the pre-2016 balance exceeds the ongoing hypothetical account balance at the end of 2017 (which is the end of the last interest crediting period that ends on or before the January 27, 2018, plan termination date).

(ii)Conclusion. Because Plan B credited interest prior to 2016 using the rate of return on a RIC (a rate described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section), for purposes of determining the average interest crediting rate upon plan termination, the interest crediting rate used to determine accrued benefits under Plan B for all participants during those periods (for the calendar years 2013, 2014, and 2015) is equal to the second segment rate for December of the calendar year preceding each interest crediting period. In addition, because the pre-2016 balances exceeded the ongoing hypothetical account balance for 10 participants in the last interest crediting period prior to plan termination, for purposes of determining the average interest crediting rate upon plan termination, the interest crediting rate used to determine accrued benefits under Plan B for 2016 and 2017 for those participants is equal to the second segment rate for December 2015 and December 2016, respectively. For all other participants, for purposes of determining the average interest crediting rate upon plan termination, the interest crediting rate used to determine accrued benefits under Plan B for 2016 and 2017 is based on the ongoing interest crediting rate (as described in Example 4).

(3)Rules relating to section 411(d)(6) -

(i)General rule. The right to future interest credits determined in the manner specified under the plan and not conditioned on future service is a factor that is used to determine the participant's accrued benefit, for purposes of section 411(d)(6). Thus, to the extent that benefits have accrued under the terms of a statutory hybrid plan that entitle the participant to future interest credits, an amendment to the plan to change the interest crediting rate must satisfy section 411(d)(6) if the revised rate under any circumstances could result in interest credits that are smaller as of any date after the applicable amendment date (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(4)) than the interest credits that would be provided without regard to the amendment. For additional rules, see § 1.411(d)-3(b). Paragraphs (e)(3)(ii) through (e)(3)(vi) of this section set forth special rules that apply regarding the interaction of section 411(d)(6) and changes to a plan's interest crediting rate. The Commissioner may, in guidance of general applicability, prescribe additional rules regarding the interaction of section 411(d)(6) and section 411(b)(5), including changes to a plan's interest crediting rate. See § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b).

(ii)Adoption of long-term investment grade corporate bond rate. For purposes of applying section 411(d)(6) and this paragraph (e) to an amendment to change to the interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, a plan is not treated as providing interest credits that are smaller as of any date after the applicable amendment date than the interest credits that would be provided using an interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(4) of this section merely because the plan credits interest after the applicable amendment date using the interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, provided -

(A) The amendment only applies to interest credits to be credited after the effective date of the amendment;

(B) The effective date of the amendment is at least 30 days after adoption of the amendment;

(C) On the effective date of the amendment, the new interest crediting rate is not lower than the interest crediting rate that would have applied in the absence of the amendment; and

(D) For plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section (as applicable), if prior to the amendment the plan used a fixed annual floor in connection with a rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(ii), (iii) or (iv) of this section (as permitted under paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section), the floor is retained after the amendment to the maximum extent permissible under paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(A) of this section.

(iii)Coordination of section 411(d)(6) and market rate of return limitation -

(A)In general. An amendment to a statutory hybrid plan that preserves a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit is subject to the rules under paragraph (d) of this section relating to market rate of return. However, in the case of an amendment to change a plan's interest crediting rate for periods after the applicable amendment date from one interest crediting rate (the old rate) that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section to another interest crediting rate (the new rate) that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section, the plan's effective interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return for purposes of paragraph (d) of this section merely because the plan provides for the benefit of any participant who is benefiting under the plan (within the meaning of § 1.410(b)-3(a)) on the applicable amendment date to never be less than what it would be if the old rate had continued but without taking into account any principal credits (as defined in paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D) of this section) after the applicable amendment date.

(B)Multiple amendments. A pattern of repeated plan amendments each of which provides for a prospective change in the plan's interest crediting rate with respect to the benefit as of the applicable amendment date will be treated as resulting in the ongoing plan terms providing for an effective interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return. See § 1.411(d)-4, A-1(c)(1).

(iv)Change in lookback month or stability period used to determine interest credits -

(A)Section 411(d)(6) anti-cutback relief. With respect to a plan using an interest crediting rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, notwithstanding the general rule of paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, if a plan amendment changes the lookback month or stability period used to determine interest credits, the amendment is not treated as reducing accrued benefits in violation of section 411(d)(6) merely on account of this change if the conditions of this paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) are satisfied. If the plan amendment is effective on or after the adoption date, any interest credits credited for the one-year period commencing on the date the amendment is effective must be determined using the lookback month and stability period provided under the plan before the amendment or the lookback month and stability period after the amendment, whichever results in the larger interest credits. If the plan amendment is adopted retroactively (that is, the amendment is effective prior to the adoption date), the plan must use the lookback month and stability period resulting in the larger interest credits for the period beginning with the effective date and ending one year after the adoption date.

(B)Section 411(b)(5)(B)(i)(I) market rate of return relief. The plan's effective interest crediting rate is not in excess of a market rate of return for purposes of paragraph (d) of this section merely because a plan amendment complies with the requirements of paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) of this section. However, a pattern of repeated plan amendments each of which provides for a change in the lookback month or stability period used to determine interest credits will be treated as resulting in the ongoing plan terms providing for an effective interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return. See § 1.411(d)-4, A-1(c)(1).

(v)RIC ceasing to exist. This paragraph (e)(3)(v) applies in the case of a statutory hybrid plan that credits interest using an interest crediting rate equal to the rate of return on a RIC (pursuant to paragraph (d)(5)(iv) of this section) that ceases to exist, whether as a result of a name change, liquidation, or otherwise. In such a case, the plan is not treated as violating section 411(d)(6) provided that the rate of return on the successor RIC is substituted for the rate of return on the RIC that no longer exists, for purposes of crediting interest for periods after the date the RIC ceased to exist. In the case of a name change or merger of RICs, the successor RIC means the RIC that results from the name change or merger involving the RIC that no longer exists. In all other cases, the successor RIC is a RIC selected by the plan sponsor that has reasonably similar characteristics, including characteristics related to risk and rate of return, as the RIC that no longer exists.

(vi)Transitional amendments needed to satisfy the market rate of return rules -

(A)In general. Notwithstanding the requirements of section 411(d)(6), if the requirements set forth in this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) are satisfied, a plan may be amended to change its interest crediting rate with respect to benefits that have already accrued in order to comply with the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and paragraph (d) of this section. A plan amendment is eligible for the treatment provided under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(A) to the extent that the amendment modifies an interest crediting rate that does not satisfy the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) and paragraph (d) of this section in the manner specified in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section.

(B)Rules of application -

(1)Multiple noncompliant features. If a plan's interest crediting rate has more than one noncompliant feature as described in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section, then each noncompliant feature must be addressed separately in the manner specified in paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section.

(2)Definition of investment-based rate. The application of the rules of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section to an interest crediting rate depends on whether the interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate. For purposes of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi), an investment-based rate is a rate based on either a rate of return provided by actual investments (taking into account the return attributable to any change in the value of the underlying investments) or a rate of return for an index that measures the change in the value of investments. A rate is an investment-based rate even if it is based only in part on a rate described in the preceding sentence.

(3)Timing rules for permitted amendments. The rules under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) apply only to a plan amendment that is adopted prior to and effective no later than the first day of the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (f)(2)(i)(B)(3) of this section, as applicable. In addition, the rules under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) apply to a plan amendment only with respect to interest credits that are credited for interest crediting periods that begin on or after the applicable amendment date (within the meaning of § 1.411(d)-3(g)(4)).

(4)Amendments that provide for greater interest crediting rates. If a plan is amended in accordance with paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) through (10) of this section to switch from a noncompliant rate to a compliant rate and is subsequently amended to switch to a second compliant rate that can never be less than the first compliant rate, then the second amendment does not violate section 411(d)(6). If, instead, the plan is amended to switch from the noncompliant rate to the second compliant rate in a single amendment, that amendment also does not violate section 411(d)(6). For example, if it is permitted under paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C) of this section to first amend the plan to credit interest using the lesser of the current rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, it is then permissible to amend the plan to credit interest using that rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section. In such a case, it is also permissible to amend the plan to switch from the current rate to a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section in a single amendment.

(5)Cumulative floors, including floors resulting from a prior change in rates with section 411(d)(6) protection. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies to a plan that takes into account a minimum rate of return that applies less frequently than annually. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) also applies to a plan that determines the participant's benefit as of the annuity starting date as the benefit provided by the greatest of two or more account balances (for example, in order to comply with section 411(d)(6) in connection with a prior amendment to change the plan's interest crediting rate). In either case, this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies with respect to a participant only if the requirements of paragraph (d)(6) of this section are not satisfied with respect to that participant. If this paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) applies with respect to a participant, the plan must be amended to provide that the benefit for the participant is based solely on the benefit (and the associated interest crediting rate with respect to that benefit) that is greatest for that participant as of the applicable amendment date for the amendment made pursuant to this paragraph (e)(3)(vi). In addition, the plan must be further amended pursuant to the other rules in this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) if the remaining interest crediting rate does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section.

(6)Plans that permit participant direction of interest crediting rates. This paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(6) applies in the case in which a plan permits a participant to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options and at least one of those hypothetical investment options provides for an interest crediting rate that is not permitted under paragraph (d) of this section (so that the plan fails to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section). In such a case, the rules of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) may be applied separately to correct each impermissible investment option. Alternatively, with respect to such a plan that permitted a participant to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options on September 18, 2014, pursuant to plan provisions that were adopted on or before September 18, 2014, the entire menu of investment options may be treated as an impermissible investment-based rate for which there is no permitted investment-based rate with similar risk and return characteristics (so that the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section does not apply). As a result, plans described in the preceding sentence may be amended to eliminate a participant's ability to choose an interest crediting rate from among a menu of hypothetical investment options in accordance with paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(9) of this section.

(C)Noncompliant feature and amendment to bring plan into compliance -

(1)Timing or other rules related to determining interest credits not satisfied. If a plan has an underlying interest rate that generally satisfies the rules of paragraph (d) of this section but that does not satisfy the rules relating to how interest credits are determined and credited as set forth in paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section, then the plan must be amended either -

(i) To correct the aspect of the plan's interest crediting rate that fails to comply with the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section with respect to its underlying interest crediting rate; or

(ii) If the plan's interest crediting rate is a variable rate that is not an investment-based rate of return, to provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of that variable rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section that satisfies the rules of paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section.

(2)Fixed rate in excess of 6 percent. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a fixed rate in excess of the rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section, then the plan must be amended to reduce the interest crediting rate to an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent.

(3)Bond-based rate with margin exceeding maximum permitted margin. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a noncompliant rate that consists of an underlying rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section except that the plan applies a margin that exceeds the maximum permitted margin under paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section to the underlying rate, then the plan must be amended either -

(i) To reduce the margin to the maximum permitted margin for the underlying rate used by the plan; or

(ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of the plan's noncompliant rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with any fixed minimum rate that was part of the noncompliant rate, reduced to the extent necessary to comply with paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section).

(4)Bond-based rate with fixed minimum rate applied on an annual or more frequent basis in excess of the highest permitted fixed minimum rate. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a composite rate that consists of a variable rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section in combination with a fixed minimum rate in excess of the highest permitted fixed minimum rate under paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(A)(2) or (B)(2) of this section (as applicable), then the plan must be amended in one of the following manners:

(i) To reduce the fixed minimum rate to the highest permitted fixed minimum rate that may be used in combination with the plan's variable rate;

(ii) To credit interest using an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent; or

(iii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is the lesser of the plan's noncompliant composite rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent).

(5)Greatest of two or more variable bond-based rates. If a plan's interest crediting rate is a composite rate that is the greatest of two or more variable rates described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, then the plan must be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate that is the lesser of the composite rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(6)Other impermissible bond-based rates. If, after application of the rules of paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) through (5) of this section, a plan's interest crediting rate is a variable rate that is not an investment-based rate of return and is not described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section, then the plan must be amended either -

(i) To provide for an interest crediting rate based on a variable rate described in paragraph (d)(3) or (d)(4) of this section that has similar duration and quality characteristics as the plan's variable rate, if such a rate can be selected; or

(ii) To provide for an interest crediting rate that is the lesser of the plan's variable rate and a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

(7)Impermissible investment-based rate that can be replaced with a permissible rate that has similar risk and return characteristics. If a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate of return that is not described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and a permitted investment-based rate described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A), (d)(5)(ii)(B), or (d)(5)(iv) of this section that has similar risk and return characteristics as the plan's impermissible investment-based rate can be selected, then the plan must be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate based on such a permitted investment-based rate.

(8)Investment-based rate with an annual or more frequent minimum rate that is either a fixed rate or a non-investment based variable rate. If a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate of return that would be described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section except that the plan uses an annual or more frequent minimum rate that is either a fixed rate or a non-investment based variable rate in conjunction with the investment-based rate, then the plan must be amended either -

(i) To credit interest using that investment-based rate of return described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section without the minimum rate and eliminating any reduction (or other adjustment) to the investment-based rate; or

(ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section (together with any fixed minimum rate, reduced to the extent necessary to comply with paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section).

(9)Other impermissible investment-based rates. If, after application of the rules of paragraphs (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1), (7), and (8) of this section, a plan's interest crediting rate is an investment-based rate that is not described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section, then the plan must be amended either -

(i) To provide for an interest crediting rate that is an investment-based rate that is described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and that is otherwise similar to the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but without the risk and return characteristics of the impermissible investment-based rate that caused it to be impermissible (generally requiring the use of a rate that is less volatile than the plan's impermissible investment-based rate but is otherwise similar to that rate); or

(ii) To provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent.

(D)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of the rules of this paragraph (e)(3)(vi). Each plan has a plan year that is the calendar year, and all amendments are adopted on October 1, 2016, and become effective for interest crediting periods beginning on or after January 1, 2017. Except as otherwise provided, the interest crediting rate under the plan satisfies the timing and other rules related to crediting interest under paragraph (d)(1)(iv) of this section.

Example 1.
(i)Facts. A plan determines interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for the last week of the preceding plan year (which is an impermissible lookback period for this purpose pursuant to paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section because it is not a month).

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. It may be amended to determine interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for a lookback month that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section.

Example 2.
(i)Facts. A plan determines interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for the last week of the preceding plan year, plus 50 basis points.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended to correct both the impermissible lookback period and the excess margin. Accordingly, pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) and (3) of this section, the plan may be amended to determine interest credits for a plan year using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities (with no margin) for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section for a period that complies with the requirements of paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(B) of this section.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest for a plan year using the rate of return on plan assets for the preceding plan year.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(1) of this section, the plan must be amended to determine interest credits for each plan year using the rate of return on plan assets for that plan year.

Example 4.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest using the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for December of the preceding plan year with a minimum rate of 5.5 percent per year.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(4) of this section, the plan must be amended to change the plan's interest crediting rate. The new interest crediting rate under the plan may be the average yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities for December of the preceding plan year with a minimum rate of 5 percent per year. Alternatively, the new interest crediting rate under the plan may be an annual interest crediting rate of 6 percent. As another alternative, the existing noncompliant composite rate may be capped so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section, with a minimum rate of 4 percent as a floor on the entire resulting rate.

Example 5.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest using the greater of the unadjusted yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities and the yield on 1-year Treasury Constant Maturities plus 100 basis points.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(5) of this section, the plan must be amended to cap the existing composite “greater-of” rate so that the composite rate cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

Example 6.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest using a broad-based index that measures the yield to maturity on a group of intermediate-term investment grade corporate bonds.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(6) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. The plan may be amended to credit interest using a second segment rate described in paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

Example 7.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest using the rate of return for a broad-based index that measures the yield to maturity on a group of short-term non-investment grade corporate bonds.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(6)(ii) of this section, the plan must be amended to cap the existing rate so that it cannot exceed a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section.

Example 8.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest using the rate of return for the S&P 500 index. To bring the plan into compliance with the market rate of return rules, the plan sponsor amends the plan to credit interest based on the rate of return on a RIC that is designed to track the rate of return on the S&P 500 index.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section.

Example 9.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest based on the rate of return on a collective trust that holds a portfolio of equity investments, which provides a rate of return that is reasonably expected to be not significantly more volatile than the broad U.S. equities market or a similarly broad international equities market. To bring the plan into compliance with the market rate of return rules, the plan sponsor amends the plan to credit interest based on the actual rate of return on the assets within a specified subset of the plan's assets that is invested in the collective trust and that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(B) of this section.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the rule of paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(7) of this section.

Example 10.
(i)Facts. A plan credits interest for a plan year using the rate of return on a RIC that has most of its investments concentrated in the semiconductor industry.

(ii)Conclusion. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(C)(9) of this section, the plan must be amended in one of two manners. The plan may be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate that is an investment-based rate that is described in paragraph (d)(5) of this section and that is similar to the plan's impermissible investment-based rate except to the extent that the risk and return characteristics of the impermissible investment-based rate caused it to be impermissible. Thus, the plan may be amended to provide for an interest crediting rate based on the rate of return on a RIC that is invested in a broader sector of the market than the semiconductor industry (such as the overall technology sector of the market), provided that the sector in which the RIC is invested is broad enough that the volatility requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(iv) of this section are satisfied. Alternatively, the plan may be amended to provide that the plan's interest crediting rate is a third segment rate described in paragraph (d)(3) of this section with a fixed minimum rate of 4 percent.

Example 11.
(i)Facts. A plan was amended in 2014 to change its interest crediting rate for all interest crediting periods after the applicable amendment date of the amendment. The amendment changed the rate from the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities to the rate of return on aggregate plan assets under paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A) of this section. The amendment also provided for section 411(d)(6) protection with respect to the account balance as of the applicable amendment date (by providing that the account balance after the applicable amendment date will never be smaller than the account balance as of the applicable amendment date credited with interest using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities).

(ii)Conclusions.

(A)Participants benefiting under the plan. With respect to those participants who were benefiting under the plan as of the applicable amendment date of the amendment described in paragraph (i) of this Example 11, the requirements of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section (which provides a special market rate of return rule to permit certain changes in rates for participants benefiting under the plan) are satisfied. Accordingly, no amendment is required under this paragraph (e)(3)(vi) with respect to those participants.

(B)Participants not benefiting under the plan. With respect to those participants who were not benefiting under the plan as of the applicable amendment date of the amendment described in paragraph (i) of this Example 11, the requirements of paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section are not satisfied and, accordingly, the “greater-of” rate resulting from the section 411(d)(6) protection does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d)(6) of this section. As a result, pursuant to paragraph (e)(3)(vi)(B)(5) of this section, it must be determined on a participant-by-participant basis which account balance provides the benefit that is greater as of the applicable amendment date for the amendment made pursuant to this paragraph (e)(3)(iv) (the transitional amendment). If, as of the applicable amendment date for the transitional amendment, the account balance credited with interest after the change in rates using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities is greater, then the plan must be amended to provide that the participant's benefit is based solely on that account balance credited with interest using the yield on 30-year Treasury Constant Maturities. On the other hand, if, as of the applicable amendment date for the transitional amendment, the account balance using the rate of return on aggregate plan assets is greater, then the plan must be amended to provide that the participant's benefit is based solely on that account balance credited with interest at the rate of return on aggregate plan assets.

(vii)Plan termination amendments. A plan amendment with an applicable amendment date on or before the first day of the first plan year described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) or (3) of this section (as applicable) is not treated as reducing accrued benefits in violation of section 411(d)(6) merely because the amendment changes the rules that apply upon plan termination in order to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(4)Actuarial increases after normal retirement age. A statutory hybrid plan is not treated as providing an effective interest crediting rate that is in excess of a market rate of return for purposes of paragraph (d) of this section merely because the plan provides that the participant's benefit, as of each annuity starting date after normal retirement age, is equal to the greater of -

(i) The benefit based on the accumulated benefit determined using an interest crediting rate that is not in excess of a market rate of return under paragraph (d) of this section; and

(ii) The benefit that satisfies the requirements of section 411(a)(2).

(5)Plans that permit participant direction of interest crediting rates. [Reserved]

(f)Effective/applicability date -

(1)Statutory effective/applicability dates -

(i)In general. Except as provided in paragraph (f)(1)(iii) of this section, section 411(b)(5) applies for periods beginning on or after June 29, 2005.

(ii)Conversion amendments. The requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(ii), 411(b)(5)(B)(iii), and 411(b)(5)(B)(iv) apply to a conversion amendment (as defined in paragraph (c)(4) of this section) that both is adopted on or after June 29, 2005, and takes effect on or after June 29, 2005.

(iii)Market rate of return -

(A)Plans in existence on June 29, 2005 -

(1)In general. In the case of a plan that was in existence on June 29, 2005 (regardless of whether the plan was a statutory hybrid plan on that date), section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) applies to plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2008.

(2)Exception for plan sponsor election. Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(A)(1) of this section, a plan sponsor of a plan that was in existence on June 29, 2005 (regardless of whether the plan was a statutory hybrid plan on that date) may elect to have the requirements of section 411(a)(13)(B) and section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) apply for any period on or after June 29, 2005, and before the first plan year beginning after December 31, 2007. In accordance with section 1107 of the PPA '06, an employer is permitted to adopt an amendment to make this election as late as the last day of the first plan year that begins on or after January 1, 2009 (January 1, 2011, in the case of a governmental plan as defined in section 414(d)) if the plan operates in accordance with the election.

(B)Plans not in existence on June 29, 2005. In the case of a plan not in existence on June 29, 2005, section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) applies to the plan on and after the later of June 29, 2005, and the date the plan becomes a statutory hybrid plan.

(iv)Collectively bargained plans -

(A)In general. Notwithstanding paragraph (f)(1)(iii) of this section, in the case of a collectively bargained plan maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers ratified on or before August 17, 2006, the requirements of section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) do not apply to plan years that begin before the earlier of -

(1) The later of -

(i) The date on which the last of those collective bargaining agreements terminates (determined without regard to any extension thereof on or after August 17, 2006); or

(ii) January 1, 2008; or

(2) January 1, 2010.

(B)Treatment of plans with both collectively bargained and non-collectively bargained employees. In the case of a plan with respect to which a collective bargaining agreement applies to some, but not all, of the plan participants, the plan is considered a collectively bargained plan for purposes of this paragraph (f)(1)(iv) if it is considered a collectively bargained plan under the rules of § 1.436-1(a)(5)(ii)(B).

(2)Effective/applicability date of regulations -

(i)In general -

(A)General effective date. Except as provided in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B) of this section, this section applies to plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2011.

(B)Special effective date -

(1)In general. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B), paragraphs (d)(1)(iii), (d)(1)(iv)(D) and (E), (d)(1)(vi), (d)(2)(ii) and (v), (d)(5)(ii)(B), (d)(5)(iv), (d)(6), (e)(2), (e)(3)(iii), (iv) and (v), and (e)(4) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after January 1, 2017 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer).

(2)Transitional amendments. Paragraphs (e)(3)(vi) and (vii) of this section apply to plan amendments made on or after September 18, 2014 (or an earlier date as elected by the taxpayer).

(3)Collectively bargained plans. In the case of a plan maintained pursuant to one or more collective bargaining agreements between employee representatives and one or more employers ratified on or before November 13, 2015, that constitutes a collectively bargained plan under the rules of § 1.436-1(a)(5)(ii)(B), the paragraphs referenced in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B)(1) of this section apply to plan years that begin on or after the later of -

(i) January 1, 2017; and

(ii) The earlier of January 1, 2019; and the date on which the last of those collective bargaining agreements terminates (determined without regard to any extension thereof on or after November 13, 2015).

(ii)Conversion amendments. With respect to a conversion amendment (within the meaning of paragraph (c)(4) of this section), where the effective date of the conversion amendment (as defined in paragraph (c)(4)(vi) of this section) is on or after the statutory effective date set forth in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section, the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section apply only to a participant who has an hour of service on or after the regulatory effective date set forth in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section.

(iii)Reliance before regulatory effective date. For the periods after the statutory effective date set forth in paragraph (f)(1) of this section and before the regulatory effective date set forth in paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section, the safe harbor and other relief of section 411(b)(5) apply and the market rate of return and other requirements of section 411(b)(5) must be satisfied. During these periods, a plan is permitted to rely on the provisions of this section for purposes of applying the relief and satisfying the requirements of section 411(b)(5).

[T.D. 9505, 75 FR 64137, Oct. 19, 2010, as amended by T.D. 9505, Dec. 28, 2010; T.D. 9693, 79 FR 56460, Sept. 19, 2014; T.D. 9743, 80 FR 70684, Nov. 16, 2015]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.


United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 26 - INTERNAL REVENUE CODE

§ 1 - Tax imposed

§ 21 - Expenses for household and dependent care services necessary for gainful employment

§ 23 - Adoption expenses

§ 25 - Interest on certain home mortgages

§ 25A - Hope and Lifetime Learning credits

§ 28 - Renumbered § 45C]

§ 30 - Repealed. Pub. L. 113–295, div. A, title II, § 221(a)(2)(A), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 4037]

§ 36B - Refundable credit for coverage under a qualified health plan

§ 38 - General business credit

§ 40 - Alcohol, etc., used as fuel

§ 41 - Credit for increasing research activities

§ 42 - Low-income housing credit

§ 43 - Enhanced oil recovery credit

§ 45D - New markets tax credit

§ 46 - Amount of credit

§ 47 - Rehabilitation credit

§ 52 - Special rules

§ 56 - Adjustments in computing alternative minimum taxable income

§ 58 - Denial of certain losses

§ 61 - Gross income defined

§ 62 - Adjusted gross income defined

§ 66 - Treatment of community income

§ 67 - 2-percent floor on miscellaneous itemized deductions

§ 72 - Annuities; certain proceeds of endowment and life insurance contracts

§ 101 - Certain death benefits

§ 103 - Interest on State and local bonds

§ 103A - Repealed. Pub. L. 99–514, title XIII, § 1301(j)(1), Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2657]

§ 108 - Income from discharge of indebtedness

§ 110 - Qualified lessee construction allowances for short-term leases

§ 129 - Dependent care assistance programs

§ 132 - Certain fringe benefits

§ 148 - Arbitrage

§ 149 - Bonds must be registered to be tax exempt; other requirements

§ 150 - Definitions and special rules

§ 152 - Dependent defined

§ 162 - Trade or business expenses

§ 163 - Interest

§ 165 - Losses

§ 166 - Bad debts

§ 168 - Accelerated cost recovery system

§ 170 - Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

§ 171 - Amortizable bond premium

§ 179 - Election to expense certain depreciable business assets

§ 179A - Repealed. Pub. L. 113–295, div. A, title II, § 221(a)(34)(A), Dec. 19, 2014, 128 Stat. 4042]

§ 197 - Amortization of goodwill and certain other intangibles

§ 199 - Income attributable to domestic production activities

§ 216 - Deduction of taxes, interest, and business depreciation by cooperative housing corporation tenant-stockholder

§ 221 - Interest on education loans

§ 263A - Capitalization and inclusion in inventory costs of certain expenses

§ 267 - Losses, expenses, and interest with respect to transactions between related taxpayers

§ 274 - Disallowance of certain entertainment, etc., expenses

§ 280C - Certain expenses for which credits are allowable

§ 280F - Limitation on depreciation for luxury automobiles; limitation where certain property used for personal purposes

§ 280G - Golden parachute payments

§ 301 - Distributions of property

§ 304 - Redemption through use of related corporations

§ 305 - Distributions of stock and stock rights

§ 324

§ 336 - Gain or loss recognized on property distributed in complete liquidation

§ 337 - Nonrecognition for property distributed to parent in complete liquidation of subsidiary

§ 338 - Certain stock purchases treated as asset acquisitions

§ 351 - Transfer to corporation controlled by transferor

§ 355 - Distribution of stock and securities of a controlled corporation

§ 357 - Assumption of liability

§ 358 - Basis to distributees

§ 362 - Basis to corporations

§ 367 - Foreign corporations

§ 382 - Limitation on net operating loss carryforwards and certain built-in losses following ownership change

§ 383 - Special limitations on certain excess credits, etc.

§ 401 - Qualified pension, profit-sharing, and stock bonus plans

§ 401 note - Qualified pension, profit-sharing, and stock bonus plans

§ 402A - Optional treatment of elective deferrals as Roth contributions

§ 403 - Taxation of employee annuities

§ 404 - Deduction for contributions of an employer to an employees’ trust or annuity plan and compensation under a deferred-payment plan

§ 408 - Individual retirement accounts

§ 408A - Roth IRAs

§ 409 - Qualifications for tax credit employee stock ownership plans

§ 410 - Minimum participation standards

§ 411 - Minimum vesting standards

§ 414 - Definitions and special rules

§ 417 - Definitions and special rules for purposes of minimum survivor annuity requirements

§ 419A - Qualified asset account; limitation on additions to account

§ 420 - Transfers of excess pension assets to retiree health accounts

§ 441 - Period for computation of taxable income

§ 442 - Change of annual accounting period

§ 444 - Election of taxable year other than required taxable year

§ 446 - General rule for methods of accounting

§ 453 - Installment method

§ 453A - Special rules for nondealers

§ 458 - Magazines, paperbacks, and records returned after the close of the taxable year

§ 460 - Special rules for long-term contracts

§ 461 - General rule for taxable year of deduction

§ 465 - Deductions limited to amount at risk

§ 466 - Repealed. Pub. L. 99–514, title VIII, § 823(a), Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2373]

§ 467 - Certain payments for the use of property or services

§ 468A - Special rules for nuclear decommissioning costs

§ 468B - Special rules for designated settlement funds

§ 469 - Passive activity losses and credits limited

§ 471 - General rule for inventories

§ 472 - Last-in, first-out inventories

§ 475 - Mark to market accounting method for dealers in securities

§ 481 - Adjustments required by changes in method of accounting

§ 482 - Allocation of income and deductions among taxpayers

§ 483 - Interest on certain deferred payments

§ 493

§ 504 - Status after organization ceases to qualify for exemption under section 501(c)(3) because of substantial lobbying or because of political activities

§ 514 - Unrelated debt-financed income

§ 527 - Political organizations

§ 585 - Reserves for losses on loans of banks

§ 597 - Treatment of transactions in which Federal financial assistance provided

§ 642 - Special rules for credits and deductions

§ 643 - Definitions applicable to subparts A, B, C, and D

§ 645 - Certain revocable trusts treated as part of estate

§ 663 - Special rules applicable to sections 661 and 662

§ 664 - Charitable remainder trusts

§ 672 - Definitions and rules

§ 679 - Foreign trusts having one or more United States beneficiaries

§ 701 - Partners, not partnership, subject to tax

§ 702 - Income and credits of partner

§ 703 - Partnership computations

§ 704 - Partner’s distributive share

§ 705 - Determination of basis of partner’s interest

§ 706 - Taxable years of partner and partnership

§ 707 - Transactions between partner and partnership

§ 708 - Continuation of partnership

§ 709 - Treatment of organization and syndication fees

§ 721 - Nonrecognition of gain or loss on contribution

§ 722 - Basis of contributing partner’s interest

§ 723 - Basis of property contributed to partnership

§ 724 - Character of gain or loss on contributed unrealized receivables, inventory items, and capital loss property

§ 731 - Extent of recognition of gain or loss on distribution

§ 732 - Basis of distributed property other than money

§ 733 - Basis of distributee partner’s interest

§ 734 - Adjustment to basis of undistributed partnership property where section 754 election or substantial basis reduction

§ 735 - Character of gain or loss on disposition of distributed property

§ 736 - Payments to a retiring partner or a deceased partner’s successor in interest

§ 737 - Recognition of precontribution gain in case of certain distributions to contributing partner

§ 741 - Recognition and character of gain or loss on sale or exchange

§ 742 - Basis of transferee partner’s interest

§ 743 - Special rules where section 754 election or substantial built-in loss

§ 751 - Unrealized receivables and inventory items

§ 752 - Treatment of certain liabilities

§ 753 - Partner receiving income in respect of decedent

§ 754 - Manner of electing optional adjustment to basis of partnership property

§ 755 - Rules for allocation of basis

§ 761 - Terms defined

§ 809 - Repealed. Pub. L. 108–218, title II, § 205(a), Apr. 10, 2004, 118 Stat. 610]

§ 817A - Special rules for modified guaranteed contracts

§ 832 - Insurance company taxable income

§ 845 - Certain reinsurance agreements

§ 846 - Discounted unpaid losses defined

§ 848 - Capitalization of certain policy acquisition expenses

§ 852 - Taxation of regulated investment companies and their shareholders

§ 860E - Treatment of income in excess of daily accruals on residual interests

§ 860G - Other definitions and special rules

§ 863 - Special rules for determining source

§ 864 - Definitions and special rules

§ 865 - Source rules for personal property sales

§ 874 - Allowance of deductions and credits

§ 882 - Tax on income of foreign corporations connected with United States business

§ 883 - Exclusions from gross income

§ 884 - Branch profits tax

§ 892 - Income of foreign governments and of international organizations

§ 894 - Income affected by treaty

§ 897 - Disposition of investment in United States real property

§ 901 - Taxes of foreign countries and of possessions of United States

§ 902 - Deemed paid credit where domestic corporation owns 10 percent or more of voting stock of foreign corporation

§ 904 - Limitation on credit

§ 907 - Special rules in case of foreign oil and gas income

§ 911 - Citizens or residents of the United States living abroad

§ 924

§ 925

§ 927

§ 934 - Limitation on reduction in income tax liability incurred to the Virgin Islands

§ 936 - Puerto Rico and possession tax credit

§ 937 - Residence and source rules involving possessions

§ 954 - Foreign base company income

§ 956 - Investment of earnings in United States property

§ 957 - Controlled foreign corporations; United States persons

§ 960 - Special rules for foreign tax credit

§ 963 - Repealed. Pub. L. 94–12, title VI, § 602(a)(1), Mar. 29, 1975, 89 Stat. 58]

§ 985 - Functional currency

§ 987 - Branch transactions

§ 988 - Treatment of certain foreign currency transactions

§ 989 - Other definitions and special rules

§ 1017 - Discharge of indebtedness

§ 1032 - Exchange of stock for property

§ 1059 - Corporate shareholder’s basis in stock reduced by nontaxed portion of extraordinary dividends

§ 1060 - Special allocation rules for certain asset acquisitions

§ 1092 - Straddles

§ 1202 - Partial exclusion for gain from certain small business stock

§ 1221 - Capital asset defined

§ 1244 - Losses on small business stock

§ 1248 - Gain from certain sales or exchanges of stock in certain foreign corporations

§ 1254 - Gain from disposition of interest in oil, gas, geothermal, or other mineral properties

§ 1275 - Other definitions and special rules

§ 1286 - Tax treatment of stripped bonds

§ 1291 - Interest on tax deferral

§ 1293 - Current taxation of income from qualified electing funds

§ 1294 - Election to extend time for payment of tax on undistributed earnings

§ 1295 - Qualified electing fund

§ 1296 - Election of mark to market for marketable stock

§ 1297 - Passive foreign investment company

§ 1298 - Special rules

§ 1301 - Averaging of farm income

§ 1361 - S corporation defined

§ 1368 - Distributions

§ 1374 - Tax imposed on certain built-in gains

§ 1377 - Definitions and special rule

§ 1378 - Taxable year of S corporation

§ 1397D - Qualified zone property defined

§ 1397E - Credit to holders of qualified zone academy bonds

§ 1402 - Definitions

§ 1441 - Withholding of tax on nonresident aliens

§ 1443 - Foreign tax-exempt organizations

§ 1445 - Withholding of tax on dispositions of United States real property interests

§ 1471 - Withholdable payments to foreign financial institutions

§ 1472 - Withholdable payments to other foreign entities

§ 1473 - Definitions

§ 1474 - Special rules

§ 1502 - Regulations

§ 1503 - Computation and payment of tax

§ 1504 - Definitions

§ 1561 - Limitations on certain multiple tax benefits in the case of certain controlled corporations

§ 3401 - Definitions

§ 5000 - Certain group health plans

§ 5000A - Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage

§ 6001 - Notice or regulations requiring records, statements, and special returns

§ 6011 - General requirement of return, statement, or list

§ 6015 - Relief from joint and several liability on joint return

§ 6033 - Returns by exempt organizations

§ 6035 - Basis information to persons acquiring property from decedent

§ 6038 - Information reporting with respect to certain foreign corporations and partnerships

§ 6038A - Information with respect to certain foreign-owned corporations

§ 6038B - Notice of certain transfers to foreign persons

§ 6038D - Information with respect to foreign financial assets

§ 6039I - Returns and records with respect to employer-owned life insurance contracts

§ 6041 - Information at source

§ 6043 - Liquidating, etc., transactions

§ 6045 - Returns of brokers

§ 6046A - Returns as to interests in foreign partnerships

§ 6049 - Returns regarding payments of interest

§ 6050E - State and local income tax refunds

§ 6050H - Returns relating to mortgage interest received in trade or business from individuals

§ 6050I-1

§ 6050K - Returns relating to exchanges of certain partnership interests

§ 6050M - Returns relating to persons receiving contracts from Federal executive agencies

§ 6050P - Returns relating to the cancellation of indebtedness by certain entities

§ 6050S - Returns relating to higher education tuition and related expenses

§ 6060 - Information returns of tax return preparers

§ 6061 - Signing of returns and other documents

§ 6065 - Verification of returns

§ 6081 - Extension of time for filing returns

§ 6103 - Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information

§ 6109 - Identifying numbers

§ 6302 - Mode or time of collection

§ 6402 - Authority to make credits or refunds

§ 6411 - Tentative carryback and refund adjustments

§ 6655 - Failure by corporation to pay estimated income tax

§ 6662 - Imposition of accuracy-related penalty on underpayments

§ 6695 - Other assessable penalties with respect to the preparation of tax returns for other persons

§ 6851 - Termination assessments of income tax

§ 7520 - Valuation tables

§ 7654 - Coordination of United States and certain possession individual income taxes

§ 7701 - Definitions

§ 7702 - Life insurance contract defined

§ 7805 - Rules and regulations

§ 7872 - Treatment of loans with below-market interest rates

§ 7874 - Rules relating to expatriated entities and their foreign parents

U.S. Code: Title 29 - LABOR
Statutes at Large
Public Laws
Presidential Documents

Reorganization ... 1978 Plan No. 4

Title 26 published on 16-Jun-2017 03:58

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 26 CFR Part 1 after this date.

  • 2017-06-30; vol. 82 # 125 - Friday, June 30, 2017
    1. 82 FR 29719 - Regulations Regarding Withholding of Tax on Certain U.S. Source Income Paid to Foreign Persons, Information Reporting and Backup Withholding on Payments Made to Certain U.S. Persons, and Portfolio Interest Treatment; Correction
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, Internal Revenue Service
      Correcting amendment.
        Effective Date: These corrections are effective June 30, 2017. Applicability Date: The corrections to §§ 1.1441-0; 1.1441-1(b)(7)(ii)(B), (e)(3)(iv)(B) and (C), (e)(4)(ii)(B)( 11 ), (e)(4)(ix)(D), (e)(5)(ii) through (e)(5)(ii)(B), (e)(5)(ii)(D) through (e)(5)(v)(B)( 3 ), (e)(5)(v)(B)( 5 ) through (e)(5)(v)(D), and (f) through (f)(4); 1.1441-1T; 1.1441-3(d)(1); 1.1441-4; 1.6045-1(m)(2)(ii) and (n)(12)(ii); and 1.6049-5(c)(1) through (c)(4) are applicable on January 6, 2017.
      26 CFR Part 1