26 CFR § 1.415(j)-1 - Limitation year.

§ 1.415(j)-1 Limitation year.

(a)In general. Unless the terms of a plan provide otherwise, the limitation year, with respect to any qualified plan maintained by the employer, is the calendar year.

(b)Alternative limitation year election. The terms of a plan may provide for the use of any other consecutive twelve month period as the limitation year. This includes a fiscal year with an annual period varying from 52 to 53 weeks, so long as the fiscal year satisfies the requirements of section 441(f). A plan may only provide for one limitation year regardless of the number or identity of the employers maintaining the plan.

(c)Multiple limitation years -

(1)In general. Where an employer maintains more than one qualified plan, those plans may provide for different limitation years. The rule described in this paragraph (c) also applies to a controlled group of employers (within the meaning of section 414(b) or (c), as modified by section 415(h)). If the plans of an employer (or a controlled group of employers whose plans are aggregated) have different limitation years, section 415 is applied in accordance with the rule of paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section.

(2)Testing rule for defined contribution plans. If a participant is credited with annual additions in only one defined contribution plan, in determining whether the requirements of section 415(c) are satisfied, only the limitation year applicable to that plan is considered. However, if a participant is credited with annual additions in more than one defined contribution plan, each such plan satisfies the requirements of section 415(c) only if the limitations of section 415(c) are satisfied with respect to amounts that are annual additions for the limitation year with respect to the participant under the plan, plus amounts credited to the participant's account under all other plans required to be aggregated with the plan pursuant to section 415(f) and § 1.415(f)-1 that would have been considered annual additions for the limitation year under the plan if they had been credited under the plan rather than an aggregated plan.

(3)Testing rule for defined benefit plans. If a participant has participated in only one defined benefit plan, in determining whether the requirements of section 415(b) are satisfied, only the limitation year applicable to that plan is considered. However, if a participant has participated in more than one defined benefit plan, a plan satisfies the requirements of section 415(b) only if the annual benefit under all plans required to be aggregated pursuant to section 415(f) and § 1.415(f)-1 for the limitation year of that plan with respect to the participant satisfy the applicable limitations of section 415(b). Thus, for example, the dollar limitation of section 415(b)(1)(A) applicable to the limitation year for each plan must be applied to annual benefits under all aggregated plans to determine whether the plan satisfies the requirements of section 415(b).

(d)Change of limitation year -

(1)In general. Once established, the limitation year may be changed only by amending the plan. Any change in the limitation year must be a change to a 12-month period commencing with any day within the current limitation year. For purposes of this section, the limitations of section 415 are to be applied in the normal manner to the new limitation year.

(2)Application to short limitation period. Where there is a change of limitation year, the limitations of section 415 are to be separately applied to a limitation period which begins with the first day of the current limitation year and which ends on the day before the first day of the first limitation year for which the change is effective. In the case of a defined contribution plan, the dollar limitation with respect to this limitation period is determined by multiplying the applicable dollar limitation for the calendar year in which the limitation period ends by a fraction, the numerator of which is the number of months (including any fractional parts of a month) in the limitation period, and the denominator of which is 12. In the case of a defined benefit plan, no adjustment is made to the section 415(b) limitations to reflect a short limitation period.

(3)Deemed change of limitation year. If a defined contribution plan is terminated effective as of a date other than the last day of the plan's limitation year, the plan is treated for purposes of this section as if the plan was amended to change its limitation year. Thus, the rules of this paragraph (d) apply to the terminating plan's final limitation year.

(e)Limitation year for individuals on whose behalf section 403(b) annuity contracts have been purchased. The limitation year of an individual on whose behalf a section 403(b) annuity contract has been purchased by an employer is determined in the following manner.

(1) If the individual is not in control of any employer (within the meaning of § 1.415(f)-1(f)(2)(ii)), the limitation year is the calendar year. However, the individual may elect to change the limitation year to another twelve-month period. To do this, the individual must attach a statement to his or her income tax return filed for the taxable year in which the change is made. Any change in the limitation year must comply with the rules set forth in paragraph (d) of this section.

(2) If the individual is in control of an employer (within the meaning of § 1.415(f)-1(f)(2)(ii)), the limitation year is the limitation year of that employer.

(f)Limitation year for individuals on whose behalf individual retirement plans are maintained. The limitation year of an individual on whose behalf an individual retirement plan (within the meaning of section 7701(a)(37)) is maintained is determined in the manner described in paragraph (e) of this section.

(g)Examples. The following examples illustrate the application of this section:

Example 1.
(i) Participant M is employed by both Employer A and Employer B, each of which maintains a qualified defined contribution plan. M participates in both of these plans. The limitation year for Employer A's plan is January 1 through December 31, and the limitation year for Employer B's plan is April 1 through March 31. Employer A and Employer B are both corporations, and Corporation X owns 100 percent of the stock of Employer A and Employer B.

(ii) The two plans in which M participates are required under section 415(f) to be aggregated for purposes of applying the limitations of section 415(c) to annual additions made with respect to M. Thus, for example, for the limitation year of Employer A's plan that begins January 1, 2008, annual additions with respect to M that are subject to the limitations of section 415(c) include both amounts that are annual additions with respect to M under Employer A's plan for the period beginning January 1, 2008, and ending December 31, 2008, and amounts contributed to Employer B's plan with respect to M that would have been considered annual additions for the period beginning January 1, 2008, and ending December 31, 2008, under Employer A's plan if those amounts had instead been contributed to Employer A's plan.

Example 2.
In 2008, an employer with a qualified defined contribution plan using the calendar year as the limitation year elects to change the limitation year to a period beginning July 1 and ending June 30. Because of this change, the plan must satisfy the limitations of section 415(c) for the limitation period beginning January 1, 2008, and ending June 30, 2008. In applying the limitations of section 415(c) to this limitation period, the amount of compensation taken into account may only include compensation for this period. Furthermore, the dollar limitation for this period is the otherwise applicable dollar limitation for calendar year 2008, multiplied by 6/12.
[T.D. 9319, 72 FR 16928, Apr. 5, 2007]