26 CFR 1.411(d)-3 - Section 411(d)(6) protected benefits.

§ 1.411(d)-3 Section 411(d)(6) protected benefits.

(a)Protection of accrued benefits -

(1)General rule. Under section 411(d)(6)(A), a plan is not a qualified plan (and a trust forming a part of such plan is not a qualified trust) if a plan amendment decreases the accrued benefit of any plan participant, except as provided in section 412(d)(2) (section 412(c)(8) for plan years beginning before January 1, 2008), section 4281 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 as amended (ERISA), or other applicable law (see, for example, sections 418D and 418E of the Internal Revenue Code, and section 1107 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Public Law 109-280 ( 120 Stat. 780, 1063)). For purposes of this section, a plan amendment includes any changes to the terms of a plan, including changes resulting from a merger, consolidation, or transfer (as defined in section 414(l)) or a plan termination. The protection of section 411(d)(6) applies to a participant's entire accrued benefit under the plan as of the applicable amendment date, without regard to whether the entire accrued benefit was accrued before a participant's severance from employment or whether any portion was the result of an increase in the accrued benefit of the participant pursuant to a plan amendment adopted after the participant's severance from employment.

(2)Plan provisions taken into account -

(i)Direct or indirect reduction in accrued benefit. For purposes of determining whether a participant's accrued benefit is decreased, all of the amendments to the provisions of a plan affecting, directly or indirectly, the computation of accrued benefits are taken into account. Plan provisions indirectly affecting the computation of accrued benefits include, for example, provisions relating to years of service and compensation.

(ii)Amendments effective with the same applicable amendment date. In determining whether a reduction in a participant's accrued benefit has occurred, all plan amendments with the same applicable amendment date are treated as one amendment. Thus, if two amendments have the same applicable amendment date and one amendment, standing alone, increases participants' accrued benefits and the other amendment, standing alone, decreases participants' accrued benefits, the amendments are treated as one amendment and will only violate section 411(d)(6) if, for any participant, the net effect is to decrease participants' accrued benefit as of that applicable amendment date.

(iii)Multiple amendments -

(A)General rule. A plan amendment violates the requirements of section 411(d)(6) if it is one of a series of plan amendments that, when taken together, have the effect of reducing or eliminating a section 411(d)(6) protected benefit in a manner that would be prohibited by section 411(d)(6) if accomplished through a single amendment.

(B)Determination of the time period for combining plan amendments. For purposes of applying the rule in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, generally only plan amendments adopted within a 3-year period are taken into account.

(3)Application of section 411(a) nonforfeitability provisions with respect to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits -

(i)In general. The rules of this paragraph (a) apply to a plan amendment that decreases a participant's accrued benefits, or otherwise places greater restrictions or conditions on a participant's rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits, even if the amendment merely adds a restriction or condition that is permitted under the vesting rules in section 411(a)(3) through (11). However, such an amendment does not violate section 411(d)(6) to the extent it applies with respect to benefits that accrue after the applicable amendment date. See section 411(a)(10) and § 1.411(a)-8 for additional rules relating to changes in a plan's vesting schedule.

(ii)Exception for changes in a plan's vesting computation period. Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, a plan amendment that satisfies the applicable requirements under 29 CFR 2530.203-2(c) (rules relating to vesting computation periods) does not fail to satisfy the requirements of section 411(d)(6) merely because the plan amendment changes the plan's vesting computation period.

(4)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this paragraph (a):

Example 1.
(i)Facts. Plan A provides an annual benefit of 2% of career average pay times years of service commencing at normal retirement age (age 65). Plan A is amended on November 1, 2006, effective as of January 1, 2007, to provide for an annual benefit of 1.3% of final pay times years of service, with final pay computed as the average of a participant's highest 3 consecutive years of compensation. As of January 1, 2007, Participant M has 16 years of service, M's career average pay is $37,500, and the average of M's highest 3 consecutive years of compensation is $67,308. Thus, Participant M's accrued benefit as of the applicable amendment date is increased from $12,000 per year at normal retirement age (2% times $37,500 times 16 years of service) to $14,000 per year at normal retirement age (1.3% times $67,308 times 16 years of service). As of January 1, 2007, Participant N has 6 years of service, N's career average pay is $50,000, and the average of N's highest 3 consecutive years of compensation is $51,282. Participant N's accrued benefit as of the applicable amendment date is decreased from $6,000 per year at normal retirement age (2% times $50,000 times 6 years of service) to $4,000 per year at normal retirement age (1.3% times $51,282 times 6 years of service).

(ii)Conclusion. While the plan amendment increases the accrued benefit of Participant M, the plan amendment fails to satisfy the requirements of section 411(d)(6)(A) because the amendment decreases the accrued benefit of Participant N below the level of the accrued benefit of Participant N immediately before the applicable amendment date.

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1, except that Plan A includes a provision under which Participant N's accrued benefit cannot be less than what it was immediately before the applicable amendment date (so that Participant N's accrued benefit could not be less than $6,000 per year at normal retirement age).

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment does not violate the requirements of section 411(d)(6)(A) with respect to Participant M (whose accrued benefit has been increased) or with respect to Participant N (although Participant N would not accrue any benefits until the point in time at which the new formula amount would exceed the amount payable under the minimum provision, approximately 3 years after the amendment becomes effective).

Example 3.
(i)Facts. Employer N maintains Plan C, a qualified defined benefit plan under which an employee becomes a participant upon completion of 1 year of service and is vested in 100% of the employer-derived accrued benefit upon completion of 5 years of service. Plan C provides that a former employee's years of service prior to a break in service will be reinstated upon completion of 1 year of service after being rehired. Plan C has participants who have fewer than 5 years of service and who are accordingly 0% vested in their employer-derived accrued benefits. On December 31, 2007, effective January 1, 2008, Plan C is amended, in accordance with section 411(a)(6)(D), to provide that any nonvested participant who has at least 5 consecutive 1-year breaks in service and whose number of consecutive 1-year breaks in service exceeds his or her number of years of service before the breaks will have his or her pre-break service disregarded in determining vesting under the plan.

(ii)Conclusion. Under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the plan amendment does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (a), and thus violates section 411(d)(6), because the amendment places greater restrictions or conditions on the rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits, as of January 1, 2008, for participants who have fewer than 5 years of service, by restricting the ability of those participants to receive further vesting protections on benefits accrued as of that date.

Example 4.
(i)Facts.
(A) Employer O sponsors Plan D, a qualified profit sharing plan under which each employee has a nonforfeitable right to a percentage of his or her employer-derived accrued benefit based on the following table:
Completed years of service Nonforfeitable percentage
Fewer than 3 0
3 20
4 40
5 60
6 80
7 100
(B) In January 2006, Employer O acquires Company X, which maintains Plan E, a qualified profit sharing plan under which each employee who has completed 5 years of service has a nonforfeitable right to 100% of the employer-derived accrued benefit. In 2007, Plan E is merged into Plan D. On the effective date for the merger, Plan D is amended to provide that the vesting schedule for participants of Plan E is the 7-year graded vesting schedule of Plan D. In accordance with section 411(a)(10)(A), the plan amendment provides that any participant of Plan E who had completed 5 years of service prior to the amendment is fully vested. In addition, as required under section 411(a)(10)(B), the amendment provides that any participant in Plan E who has at least 3 years of service prior to the amendment is permitted to make an irrevocable election to have the vesting of his or her nonforfeitable right to the employer-derived accrued benefit determined under either the 5-year cliff vesting schedule or the 7-year graded vesting schedule. Participant G, who has an account balance of $10,000 on the applicable amendment date, is a participant in Plan E with 2 years of service as of the applicable amendment date. As of the date of the merger, Participant G's nonforfeitable right to G's employer-derived accrued benefit is 0% under both the 7-year graded vesting schedule of Plan D and the 5-year cliff vesting schedule of Plan E.

(ii)Conclusion. Under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the plan amendment does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (a) and violates section 411(d)(6), because the amendment places greater restrictions or conditions on the rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits with respect to G and any participant who has fewer than 5 years of service and who elected (or was made subject to) the new vesting schedule. A method of avoiding a section 411 (d)(6) violation with respect to account balances attributable to benefits accrued as of the applicable amendment date and earnings thereon would be for Plan D to provide for the vested percentage of G and each other participant in Plan E to be no less than the greater of the vesting percentages under the two vesting schedules (for example, for G and each other participant in Plan E to be 20% vested upon completion of 3 years of service, 40% vested upon completion of 4 years of service, and fully vested upon completion of 5 years of service) for those account balances and earnings.

(b)Protection of section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits -

(1)General rule - (i) Prohibition against plan amendments eliminating or reducing section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits. Except as provided in this section, a plan is treated as decreasing an accrued benefit if it is amended to eliminate or reduce a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit as defined in paragraph (g)(15) of this section. This paragraph (b)(1) applies to participants who satisfy (either before or after the plan amendment) the preamendment conditions for a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit.

(ii)Contingent benefits. The rules of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section apply to participants who satisfy (either before or after the plan amendment) the preamendment conditions for the section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit even if the condition on which the eligibility for the section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit depends is an unpredictable contingent event (e.g., a plant shutdown).

(iii)Application of general rules in paragraph (a) of this section to section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits. For purposes of determining whether a participant's section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit is eliminated or reduced, the rules of paragraph (a) of this section apply to section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits in the same manner as they apply to accrued benefits described in section 411(d)(6)(A). As an example of the application of paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section to section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits, if there are two amendments with the same applicable amendment date and one amendment increases accrued benefits and the other amendment decreases the early retirement factors that are used to determine the early retirement annuity, the amendments are treated as one amendment and only violate section 411(d)(6) if, after the two amendments, the net dollar amount of any early retirement annuity with respect to the accrued benefit of any participant as of the applicable amendment date is lower than it would have been without the two amendments. As an example of the application of paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section to section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits, a series of amendments made within a 3-year period that, when taken together, have the effect of reducing or eliminating early retirement benefits or retirement-type subsidies in a manner that adversely affects the rights of any participant in a more than de minimis manner violates section 411(d)(6)(B) even if each amendment would be permissible pursuant to paragraphs (c), (d), or (f) of this section.

(2)Permissible elimination of section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits - (i) In general. A plan is permitted to be amended to eliminate a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit if the elimination is in accordance with this section or § 1.411(d)-4.

(ii)Increases in payment amounts do not eliminate an optional form of benefit. An amendment is not treated as eliminating an optional form of benefit or eliminating or reducing an early retirement benefit or retirement-type subsidy under the plan, if, effective after the plan amendment, there is another optional form of benefit available to the participant under the plan that is of inherently equal or greater value (within the meaning of § 1.401(a)(4)-4(d)(4)(i)(A)). Thus, for example, a change in the method of calculating a joint and survivor annuity from using a 90% adjustment factor on account of the survivorship payment at particular ages for a participant and a spouse to using a 91% adjustment factor at the same ages is not treated as an elimination of an optional form of benefit. Similarly, a plan that offers a subsidized qualified joint and survivor annuity option for married participants under which the amount payable during the participant's lifetime is not less than the amount payable under the plan's straight life annuity is permitted to be amended to eliminate the straight life annuity option for married participants.

(3)Permissible elimination of benefits that are not section 411(d)(6) protected benefits -

(i)In general. Section 411(d)(6) does not provide protection for benefits that are ancillary benefits, other rights and features, or any other benefits that are not described in section 411(d)(6). See § 1.411(d)-4, Q&A-1(d). However, a plan may not be amended to recharacterize a retirement-type benefit as an ancillary benefit. Thus, for example, a plan amendment to recharacterize any portion of an early retirement subsidy as a social security supplement that is an ancillary benefit violates section 411(d)(6).

(ii)No protection for future benefit accruals. Section 411(d)(6) only protects benefits that accrue before the applicable amendment date. Thus, a plan is permitted to be amended to eliminate or reduce an early retirement benefit, a retirement-type subsidy, or an optional form of benefit with respect to benefits that accrue after the applicable amendment date without violating section 411(d)(6). However, section 4980F(e) of the Internal Revenue Code and section 204(h) of ERISA require notice of an amendment to an applicable pension plan that either provides for a significant reduction in the rate of future benefit accrual or that eliminates or significantly reduces an early retirement benefit or a retirement-type subsidy. See § 54.4980F-1 of this chapter generally, and see § 54.4980F-1, Q&A-7(b) and Q&A-8(c) of this chapter, with respect to the circumstances under which such notice is required for a reduction in an early retirement benefit or retirement-type subsidy.

(4)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this paragraph (b):

Example 1.
(i)Facts involving amendments to an early retirement subsidy. Plan A provides an annual benefit of 2% of career average pay times years of service commencing at normal retirement age (age 65). Plan A is amended on November 1, 2006, effective as of January 1, 2007, to provide for an annual benefit of 1.3% of final pay times years of service, with final pay computed as the average of a participant's highest 3 consecutive years of compensation. Participant M is age 50, M has 16 years of service, M's career average pay is $37,500, and the average of M's highest 3 consecutive years of compensation is $67,308. Thus, M's accrued benefit as of the effective date of the amendment is increased from $12,000 per year at normal retirement age (2% times $37,500 times 16 years of service) to $14,000 per year at normal retirement age (1.3% times $67,308 times 16 years of service). (These facts are similar to the facts in Example 1 in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.) Before the amendment, Plan A permitted a former employee to commence distribution of benefits as early as age 55 and, for a participant with at least 15 years of service, actuarially reduced the amount payable in the form of a straight life annuity commencing before normal retirement age by 3% per year from age 60 to age 65 and by 7% per year from age 55 through age 59. Thus, before the amendment, the amount of M's early retirement benefit that would be payable for commencement at age 55 was $6,000 per year ($12,000 per year minus 3% for 5 years and minus 7% for 5 more years). The amendment also alters the actuarial reduction factor so that, for a participant with at least 15 years of service, the amount payable in a straight life annuity commencing before normal retirement age is reduced by 6% per year. As a result, the amount of M's early retirement benefit at age 55 becomes $5,600 per year after the amendment ($14,000 minus 6% for 10 years).

(ii)Conclusion. The straight life annuity payable under Plan A at age 55 is an optional form of benefit that includes an early retirement subsidy. The plan amendment fails to satisfy the requirements of section 411(d)(6)(B) because the amendment decreases the optional form of benefit payable to Participant M below the level that Participant M was entitled to receive immediately before the effective date of the amendment. If instead Plan A had included a provision under which M's straight life annuity payable at any age could be not be less than what it was immediately before the amendment (so that M's straight life annuity payable at age 55 could not be less than $6,000 per year), then the amendment would not fail to satisfy the requirements of section 411(d)(6)(B) with respect to M's straight life annuity payable at age 55 (although the straight life annuity payable to M at age 55 would not increase until the point in time at which the new formula amount with the new actuarial reduction factors exceeds the amount payable under the minimum provision, approximately 14 months after the amendment becomes effective).

Example 2.
(i)Facts involving plant shutdown benefits. Plan B permits participants who have a severance from employment before normal retirement age (age 65) to commence distributions at any time after age 55 with the amount payable to be actuarially reduced using reasonable actuarial assumptions regarding interest and mortality specified in the plan, but provides that the annual reduction for any participant who has at least 20 years of service and who has a severance from employment after age 55 is only 3% per year (which is a smaller reduction than would apply under reasonable actuarial reductions). Plan B also provides 2 plant shutdown benefits to participants who have a severance of employment as a result of a plant shutdown. First, the favorable 3% per year actuarial reduction applies for commencement of benefits after age 55 and before age 65 for any participant who has at least 10 years of service and who has a severance from employment as a result of a plant shutdown. Second, all participants who have at least 20 years of service and who have a severance from employment after age 55 (and before normal retirement age at age 65) as a result of a plant shutdown will receive supplemental payments. Under the supplemental payments, an additional amount equal to the participant's estimated old-age insurance benefit under the Social Security Act is payable until age 65. The supplemental payments are not a QSUPP, as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-12, because the plan's terms do not state that the supplement is treated as an early retirement benefit that is protected under section 411(d)(6).

(ii)Conclusion with respect to plant shutdown benefits. The benefits payable with the 3% annual reduction are retirement-type benefits. The excess of the actuarial present value of the early retirement benefit using the 3% annual reduction over the actuarial present value of the normal retirement benefit is a retirement-type subsidy and the right to receive payments of the benefit at age 55 is an early retirement benefit. These conclusions apply not only with respect to the rights that apply to participants who have at least 20 years of service, but also to participants with at least 10 years of service who have a severance from employment as a result of a plant shutdown. Thus, the right to receive benefits based on a 3% annual reduction for participants with at least 10 years of service at the time of a plant shutdown is an early retirement benefit that provides a retirement-type subsidy and is a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit (even though no plant shutdown has occurred). Therefore, a plan amendment cannot eliminate this benefit with respect to benefits accrued before the applicable amendment date, even before the occurrence of the plant shutdown. Because the plan provides that the supplemental payments cannot exceed the OASDI benefit under the Social Security Act, the supplemental payments constitute a social security supplement (but not a QSUPP as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-12), which is an ancillary benefit that is not a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit and accordingly is not taken into account in determining whether a prohibited reduction has occurred.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. Plan C, a multiemployer defined benefit plan in which participation is limited to electricians in the construction industry, provides that a participant may elect to commence distributions only if the participant is not currently employed by a participating employer and provides that, if the participant has a specified number of years of service and attains a specified age, the distribution is without any actuarial reduction for commencement before normal retirement age. Since the plan's inception, Plan C has provided for suspension of pension benefits during periods of disqualifying employment (ERISA section 203(a)(3)(B) service). Before 2007, the plan defined disqualifying employment to include any job as an electrician in the particular industry and geographic location to which Plan C applies. This definition of disqualifying employment did not cover a job as an electrician supervisor. In 2005, Participant E, having rendered the specified number of years of service and attained the specified age to retire with a fully subsidized early retirement benefit, retires from E's job as an electrician with Employer Y and starts a position with Employer Z as an electrician supervisor. Employer Z is not a participating employer in Plan C but is an employer in the same industry and geographic location as Employer Y. When E left service with Employer Y, E's position as an electrician supervisor was not disqualifying employment for purposes of Plan C's suspension of pension benefit provision, and E elected to commence benefit payments in 2005. In 2006, effective January 1, 2007, Plan C is amended to expand the definition of disqualifying employment to include any job (including supervisory positions) as an electrician in the same industry and geographic location to which Plan C applies. The plan's definition of disqualifying employment satisfies the requirements of section 411(a)(3)(B). On January 1, 2007, E's pension benefits are suspended because of E's disqualifying employment as an electrician supervisor.

(ii)Conclusion. Under paragraphs (a)(3) and (b)(1) of this section, the 2007 plan amendment violates section 411(d)(6), because the amendment places greater restrictions or conditions on a participant's rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits to the extent it applies with respect to benefits that accrued before January 1, 2007. The result would be the same even if the amendment did not apply to former employees and instead applied only to participants who were actively employed at the time of the applicable amendment.

(c)Permissible elimination of optional forms of benefit that are redundant -

(1)General rule. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (c)(5) of this section, a plan is permitted to be amended to eliminate an optional form of benefit for a participant with respect to benefits accrued before the applicable amendment date if -

(i) The optional form of benefit is redundant with respect to a retained optional form of benefit, within the meaning of paragraph (c)(2) of this section;

(ii) The plan amendment is not applicable with respect to an optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that is earlier than the number of days in the maximum QJSA explanation period (as defined in paragraph (g)(9) of this section) after the date the amendment is adopted; and

(iii) The requirements of paragraph (e) of this section are satisfied in any case in which either:

(A) The retained optional form of benefit for the participant does not commence on the same annuity commencement date as the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated; or

(B) As of the date the amendment is adopted, the actuarial present value of the retained optional form of benefit for the participant is less than the actuarial present value of the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated.

(2)Similar types of optional forms of benefit are redundant -

(i)General rule. An optional form of benefit is redundant with respect to a retained optional form of benefit if, after the amendment becomes applicable -

(A) There is a retained optional form of benefit available to the participant that is in the same family of optional forms of benefit, within the meaning of paragraphs (c)(3) and (4) of this section, as the optional form of benefit being eliminated; and

(B) The participant's rights with respect to the retained optional form of benefit are not subject to materially greater restrictions (such as conditions relating to eligibility, restrictions on a participant's ability to designate the person who is entitled to benefits following the participant's death, or restrictions on a participant's right to receive an in-kind distribution) than applied to the optional form of benefit being eliminated.

(ii)Special rule for core options. An optional form of benefit that is a core option as defined in paragraph (g)(5) of this section may not be eliminated as a redundant benefit under the rules of this paragraph (c) unless the retained optional form of benefit and the eliminated core option are identical except for differences described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section. Thus, for example, a particular 10-year term certain and life annuity may not be eliminated by plan amendment unless the retained optional form of benefit is another 10-year term certain and life annuity.

(3)Family of optional forms of benefit -

(i)In general. Paragraph (c)(4) of this section describes certain families of optional forms of benefits. Not every optional form of benefit that is offered under a plan necessarily fits within a family of optional forms of benefit as described in paragraph (c)(4) of this section. Each optional form of benefit that is not included in any particular family of optional forms of benefit listed in paragraph (c)(4) of this section is in a separate family of optional forms of benefit with other optional forms of benefit that would be identical to that optional form of benefit but for differences that are disregarded under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section.

(ii)Certain differences among optional forms of benefit -

(A)Differences in actuarial factors and annuity starting dates. The determination of whether two optional forms of benefit are within a family of optional forms of benefit is made without regard to actuarial factors or annuity starting dates. Thus, any optional forms of benefit that are part of the same generalized optional form (within the meaning of paragraph (g)(8) of this section) are in the same family of optional forms of benefit. For example, if a plan has a single-sum distribution option for some participants that is calculated using a 5% interest rate and a specific mortality table (but no less than the minimum present value as determined under section 417(e)) and another single-sum distribution option for other participants that is calculated using the applicable interest rate as defined in section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) and the applicable mortality table as defined in section 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(I), both single-sum distribution options are part of the same generalized optional form and thus in the same family of optional forms of benefit under the rules of paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section. However, differences in actuarial factors and annuity starting dates are taken into account for purposes of the requirements in paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(B)Differences in pop-up provisions and cash refund features for joint and contingent options. The determination of whether two optional forms of benefit are within a family of optional forms of benefit relating to joint and contingent families (as described in paragraph (c)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section) is made without regard to the following features -

(1) Pop-up provisions (under which payments increase upon the death of the beneficiary or another event that causes the beneficiary not to be entitled to a survivor annuity);

(2) Cash refund features (under which payment is provided upon the death of the last annuitant in an amount that is not greater than the excess of the present value of the annuity at the annuity starting date over the total of payments before the death of the last annuitant); or

(3) Term-certain provisions for optional forms of benefit within a joint and contingent family.

(C)Differences in social security leveling features, refund of employee contributions features, and retroactive annuity starting date features. The determination of whether 2 optional forms of benefit are within a family of optional forms of benefit is made without regard to social security leveling features, refund of employee contributions features, or retroactive annuity starting date features. But see paragraph (c)(5) of this section for special rules relating to social security leveling, refund of employee contributions, and retroactive annuity starting date features in optional forms of benefit.

(4)List of families. The following are families of optional forms of benefit for purposes of this paragraph (c):

(i)Joint and contingent options with continuation percentages of 50% to 100%. An optional form of benefit is within the 50% or more joint and contingent family if it provides a life annuity to the participant and a survivor annuity to an individual that is at least 50% and no more than 100% of the annuity payable during the joint lives of the participant and the participant's survivor.

(ii)Joint and contingent options with continuation percentages less than 50%. An optional form of benefit is within the less than 50% joint and contingent family if it provides a life annuity to the participant and a survivor annuity to an individual that is less than 50% of the annuity payable during the joint lives of the participant and the participant's survivor.

(iii)Term certain and life annuity options with a term of 10 years or less. An optional form of benefit is within the 10 years or less term certain and life family if it is a life annuity with a guarantee that payments will continue to the participant's beneficiary for the remainder of a fixed period that is 10 years or less if the participant dies before the end of the fixed period.

(iv)Term certain and life annuity options with a term longer than 10 years. An optional form of benefit is within the longer than 10 years term certain and life family if it is a life annuity with a guarantee that payments will continue to the participant's beneficiary for the remainder of a fixed period that is in excess of 10 years if the participant dies before the end of the fixed period.

(v)Level installment payment options over a period of 10 years or less. An optional form of benefit is within the 10 years or less installment family if it provides for substantially level payments to the participant for a fixed period of at least 2 years and not in excess of 10 years with a guarantee that payments will continue to the participant's beneficiary for the remainder of the fixed period if the participant dies before the end of the fixed period.

(vi)Level installment payment options over a period of more than 10 years. An optional form of benefit is within the more than 10 years installment family if it provides for substantially level payments to the participant for a fixed period that is in excess of 10 years with a guarantee that payments will continue to the participant's beneficiary for the remainder of the fixed period if the participant dies before the end of the fixed period.

(5)Special rules for certain features included in optional forms of benefit. For purposes of applying this paragraph (c), to the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated includes either a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, the retained optional form of benefit must also include that feature, and, to the extent that the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, the retained optional form of benefit must not include that feature. For purposes of applying this paragraph (c), to the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a retroactive annuity starting date feature, the retained optional form of benefit must not include the feature.

(6)Separate application of redundancy rules for bifurcated benefits. If a plan permits the participant to make different distribution elections with respect to two or more separate portions of the participant's benefit, the rules of this paragraph (c) are permitted to be applied separately to each such portion of the participant's benefit as if that portion were the participant's entire benefit. Thus, for example, if one set of distribution elections applies to a portion of the participant's accrued benefit and another set of distribution elections applies to the other portion of the participant's accrued benefit, then with respect to one portion of the participant's benefit, the determination of whether any optional form of benefit is within a family of optional forms of benefit is permitted to be made disregarding elections that apply to the other portion of the participant's benefit. Similarly, if a participant can elect to receive any portion of the accrued benefit in a single sum and the remainder pursuant to a set of distribution elections, the rules of this paragraph (c) are permitted to be applied separately to the set of distribution elections that apply to the portion of the participant's accrued benefit that is not payable in a single sum (for example, for the portion of a participant's benefit that is not paid in a single sum, the determination of whether any optional form of benefit is within a family of optional forms of benefit is permitted to be made disregarding the fact that the other portion of the participant's benefit is paid in a single sum).

(d)Permissible elimination of noncore optional forms of benefit where core options are offered -

(1)General rule. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, a plan is permitted to be amended to eliminate an optional form of benefit for a participant with respect to benefits accrued before the applicable amendment date if -

(i) After the amendment becomes applicable, each of the core options described in paragraph (g)(5) of this section is available to the participant with respect to benefits accrued before and after the amendment;

(ii) The plan amendment is not applicable with respect to an optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that is earlier than 4 years after the date the amendment is adopted; and

(iii) The requirements of paragraph (e) of this section are satisfied in any case in which either:

(A) One or more of the core options are not available commencing on the same annuity commencement date as the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated; or

(B) As of the date the amendment is adopted, the actuarial present value of the benefit payable under any core option with the same annuity commencement date is less than the actuarial present value of benefits payable under the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated.

(2)Special rules -

(i)Treatment of certain features included in optional forms of benefit. For purposes of applying this paragraph (d), to the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated includes either a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, at least one of the core options must also be available with that feature, and, to the extent that the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, each of the core options must be available without that feature. For purposes of applying this paragraph (d), to the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a retroactive annuity starting date feature, each of the core options must be available without that feature.

(ii)Eliminating the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy. For purposes of applying this paragraph (d), if the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy (as defined in paragraph (g)(5)(iii) of this section) is eliminated, then, after the plan amendment, an optional form of benefit that is identical, except for differences described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section, must be available to the participant. However, such a plan amendment cannot eliminate a refund of employee contributions feature from the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy.

(iii)Single-sum distributions. A plan amendment is not treated as satisfying this paragraph (d) if it eliminates an optional form of benefit that includes a single-sum distribution that applies with respect to at least 25% of the participant's accrued benefit as of the date the optional form of benefit is eliminated. But see § 1.411(d)-4, Q&A-2(b)(2)(v), relating to involuntary single-sum distributions for benefits with a present value not in excess of the maximum dollar amount in section 411(a)(11).

(iv)Application of multiple amendment rule to core option rule. Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B) of this section, if a plan is amended to eliminate an optional form of benefit using the core options rule in this paragraph (d), then the employer must wait 3 years after the first annuity commencement date for which the optional form of benefit is no longer available before making any changes to the core options offered under the plan (other than a change that is not treated as an elimination under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section). Thus, for example, if a plan amendment eliminates an optional form of benefit for a participant using the core options rule under this paragraph (d), with an adoption date of January 1, 2006 and an effective date of January 1, 2010, the plan would not be permitted to be amended to make changes to the core options offered under the plan (and the core options would continue to apply with respect to the participant's accrued benefit) until January 1, 2013.

(v)Special rule for joint and contingent annuity core option. If a plan offers joint and contingent annuities under which a participant is entitled to a life annuity with a survivor annuity for the individual designated by the participant (including a non-spousal contingent annuitant) with continuation percentage options of both 50% and 100% (after adjustments permitted under paragraph (g)(5)(ii) of this section to comply with applicable law), the plan is permitted to treat both of these options as core options for purposes of this paragraph (d), in lieu of a 75% joint and contingent annuity. Thus, such a plan is permitted to use the rules of this paragraph (d) if the plan satisfies all of the requirements of this paragraph (d) (taking into account the modification rule in paragraph (g)(5)(ii) of this section) other than the requirement of offering a 75% joint and contingent annuity as described in paragraph (g)(5)(i)(B) of this section.

(e)Permissible plan amendments under paragraphs (c) and (d) eliminating or reducing section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that are burdensome and of de minimis value -

(1)In general. A plan amendment that, pursuant to paragraph (c)(1)(iii) or (d)(1)(iii) of this section, is required to satisfy this paragraph (e) satisfies this paragraph (e) if -

(i) The amendment eliminates section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens or complexities for the plan and its participants as described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section; and

(ii) The amendment does not adversely affect the rights of any participant in a more than de minimis manner as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(2)Plan amendments eliminating section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens and complexities -

(i)Facts and circumstances analysis -

(A)In general. The determination of whether a plan amendment eliminates section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens or complexities for the plan and its participants is based on facts and circumstances.

(B)Early retirement benefits. In the case of an amendment that eliminates an early retirement benefit, relevant factors include whether the annuity starting dates under the plan considered in the aggregate are burdensome or complex (e.g., the number of categories of early retirement benefits, whether the terms and conditions applicable to the plan's early retirement benefits are difficult to summarize in a manner that is concise and readily understandable to the average plan participant, and whether those different early retirement benefits were added to the plan as a result of a plan merger, transfer, or consolidation), and whether the effect of the plan amendment is to reduce the number of categories of early retirement benefits.

(C)Retirement-type subsidies and actuarial factors. In the case of a plan amendment eliminating a retirement-type subsidy or changing the actuarial factors used to determine optional forms of benefit, relevant factors include whether the actuarial factors used for determining optional forms of benefit available under the plan considered in the aggregate are burdensome or complex (e.g., the number of different retirement-type subsidies and other actuarial factors available under the plan, whether the terms and conditions applicable to the plan's retirement-type subsidies are difficult to summarize in a manner that is concise and readily understandable to the average plan participant, whether the plan is eliminating one or more generalized optional forms, whether the plan is replacing a complex optional form of benefit that contains a retirement-type subsidy with a simpler form, and whether the different retirement-type subsidies and other actuarial factors were added to the plan as a result of a plan merger, transfer, or consolidation), and whether the effect of the plan amendment is to reduce the number of categories of retirement-type subsidies or other actuarial factors.

(D)Example. The following example illustrates the application of this paragraph (e)(2)(i):

Example.
(i)Facts. Plan A is a defined benefit plan under which employees may select a distribution in the form of a straight life annuity, a straight life annuity with cost-of-living increases, a 50% qualified joint and survivor annuity with a pop-up provision, or a 10-year term certain and life annuity. On January 15, 2007, Plan A is amended, effective June 1, 2007, to eliminate the 50% qualified joint and survivor annuity with a pop-up provision as described in paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B)(1) of this section and replace it with a 50% qualified joint and survivor annuity without the pop-up provision (and using the same actuarial factor).

(ii)Conclusion. Plan A satisfies the requirements of paragraph (e)(2)(i)(B) of this section because, based on the relevant facts and circumstances (e.g., the amendment replaces a complex optional form of benefit with a simpler form), the amendment eliminates section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens and complexities. Accordingly, the plan amendment is permitted to eliminate the pop-up provision, provided that the plan amendment satisfies all the other applicable requirements in paragraph (c) or (d) of this section. For example, the plan amendment must not eliminate the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy (as defined in paragraph (g)(5)(iii) of this section) and the plan amendment must not adversely affect the rights of any participant in a more than de minimis manner, taking into account the actuarial factors for the joint and survivor annuity with the pop-up provision and the joint and survivor annuity without the pop-up provision, as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(ii)Presumptions for certain amendments -

(A)Presumption for amendments eliminating certain annuity starting dates. If the annuity starting dates under the plan considered in the aggregate are burdensome or complex, then elimination of any one of the annuity starting dates is presumed to eliminate section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens or complexities for the plan and its participants. However, if the effect of a plan amendment with respect to a set of optional forms of benefit is merely to substitute one set of annuity starting dates for another set of annuity starting dates, without any reduction in the number of different annuity starting dates, then the plan amendment does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (e)(2).

(B)Presumption for amendments changing certain actuarial factors. If the actuarial factors used for determining benefit distributions available under a generalized optional form considered in the aggregate are burdensome or complex, then replacing some of the actuarial factors for the generalized optional form is presumed to eliminate section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits that create significant burdens or complexities for the plan and its participants. However, if the effect is merely to substitute one set of actuarial factors for another set of actuarial factors, without any reduction in the number of different actuarial factors or the complexity of those factors, then the plan amendment does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (e)(2) unless the change of actuarial factors is merely to replace one or more of the plan's actuarial factors for determining optional forms of benefit with new actuarial factors that are more accurate (e.g., reflecting more recent mortality experience or more recent market rates of interest).

(iii)Restrictions against creating burdens or complexities. See paragraphs (a)(2)(iii) and (b)(1)(iii) of this section for general rules applicable to multiple amendments. In accordance with these rules, a plan amendment does not eliminate a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit that creates burdens and complexities for a plan and its participants if, less than 3 years earlier, a plan was previously amended to add another retirement-type subsidy in order to facilitate the elimination of the original retirement-type subsidy, even if the elimination of the other subsidy would not adversely affect the rights of any plan participant in a more than de minimis manner as provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(3)Elimination of early retirement benefits or retirement-type subsidies that are de minimis -

(i)Rules for retained optional forms of benefit under paragraph (c) of this section. For purposes of paragraph (c) of this section, the elimination of an optional form of benefit does not adversely affect the rights of any participant in a more than de minimis manner if -

(A) The retained optional form of benefit described in paragraph (c) of this section has substantially the same annuity commencement date as the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated, as described in paragraph (e)(4) of this section; and

(B) Either the actuarial present value of the benefit payable in the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not exceed the actuarial present value of the benefit payable in the retained optional form of benefit by more than a de minimis amount, as described in paragraph (e)(5) of this section, or the amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (e)(6) of this section relating to a delayed effective date.

(ii)Rules for core options under paragraph (d) of this section. For purposes of paragraph (d) of this section, the elimination of an optional form of benefit does not adversely affect the rights of any participant in a more than de minimis manner if, with respect to each of the core options -

(A) The core option is available after the amendment with substantially the same annuity commencement date as the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated, as described in paragraph (e)(4) of this section; and

(B) Either the actuarial present value of the benefit payable in the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not exceed the actuarial present value of the benefit payable under the core option by more than a de minimis amount, as described in paragraph (e)(5) of this section, or the amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (e)(6) of this section.

(4)Definition of substantially the same annuity starting dates. For purposes of applying paragraphs (e)(3)(i)(A) and (ii)(A) of this section, annuity starting dates are considered substantially the same if they are within 6 months of each other.

(5)Definition of de minimis difference in actuarial present value. For purposes of applying paragraph (e)(3)(i)(B) and (ii)(B) of this section, a difference in actuarial present value between the optional form of benefit being eliminated and the retained optional form of benefit or core option is not more than a de minimis amount if, as of the date the amendment is adopted, the difference between the actuarial present value of the eliminated optional form of benefit and the actuarial present value of the retained optional form of benefit or core option is not more than the greater of -

(i) 2% of the present value of the retirement-type subsidy (if any) under the eliminated optional form of benefit prior to the amendment; or

(ii) 1% of the greater of the participant's compensation (as defined in section 415(c)(3)) for the prior plan year or the participant's average compensation for his or her high 3 years (within the meaning of section 415(b)(1)(B) and (b)(3)).

(6)Delayed effective date -

(i)General rule. For purposes of applying paragraph (e)(3)(i)(B) and (ii)(B) of this section, an amendment that eliminates an optional form of benefit satisfies the requirements of this paragraph (e)(6) if the elimination of the optional form of benefit is not applicable to any annuity commencement date before the end of the expected transition period for that optional form of benefit.

(ii)Determination of expected transition period -

(A)General rule. The expected transition period for a plan amendment eliminating an optional form of benefit is the period that begins when the amendment is adopted and ends when it is reasonable to expect, with respect to a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit (i.e., not taking into account benefits that accrue in the future), that the form being eliminated would be subsumed by another optional form of benefit after taking into account expected future benefit accruals.

(B)Determination of expected transition period using conservative actuarial assumptions. The expected transition period for a plan amendment eliminating an optional form of benefit must be determined in accordance with actuarial assumptions that are reasonable at the time of the amendment and that are conservative (i.e., reasonable actuarial assumptions that are likely to result in the longest period of time until the eliminated optional form of benefit would be subsumed). For this purpose, actuarial assumptions are not treated as conservative unless they include assumptions that a participant's compensation will not increase and that future benefit accruals will not exceed accruals in recent periods.

(C)Effect of subsequent amendments reducing future benefit accruals on the expected transition period. If, during the expected transition period for a plan amendment eliminating an optional form of benefit, the plan is subsequently amended to reduce the rate of future benefit accrual (or otherwise to lengthen the expected transition period), thus that subsequent plan amendment must provide that the elimination of the optional form of benefit is void or must provide for the effective date for elimination of the optional form of benefit to be further extended to a new expected transition period that satisfies this paragraph (e)(6) taking into account the subsequent amendment.

(iii)Applicability of the delayed effective date rule limited to employees who continue to accrue benefits through the end of expected transition period. An amendment eliminating an optional form of benefit under this paragraph (e)(6) must be limited to participants who continue to accrue benefits under the plan through the end of the expected transition period. Thus, for example, the plan amendment may not apply to any participant who has a severance from employment during the expected transition period.

(iv)Special rule for section 204(h) notice. See § 54.4980F-1(b), Q&A-8(c) of this chapter for a special rule relating to this paragraph (e)(6).

(f)Utilization test -

(1)General rule. A plan is permitted to be amended to eliminate all of the optional forms of benefit that comprise a generalized optional form (as defined in paragraph (g)(8) of this section) for a participant with respect to benefits accrued before the applicable amendment date if -

(i) None of the optional forms of benefit being eliminated is a core option, within the meaning of paragraph (g)(5) of this section;

(ii) The plan amendment is not applicable with respect to an optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that is earlier than the number of days in the maximum Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity explanation period (as defined in paragraph (g)(9) of this section) after the date the amendment is adopted;

(iii) During the look-back period -

(A) The generalized optional form has been available to at least the applicable number of participants who are taken into account under paragraph (f)(3) and (4) of this section; and

(B) No participant has elected any optional form of benefit that is part of the generalized optional form with an annuity commencement date that is within the look-back period.

(2)Look-back period -

(i)In general. For purposes of this paragraph (f), the look-back period is the period that includes -

(A) The portion of the plan year in which such plan amendment is adopted that precedes the date of adoption (the pre-adoption period); and

(B) The 2 plan years immediately preceding the pre-adoption period.

(ii)Special look-back period rules -

(A)12-month plan year. In the look-back period, at least 1 of the plan years must be a 12-month plan year.

(B)Permitted 3-month exclusion in the pre-adoption period. A plan is permitted to exclude from the look-back period the calendar month in which the amendment is adopted and the preceding 1 or 2 calendar months to the extent those preceding months are contained within the pre-adoption period.

(C)Permission to extend the look-back period. In order to have a look-back period that satisfies the minimum applicable number of participants requirement in paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(A) of this section, the look-back period described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B) of this section is permitted to be expanded, so as to include the 3, 4, or 5 plan years immediately preceding the plan year in which the amendment is adopted. Thus, in determining the look-back period, a plan is permitted to substitute the 3, 4, or 5 plan years immediately preceding the pre-adoption period for the 2 plan years described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(B) of this section. However, if a plan does not satisfy the minimum applicable number of participants requirement of paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(A) of this section using the pre-adoption period and the immediately preceding 5 plan years, the plan is not permitted to be amended in accordance with the utilization test in this paragraph (f).

(3)Participants taken into account. A participant is taken into account for purposes of this paragraph (f) only if the participant was eligible to elect to commence payment of an optional form of benefit that is part of the generalized optional form being eliminated with an annuity commencement date that is within the look-back period. However, a participant is not taken into account if the participant -

(i) Did not elect any optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that was within the look-back period;

(ii) Elected an optional form of benefit that included a single-sum distribution that applied with respect to at least 25% of the participant's accrued benefit;

(iii) Elected an optional form of benefit that was only available during a limited period of time and that contained a retirement-type subsidy where the subsidy that is part of the generalized optional form being eliminated was not extended to any optional form of benefit with the same annuity commencement date; or

(iv) Elected an optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that was more than 10 years before normal retirement age.

(4)Determining the applicable number of participants. For purposes of applying the rules in this paragraph (f), the applicable number of participants is 50 participants. However, notwithstanding paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section, a plan is permitted to take into account any participant who elected an optional form of benefit that included a single-sum distribution that applied with respect to at least 25% of the participant's accrued benefit, but only if the applicable number of participants is increased to 1,000 participants.

(5)Default elections. For purposes of this paragraph (f), an election includes the payment of an optional form of benefit that applies in the absence of an affirmative election.

(g)Definitions and use of terms. The definitions in this paragraph (g) apply for purposes of this section.

(1)Actuarial present value. The term actuarial present value means actuarial present value (within the meaning of § 1.401(a)(4)-12) determined using reasonable actuarial assumptions.

(2)Ancillary benefit. The term ancillary benefit means -

(i) A social security supplement under a defined benefit plan (other than a QSUPP as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-12);

(ii) A benefit payable under a defined benefit plan in the event of disability (to the extent that the benefit exceeds the benefit otherwise payable), but only if the total benefit payable in the event of disability does not exceed the maximum qualified disability benefit, as defined in section 411(a)(9);

(iii) A life insurance benefit;

(iv) A medical benefit described in section 401(h);

(v) A death benefit under a defined benefit plan other than a death benefit which is a part of an optional form of benefit; or

(vi) A plant shutdown benefit or other similar benefit in a defined benefit plan that does not continue past retirement age and does not affect the payment of the accrued benefit, but only to the extent that such plant shutdown benefit, or other similar benefit (if any), is permitted in a qualified pension plan (see § 1.401-1(b)(1)(i)).

(3)Annuity commencement date. The term annuity commencement date generally means the annuity starting date, except that, in the case of a retroactive annuity starting date under section 417(a)(7), annuity commencement date means the date of the first payment of benefits pursuant to a participant election of a retroactive annuity starting date, as defined in § 1.417(e)-1(b)(3)(iv).

(4)Applicable amendment date. The term applicable amendment date, with respect to a plan amendment, means the later of the effective date of the amendment or the date the amendment is adopted.

(5)Core options -

(i)General rule. With respect to a plan, the term core options means -

(A) A straight life annuity generalized optional form under which the participant is entitled to a level life annuity with no benefit payable after the participant's death;

(B) A 75% joint and contingent annuity generalized optional form under which the participant is entitled to a life annuity with a survivor annuity for any individual designated by the participant (including a non-spousal contingent annuitant) that is 75% of the amount payable during the participant's life (but see paragraph (d)(2)(v) of this section for a special rule relating to the joint and contingent annuity core option);

(C) A 10-year term certain and life annuity generalized optional form under which the participant is entitled to a life annuity with a guarantee that payments will continue to any person designated by the participant for the remainder of a fixed period of 10 years if the participant dies before the end of the 10-year period; and

(D) The most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy (as defined in paragraph (g)(5)(iii) of this section).

(ii)Modification of core options to satisfy other requirements. An annuity does not fail to be a core option (e.g., a joint and contingent annuity described in paragraph (g)(5)(i)(B) of this section or a 10-year term certain and life annuity described in paragraph (g)(5)(i)(C) of this section) as a result of differences to comply with applicable law, such as limitations on death benefits to comply with the incidental benefit requirement of § 1.401-1(b)(1)(i) or on account of the spousal consent rules of section 417.

(iii)Most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy -

(A)General definition. Except as provided in paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B) of this section, most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy means, for an annuity starting date, the optional form of benefit that is reasonably expected to result in payments that have the largest actuarial present value in the case of a participant who dies shortly after the annuity starting date, taking into account both payments due to the participant prior to the participant's death and any payments due after the participant's death. For this purpose, a plan is permitted to assume that the spouse of the participant is the same age as the participant. In addition, a plan is permitted to assume that the optional form of benefit that is the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy when the participant is age 70 1/2 also is the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy at all older ages, and that the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy at age 55 is the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy at all younger ages.

(B)Safe harbor hierarchy -

(1) A plan is permitted to treat a single-sum distribution option with an actuarial present value that is not less than the actuarial present value of any optional form of benefit eliminated by the plan amendment as the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy for all of a participant's annuity starting dates if such single-sum distribution option is available at all such dates, without regard to whether the option was available before the plan amendment.

(2) If the plan before the amendment does not offer a single-sum distribution option as described in paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(1) of this section, a plan is permitted to treat a joint and contingent annuity with a continuation percentage that is at least 75% and that is at least as great as the highest continuation percentage available before the amendment as the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy for all of a participant's annuity starting dates if such joint and contingent annuity is available at all such dates, without regard to whether the option was available before the plan amendment.

(3) If the plan before the amendment offers neither a single-sum distribution option as described in paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(1) of this section nor a joint and contingent annuity with a continuation percentage as described in paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(2) of this section, a plan is permitted to treat a term certain and life annuity with a term certain period no less than 15 years as the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy for each annuity starting date if such 15-year term certain and life annuity is available at all annuity starting dates, without regard to whether the option was available before the plan amendment.

(6)Definitions of types of section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefits -

(i)Early retirement benefit. The term early retirement benefit means the right, under the terms of a plan, to commence distribution of a retirement-type benefit at a particular date after severance from employment with the employer and before normal retirement age. Different early retirement benefits result from differences in terms relating to timing.

(ii)Optional form of benefit -

(A)In general. The term optional form of benefit means a distribution alternative (including the normal form of benefit) that is available under the plan with respect to an accrued benefit or a distribution alternative with respect to a retirement-type benefit. Different optional forms of benefit exist if a distribution alternative is not payable on substantially the same terms as another distribution alternative. The relevant terms include all terms affecting the value of the optional form, such as the method of benefit calculation and the actuarial factors or assumptions used to determine the amount distributed. Thus, for example, different optional forms of benefit may result from differences in terms relating to the payment schedule, timing, commencement, medium of distribution (e.g., in cash or in kind), election rights, differences in eligibility requirements, or the portion of the benefit to which the distribution alternative applies. Likewise, differences in the normal retirement ages of employees or in the form in which the accrued benefit of employees is payable at normal retirement age under a plan are taken into account in determining whether a distribution alternative constitutes one or more optional forms of benefit.

(B)Death benefits. If a death benefit is payable after the annuity starting date for a specific optional form of benefit and the same death benefit would not be provided if another optional form of benefit were elected by a participant, then that death benefit is part of the specific optional form of benefit and is thus protected under section 411(d)(6). A death benefit is not treated as part of a specific optional form of benefit merely because the same benefit is not provided to a participant who has received his or her entire accrued benefit prior to death. For example, a $5,000 death benefit that is payable to all participants except any participant who has received his or her accrued benefit in a single-sum distribution is not part of a specific optional form of benefit.

(iii)Retirement-type benefit. The term retirement-type benefit means -

(A) The payment of a distribution alternative with respect to an accrued benefit; or

(B) The payment of any other benefit under a defined benefit plan (including a QSUPP as defined in § 1.401(a)(4)-12) that is permitted to be in a qualified pension plan, continues after retirement, and is not an ancillary benefit.

(iv)Retirement-type subsidy. The term retirement-type subsidy means the excess, if any, of the actuarial present value of a retirement-type benefit over the actuarial present value of the accrued benefit commencing at normal retirement age or at actual commencement date, if later, with both such actuarial present values determined as of the date the retirement-type benefit commences. Examples of retirement-type subsidies include a subsidized early retirement benefit and a subsidized qualified joint and survivor annuity.

(v)Subsidized early retirement benefit or early retirement subsidy. The termssubsidized early retirement benefit or early retirement subsidy mean the right, under the terms of a plan, to commence distribution of a retirement-type benefit at a particular date after severance from employment with the employer and before normal retirement age where the actuarial present value of the optional forms of benefit available to the participant under the plan at that annuity starting date exceeds the actuarial present value of the accrued benefit commencing at normal retirement age (with such actuarial present values determined as of the annuity starting date). Thus, an early retirement subsidy is an early retirement benefit that provides a retirement-type subsidy.

(7)Eliminate; elimination; reduce; reduction. The termseliminate or elimination when used in connection with a section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit mean to eliminate or the elimination of an optional form of benefit or an early retirement benefit and to reduce or a reduction in a retirement-type subsidy. The termsreduce or reduction when used in connection with a retirement-type subsidy mean to reduce or a reduction in the amount of the subsidy. For purposes of this section, an elimination includes a reduction and a reduction includes an elimination.

(8)Generalized optional form. The term generalized optional form means a group of optional forms of benefit that are identical except for differences due to the actuarial factors that are used to determine the amount of the distributions under those optional forms of benefit and the annuity starting dates.

(9)Maximum QJSA explanation period. The term maximum QJSA explanation period means the maximum number of days before an annuity starting date for a qualified joint and survivor annuity for which a written explanation relating to the qualified joint and survivor annuity would satisfy the timing requirements of section 417(a)(3) and § 1.417(e)-1(b)(3)(ii).

(10)Other right and feature. The term other right or feature has the meaning set forth at § 1.401(a)(4)-4(e)(3)(ii).

(11)Refund of employee contributions feature. The term refund of employee contributions features means a feature with respect to an optional form of benefit that provides for employee contributions and interest thereon to be paid in a single sum at the annuity starting date with the remainder to be paid in another form beginning on that date.

(12)Retirement; retirement age. For purposes of this section, the date of retirement means the annuity starting date. Thus, retirement age means a participant's age at the annuity starting date.

(13)Retroactive annuity starting date feature. The term retroactive annuity starting date feature means a feature with respect to an optional form of benefit under which the annuity starting date for the distribution occurs on or before the date the written explanation required by section 417(a)(3) is provided to the participant.

(14)Section 411(d)(6) protected benefit. The term section 411(d)(6) protected benefit means the accrued benefit of a participant as of the applicable amendment date described in section 411(d)(6)(A) and any section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit.

(15)Section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit. The term section 411(d)(6)(B) protected benefit means the portion of an early retirement benefit, a retirement-type subsidy, or an optional form of benefit attributable to benefits accrued before the applicable amendment date.

(16)Social security leveling feature. The term social security leveling feature means a feature with respect to an optional form of benefit commencing prior to a participant's expected commencement of social security benefits that provides for a temporary period of higher payments which is designed to result in an approximately level amount of income when the participant's estimated old age benefits from Social Security are taken into account.

(h)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of paragraphs (c) through (g) of this section:

Example 1.
(i)Facts involving elimination of optional forms of benefit as redundant. Plan C is a defined benefit plan under which employees may elect to commence distributions at any time after the later of termination of employment or attainment of age 55. At each potential annuity commencement date, Plan C permits employees to select, with spousal consent where required, a straight life annuity or any of a number of actuarially equivalent alternative forms of payment, including a straight life annuity with cost-of-living increases and a joint and contingent annuity with the participant having the right to select any beneficiary and any continuation percentage from 1% to 100%, subject to modification to the extent necessary to satisfy the requirements of the incidental benefit requirement of § 1.401-1(b)(1)(i). The amount of any alternative payment is determined as the actuarial equivalent of the straight life annuity payable at the same age using reasonable actuarial assumptions. On June 2, 2006, Plan C is amended to delete all continuation percentages for joint and contingent options other than 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%, effective with respect to annuity commencement dates that are on or after January 1, 2007.

(ii)Conclusion -

(A)Categorization of family members under the redundancy rule. The optional forms of benefit described in paragraph (i) of this Example 1 are members of 4 families: a straight life annuity; a straight life annuity with cost-of-living increases; joint and contingent options with continuation percentages of less than 50%; and joint and contingent options with continuation percentages of 50% or more. The amendment does not affect either of the first 2 families, but affects the 2 families relating to joint and contingent options.

(B)Conclusion for elimination of optional forms of benefit as redundant. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section. First, the eliminated optional forms of benefit are redundant with respect to the retained optional forms of benefit because each eliminated joint and contingent annuity option with a continuation percentage of less than 50% is redundant with respect to the 25% continuation option and each eliminated joint and contingent annuity option with a continuation percentage of 50% or higher is redundant with respect to any one of the retained 50%, 75%, or 100% continuation options. In addition, to the extent that the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a social security leveling feature, return of employee contribution feature, or retroactive annuity starting date feature, the retained optional form of benefit does not include that feature. Second, the amendment is not effective with respect to annuity commencement dates before September 1, 2006, as required under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. Third, the plan amendment does not eliminate any available core option, including the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy, treating a joint and contingent annuity with a 100% continuation percentage as this optional form of benefit pursuant to paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(2) of this section. Finally, the amendment need not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section because the retained optional forms of benefit are available on the same annuity commencement dates and have the same actuarial present value as the optional forms of benefit that are being eliminated.

Example 2.
(i)Facts involving elimination of optional forms of benefit as redundant if additional restrictions are imposed. The facts are the same as Example 1, except that the plan amendment also restricts the class of beneficiaries that may be elected under the 4 retained joint and contingent annuities to the employee's spouse.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment fails to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B) of this section because the retained joint and contingent annuities have materially greater restrictions on the beneficiary designation than did the eliminated joint and contingent annuities. Thus, the joint and contingent annuities being eliminated are not redundant with respect to the retained joint and contingent annuities. In addition, the amendment fails to satisfy the requirements of the core option rules in paragraph (d) of this section because the amendment fails to be limited to annuity commencement dates that are at least 4 years after the date the amendment is adopted, the amendment fails to include the core option in paragraph (g)(5)(i)(B) of this section because the participant does not have the right to designate any beneficiary, and the amendment fails to include the core option described in paragraph (g)(5)(i)(C) of this section because the plan does not provide a 10-year term certain and life annuity.

Example 3.
(i)Facts involving elimination of a social security leveling feature and a period certain annuity as redundant. Plan D is a defined benefit plan under which participants may elect to commence distributions in the following actuarially equivalent forms, with spousal consent if applicable: a straight life annuity; a 50%, 75%, or 100% joint and contingent annuity; a 5-year, 10-year, or a 15-year term certain and life annuity; and an installment refund annuity (i.e., an optional form of benefit that provides a period certain, the duration of which is based on the participant's age), with the participant having the right to select any beneficiary. In addition, each annuity offered under the plan, if payable to a participant who is less than age 65, is available both with and without a social security leveling feature. The social security leveling feature provides for an assumed commencement of social security benefits at any age selected by the participant between age 62 and 65. Plan D is amended on June 2, 2006, effective as of January 1, 2007, to eliminate the installment refund form of benefit and to restrict the social security leveling feature to an assumed social security commencement age of 65.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section. First, the installment refund annuity option is redundant with respect to the 15-year certain and life annuity (except for advanced ages where, because of shorter life expectancies, the installment refund annuity option is redundant with respect to the 5-year certain and life annuity and also redundant with respect to the 10-year certain and life annuity). Second, with respect to restricting the social security leveling feature to an assumed social security commencement age of 65, under paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(C) of this section, straight life annuities with social security leveling features that have different social security commencement ages are treated as members of the same family as straight life annuities without social security leveling features. To the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated includes a social security leveling feature, the retained optional form of benefit must also include that feature, but it is permitted to have a different assumed age for commencement of social security benefits. Third, to the extent that the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a social security leveling feature, a return of employee contribution feature, or retroactive annuity starting date feature, the retained optional form of benefit must not include that feature. Fourth, the plan amendment does not eliminate any available core option, including the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy, treating a joint and contingent annuity with a 100% continuation percentage as this optional form of benefit pursuant to paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(2) of this section. Fifth, the amendment is not effective with respect to annuity commencement dates before September 1, 2006, as required under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. The amendment need not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section because the retained optional forms of benefit are available on the same annuity commencement dates and have the same actuarial present value as the optional forms of benefit that are being eliminated.

Example 4.
(i)Facts involving elimination of noncore options. Employer N sponsors Plan E, a defined benefit plan that permits every participant to elect payment in the following actuarially equivalent optional forms of benefit (Plan E's uniformly available options), with spousal consent if applicable: a straight life annuity; a 50%, 75%, or 100% joint and contingent annuity with no restrictions on designation of beneficiaries; and a 5-, 10-, or 15-year term certain and life annuity. In addition, each can be elected in conjunction with a social security leveling feature, with the participant permitted to select a social security commencement age from age 62 to age 67. None of Plan E's uniformly available options include a single-sum distribution. The plan has been in existence for over 30 years, during which time Employer N has acquired a large number of other businesses, including merging over 20 defined benefit plans of acquired entities into Plan E. Many of the merged plans offered optional forms of benefit that were not among Plan E's uniformly available options, including some plans funded through insurance products, often offering all of the insurance annuities that the insurance carrier offers, and with some of the merged plans offering single-sum distributions. In particular, under the XYZ acquisition that occurred in 1990, the XYZ acquired plan offered a single-sum distribution option that was frozen at the time of the acquisition. On April 1, 2006, each single-sum distribution option applies to less than 25% of the XYZ participants' accrued benefits. Employer N has generally, but not uniformly, followed the practice of limiting the optional forms of benefit for an acquired unit to an employee's service before the date of the merger, and has uniformly followed this practice with respect to each of the early retirement subsidies in the acquired unit's plan. As a result, as of April 1, 2007, Plan E includes a large number of generalized optional forms which are not members of families of optional forms of benefit identified in paragraph (c)(4) of this section, but there are no participants who are entitled to any early retirement subsidies because any subsidies have been subsumed by the actuarially reduced accrued benefit. Plan E is amended in April of 2007 to eliminate all of the optional forms of benefit that Plan E offers other than Plan E's uniformly available options, except that the amendment does not eliminate any single-sum distribution option except with respect to XYZ participants and permits any commencement date that was permitted under Plan E before the amendment. Plan E also eliminates the single-sum distribution option for XYZ participants. Further, each of Plan E's uniformly available options has an actuarial present value that is not less than the actuarial present value of any optional form of benefit offered before the amendment. The amendment is effective with respect to annuity commencement dates that are on or after May 1, 2011.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section. First, Plan E, as amended, does not eliminate any single-sum distribution option as provided in paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section except for single-sum distribution options that apply to less than 25% of a plan participant's accrued benefit as of the date the option is eliminated (May 1, 2011). Second, Plan E, as amended, includes each of the core options as defined in paragraph (g)(5) of this section, including offering the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy (treating the 100% joint and contingent annuity as this benefit, under paragraph (g)(5)(iii)(B)(2) of this section). The 100% joint and contingent annuity option (and not the grandfathered single-sum distribution option) is the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy because the grandfathered single-sum distribution option is not available with respect to a participant's entire accrued benefit. In addition, as required under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, to the extent an optional form of benefit that is being eliminated includes either a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, at least one of the core options is available with that feature and, to the extent that the optional form of benefit that is being eliminated does not include a social security leveling feature or a refund of employee contributions feature, each of the core options is available without that feature. Third, the amendment is not effective with respect to annuity commencement dates that are less than 4 years after the date the amendment is adopted. Finally, the amendment need not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section because the retained optional forms of benefit are available on the same annuity commencement date and have the same actuarial present value as the optional forms of benefit that are being eliminated. The conclusion that the amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section assumes that no amendments are made to change the core options before May 1, 2014.

Example 5.
(i)Facts involving reductions in actuarial present value.
(A) Plan F is a defined benefit plan providing an accrued benefit of 1% of the average of a participant's highest 3 consecutive years' pay times years of service, payable as a straight life annuity beginning at the normal retirement age at age 65. Plan F permits employees to elect to commence actuarially reduced distributions at any time after the later of termination of employment or attainment of age 55. At each potential annuity commencement date, Plan F permits employees to select, with spousal consent, either a straight life annuity, a joint and contingent annuity with the participant having the right to select any beneficiary and a continuation percentage of 50%, 66 2/3%, 75%, or 100%, or a 10-year certain and life annuity with the participant having the right to select any beneficiary, subject to modification to the extent necessary to satisfy the requirements of the incidental benefit requirement of § 1.401-1(b)(1)(i). The amount of any joint and contingent annuity and the 10-year certain and life annuity is determined as the actuarial equivalent of the straight life annuity payable at the same age using reasonable actuarial assumptions. The plan covers employees at 4 divisions, one of which, Division X, was acquired on January 1, 1999. The plan provides for distributions before normal retirement age to be actuarially reduced, but, if a participant retires after attainment of age 55 and completion of 10 years of service, the applicable early retirement reduction factor is 3% per year for the years between age 65 and 62 and 6% per year for the ages from 62 to 55 for all employees at any division, except for employees who were in Division X on January 1, 1999, for whom the early retirement reduction factor for retirement after age 55 and 10 years of service is 5% for each year before age 65. On June 2, 2006, effective January 1, 2007, Plan F is amended to change the early retirement reduction factors for all employees of Division X to be the same as for other employees, effective with respect to annuity commencement dates that are on or after January 1, 2008, but only with respect to participants who are employees on or after January 1, 2008 and only if Plan F continues accruals at the current rate through January 1, 2008 (or the effective date of the change in reduction factors is delayed to reflect the change in the accrual rate). For purposes of this Example 5, it is assumed that an actuarially equivalent early retirement factor would have a reduction shown in column 4 of the following table, which compares the reduction factors for Division X before and after the amendment:
Age
(1)
Old division X factor
(as a %)
(2)
New factor
(as a %)
(3)
Actuarially equivalent factor
(as a %)
(4)
Column 3 minus column 2
(5)
65 NA NA NA NA
64 95 97 91.1 2
63 90 94 83.2 4
62 85 91 76.1 5
61 80 85 69.8 5
60 75 79 64.1 4
59 70 73 59.0 3
58 65 67 54.3 2
57 60 61 50.1 1
56 55 55 46.3 0
55 50 49 42.8 -1
(B) On January 1, 2007, the employee with the largest number of years of service is Employee E, who is age 54 and has 20 years of service. For 2006, Employee E's compensation is $80,000 and E's highest 3 consecutive years of pay on January 1, 2007 is $75,000. Employee E's accrued benefit as of the January 1, 2007 effective date of the amendment is a life annuity of $15,000 per year at normal retirement age (1% times $75,000 times 20 years of service) and E's early retirement benefit commencing at age 55 has a present value of $91,397 as of January 1, 2007. It is assumed for purposes of this example that the longest expected transition period for any active employee does not exceed 5 months (20 years and 5 months, times 1% times 49% exceeds 20 years times 1% times 50%). Finally, it is assumed for purposes of this example that the amendment reduces optional forms of benefit which are burdensome or complex.

(ii)Conclusion concerning application of section 411(d)(6)(B). The amendment reducing the early retirement factors has the effect of eliminating the existing optional forms of benefit (where the amount of the benefit is based on preamendment early retirement factors in any case where the new factors result in a smaller amount payable) and adding new optional forms of benefit (where the amount of benefit is based on the different early retirement factors). Accordingly, the elimination must satisfy the requirements of paragraph (c) or (d) of this section if the amount payable at any date is less than would have been payable under the plan before the amendment.

(iii)Conclusion concerning application of redundancy rules. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section (see paragraphs (iv) through (vi) of this Example 5 below for the requirements of paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section). First, with respect to each eliminated optional form of benefit (i.e., with respect to each optional form of benefit with the Old Division X Factor), after the amendment there is a retained optional form of benefit that is in the same family of optional forms of benefit (i.e., the optional form of benefit with the New Factor). Second, the amendment is not effective with respect to annuity commencement dates that are less than the time period required under paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section. Third, to the extent that the plan amendment eliminates the most valuable option for a participant with a short life expectancy, the retained optional form of benefit is identical except for differences in actuarial factors.

(iv)Conclusion concerning application of the requirements under paragraph (e) of this section. The plan amendment must satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e) of this section because, as of the December 2, 2006 adoption date, the actuarial present value of the early retirement subsidy is less than the actuarial present value of the early retirement subsidy being eliminated. The plan amendment satisfies the requirements under paragraph (e)(1)(i) and (2) of this section because the amendment eliminates optional forms of benefit that create significant burdens or complexities for the plan and its participants. See below for the de minimis requirement under paragraph (e)(1)(ii) and (3) of this section.

(v)Conclusion concerning application of de minimis rules under paragraph (e)(5) of this section. In order to satisfy the requirements under paragraph (e)(1)(ii) and (3) of this section, the amendment must satisfy the requirements of either paragraph (e)(5) or paragraph (e)(6) of this section. The amendment does not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e)(5) of this section because the reduction in the actuarial present value is more than a de minimis amount under paragraph (e)(5) of this section. For example, for Employee E, the amount of the joint and contingent annuity payable at age 55 is reduced from $7,500 (50% of $15,000) to $7,350 (49% of $15,000) and the reduction in present value as a result of the amendment is $1,828 ($91,397 - $89,569). In this case, the retirement-type subsidy at age 55 is the excess of the present value of the 50% early retirement benefit over the present value of the deferred payment of the accrued benefit, or $13,921 ($97,269 - $83,348) and the present value at age 54 of the retirement-type subsidy is $13,081. The reduction in present value is more than the greater of 2% of the present value of the retirement-type subsidy and 1% of E's compensation because the reduction in present value exceeds $800 (the greater of $262, which is 2% of the present value of the retirement-type subsidy for the benefit being eliminated, and $800, which is 1% of E's compensation of $80,000).

(vi)Conclusion involving application of de minimis rules under paragraph (e)(6) of this section relating to expected transition period. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (e)(6) of this section and, thus, satisfies the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, including the requirement in paragraph (c)(1)(iii) of this section that paragraph (e) of this section be satisfied. First, as assumed under the facts above, the amendment reduces optional forms of benefit that are burdensome or complex. Second, the plan amendment is not effective for annuity commencement dates before January 1, 2008, and that date is not earlier than the longest expected transition period for any participant in Plan F on the date of the amendment. Third, the amendment does not apply to any participant who has a severance from employment during the transition period. If, however, a later plan amendment reduces accruals under Plan F, the initial plan amendment will no longer satisfy the requirements of paragraph (e)(6) of this section (and must be voided) unless, as part of the later amendment, the expected transition period is extended to reflect the reduction in accruals under Plan F.

Example 6.
(i)Facts involving elimination of noncore options using utilization test -
(A)In general. Plan G is a calendar year defined benefit plan under which participants may elect to commence distributions after termination of employment in the following actuarially equivalent forms, with spousal consent, if applicable: a straight life annuity; a 50%, 75%, or 100% joint and contingent annuity; or a 5-year, 10-year, or a 15-year term certain and life annuity. A participant is permitted to elect a single-sum distribution if the present value of the participant's nonforfeitable accrued benefit is not greater than $5,000. The annuities offered under the plan are generally available both with and without a social security leveling feature. The social security leveling feature provides for an assumed commencement of social security benefits at any age selected by the participant between the ages of 62 and 67. Under Plan G, the normal retirement age is defined as age 65.

(B)Utilization test. In 2007, the plan sponsor of Plan G, after reviewing participants' benefit elections, determines that, during the period from January 1, 2005, through June 30, 2007, no participant has elected a 5-year term certain and life annuity with a social security leveling option. During that period, Plan G has made the 5-year term certain and life annuity with a social security leveling option available to 142 participants who were at least age 55 and who elected optional forms of benefit with an annuity commencement dates during that period. In addition, during that period, 20 of the 142 participants elected a single-sum distribution and there was no retirement-type subsidy available for a limited period of time. Plan G, in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section, is amended on September 15, 2007, effective as of January 1, 2008, to eliminate all 5-year term certain and life annuities with a social security leveling option for all annuity commencement dates on or after January 1, 2008.

(ii)Conclusion. The amendment satisfies the requirements of paragraph (f) of this section. First, the 5-year term certain and life annuity with a social security leveling option is not a core option as defined in paragraph (g)(5) of this section. Second, the plan amendment is not applicable with respect to an optional form of benefit with an annuity commencement date that is earlier than the number of days in the maximum QJSA explanation period after the date the amendment is adopted. Third, the 5-year term certain and life annuity with a social security leveling option has been available to at least 50 participants who are taken into account for purposes of paragraph (f) of this section during the look-back period. Fourth, during the look-back period, no participant elected any optional form that is part of the generalized optional form being eliminated (for example, the 5-year term and life annuity with a social security leveling option).

(i) [Reserved]

(j)Effective dates -

(1)General effective date. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (j), the rules of this section apply to amendments adopted on or after August 12, 2005.

(2)Effective date for rules relating to contingent event benefits. Paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section applies to amendments adopted after December 31, 2005.

(3)Effective dates for rules relating to section 411(a) nonforfeitability provisions -

(i)Application of suspension of benefit rules to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits. With respect to a plan amendment that places greater restrictions or conditions on a participant's rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits by adding or modifying a plan provision relating to suspension of benefit payments during a period of employment or reemployment, the rules provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section apply to periods beginning on or after June 7, 2004.

(ii)Application of section 411(a) nonforfeitability provisions to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits. With respect to a plan amendment that places greater restrictions or conditions on a participant's rights to section 411(d)(6) protected benefits other than a plan amendment described in paragraph (j)(3)(i) of this section, the rules provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section apply to plan amendments adopted after August 9, 2006.

(4)Effective date for change to redundancy rule regarding bifurcation of benefits. The rules provided in paragraph (c)(6) of this section are applicable for amendments adopted after August 9, 2006.

(5)Effective date for rules relating to utilization test. The rules provided in paragraph (f) of this section are applicable for amendments adopted after December 31, 2006.

[T.D. 9219, 70 FR 47116, Aug. 12, 2005, as amended by T.D. 9280, 71 FR 45383, Aug. 9, 2006; 71 FR 55108, Sept. 21, 2006; T.D. 9472, 74 FR 61276, Nov. 24, 2009]

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