26 CFR 1.432(e)(9)-1 - Benefit suspensions for multiemployer plans in critical and declining status.

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§ 1.432(e)(9)-1 Benefit suspensions for multiemployer plans in critical and declining status.

(a)General rules on suspension of benefits -

(1)General rule. Subject to section 432(e)(9)(B) through (I) and this section, the plan sponsor of a multiemployer plan that is in critical and declining status (within the meaning of section 432(b)(6)) for a plan year may, by plan amendment adopted in the plan year, implement a suspension of benefits that the plan sponsor deems appropriate. Such an amendment is permitted notwithstanding the anti-cutback provisions of section 411(d)(6). As amended, the terms of the plan must satisfy the requirements of section 401(a).

(2)Adoption of plan terms inconsistent with suspension requirements -

(i)General rule. A plan may implement (or continue to implement) a reduction of benefits pursuant to a suspension of benefits only if the terms of the plan are consistent with the requirements of section 432(e)(9) and this section.

(ii)Changes in level of suspension -

(A)Phased-in suspension. A plan's terms are consistent with the requirements of section 432(e)(9) even if the plan provides that, instead of a suspension of benefits occurring in full on a specified effective date, the amount of a suspension will phase in or otherwise change in a definite, pre-determined manner as of a specified future effective date or dates.

(B)Level of suspension contingent on future events. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (a)(2)(ii), a plan's terms are inconsistent with the requirements of section 432(e)(9) if they provide that the amount of a suspension will change contingent upon the occurrence of any other specified future event, condition, or development. For example, a plan is not permitted to provide that an additional or larger suspension of benefits is triggered if the plan's funded status deteriorates. Similarly, a plan is not permitted to provide that a suspension of benefits is decreased if the plan's funded status improves (except upon a failure to satisfy the annual plan sponsor determinations requirement of paragraph (c)(4) of this section).

(C)Level of suspension contingent on future status of individual. A plan's terms are not inconsistent with the requirements of section 432(e)(9) merely because they provide that, for a participant who has not commenced benefits before the effective date of the suspension, the amount of the suspension will change upon the occurrence of a specified future event, condition or development (such as retirement, death, or disability) with respect to the participant.

(3)Organization of the regulation. This paragraph (a) contains definitions and general rules relating to a suspension of benefits by a multiemployer plan under section 432(e)(9). Paragraph (b) of this section defines a suspension of benefits and describes the length of a suspension, the treatment of beneficiaries and alternate payees under this section, and the requirement to select a retiree representative. Paragraph (c) of this section prescribes certain rules for the actuarial certification and plan sponsor determinations that must be made in order for a plan to suspend benefits. Paragraph (d) of this section describes certain limitations on suspensions of benefits. Paragraph (e) of this section prescribes rules relating to benefit improvements. Paragraph (f) of this section describes the requirement to provide notice in connection with an application to suspend benefits. Paragraph (g) of this section describes certain requirements with respect to the approval or denial of an application for a suspension of benefits. Paragraph (h) of this section contains certain rules relating to the vote on an approved suspension, systemically important plans, and the issuance of a final authorization to suspend benefits. Paragraph (j) of this section provides the effective/applicability date of this section.

(4)Definitions. The following definitions apply for purposes of this section -

(i)Pay status. A person is in pay status under a multiemployer plan if, as described in section 432(j)(6), at any time during the current plan year, the person is a participant, beneficiary, or alternate payee under the plan and is paid an early, late, normal, or disability retirement benefit under the plan (or a death benefit under the plan related to a retirement benefit).

(ii)Plan sponsor. The term plan sponsor means the association, committee, joint board of trustees, or other similar group of representatives of the parties that establishes or maintains the multiemployer plan. However, in the case of a plan described in section 404(c), or a continuation of such a plan, the term plan sponsor means the association of employers that is the employer settlor of the plan.

(iii)Effective date of suspension of benefits -

(A)Individuals who are receiving benefits. In the case of a suspension affecting an individual who is receiving benefits when the suspension is implemented, the effective date of a suspension of benefits is the first date as of which any portion of the individual's benefits are not paid as a result of the suspension.

(B)Individuals who are not receiving benefits. In the case of a suspension affecting individuals other than individuals described in paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(A) of this section, the effective date of the suspension is the first date as of which the individual's entitlement to benefits is reduced as a result of the implementation of the suspension, regardless of whether the individual is eligible to commence benefits at that date.

(C)Phased-in suspension. If a suspension of benefits provides for more than one reduction in benefits over time, such that benefits are scheduled to be reduced by an additional amount after benefits are first reduced pursuant to the suspension, then each date as of which benefits are reduced is treated as a separate effective date of the suspension. However, if the effective date of the final scheduled reduction in benefits in a series of reductions pursuant to a suspension is less than three years later than the effective date of the first reduction, then the effective date of the first reduction will be treated as the effective date of all subsequent reductions pursuant to that suspension.

(D)Effective date may not be retroactive. The effective date of a suspension may not precede the date on which a final authorization to suspend benefits is issued pursuant to paragraph (h)(6) of this section.

(b)Definition of suspension of benefits and related rules -

(1)In general -

(i)Definition. For purposes of this section, the term suspension of benefits means the temporary or permanent reduction, pursuant to the terms of the plan, of any current or future payment obligation of the plan with respect to any plan participant. A suspension of benefits may apply with respect to a plan participant regardless of whether the participant, beneficiary, or alternate payee commenced receiving benefits before the effective date of the suspension of benefits.

(ii)Plan not liable for suspended benefits. If a plan pays a reduced level of benefits pursuant to a suspension of benefits that complies with the requirements of section 432(e)(9) and this section, then the plan is not liable for any benefits not paid as a result of the suspension.

(2)Length of suspension -

(i)In general. A suspension of benefits may be of indefinite duration or may expire as of a date that is specified in the plan amendment implementing the suspension.

(ii)Effect of a benefit improvement. A plan sponsor may amend the plan to eliminate some or all of a suspension of benefits, provided that the amendment satisfies the requirements that apply to a benefit improvement under section 432(e)(9)(E), in accordance with the rules of paragraph (e) of this section.

(3)Treatment of beneficiaries and alternate payees. Except as otherwise specified in this section, all references to suspensions of benefits, increases in benefits, or resumptions of suspended benefits with respect to participants also apply with respect to benefits of beneficiaries or alternate payees (as defined in section 414(p)(8)) of participants.

(4)Retiree representative -

(i)In general -

(A)Requirement to select retiree representative. The plan sponsor of a plan that intends to submit an application for a suspension of benefits and that has reported a total of 10,000 or more participants as of the end of the plan year for the most recently filed Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan, must select a retiree representative. The plan sponsor must select the retiree representative at least 60 days before the date the plan sponsor submits an application to suspend benefits. The retiree representative must be a plan participant who is in pay status. The retiree representative may or may not be a plan trustee.

(B)Role of retiree representative. The role of the retiree representative is to advocate for the interests of the retired and deferred vested participants and beneficiaries of the plan, beginning when the retiree representative is selected and continuing throughout the suspension approval process. In the discretion of the plan sponsor, the retiree representative may continue in this role throughout the period of the benefit suspension.

(ii)Reasonable expenses from plan. The plan must pay reasonable expenses incurred by the retiree representative, including reasonable expenses for legal and actuarial support and communication with retired and deferred vested participants and beneficiaries, commensurate with the plan's size and funded status.

(iii)Disclosure of information. Upon request, the plan sponsor must promptly provide the retiree representative with relevant information, such as plan documents and data, that is reasonably necessary to enable the retiree representative to perform the role described in paragraph (b)(4)(i)(B) of this section.

(iv)Special rules relating to fiduciary status. See section 432(e)(9)(B)(v)(III) for rules relating to the fiduciary status of a retiree representative.

(v)Retiree representative for other plans. The plan sponsor of a plan that has reported fewer than 10,000 participants as of the end of the plan year for the most recently filed Form 5500, Annual Return/Report of Employee Benefit Plan is permitted to select a retiree representative. The rules in this paragraph (b)(4) (other than the rules in the first two sentences of paragraph (b)(4)(i)(A) of this section concerning the size of the plan and the timing of the appointment of the retiree representative) apply to such a representative.

(c)Conditions for suspension -

(1)In general -

(i)Actuarial certification and initial plan sponsor determinations. The plan sponsor of a plan in critical and declining status for a plan year may suspend benefits only if the actuarial certification requirement in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and the initial plan sponsor determinations requirement in paragraph (c)(3) of this section are met.

(ii)Annual requirement to make plan sponsor determinations. As provided in paragraph (c)(5) of this section, the suspension will continue only if the plan sponsor continues to make the annual plan sponsor determinations described in paragraph (c)(4) of this section.

(2)Actuarial certification. A plan satisfies the actuarial certification requirement of this paragraph (c)(2) if, taking into account the proposed suspension of benefits (and, if applicable, a proposed partition of the plan under section 4233 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, Public Law 93-406 ( 88 Stat. 829 (1974)), as amended (ERISA)), the plan's actuary certifies that the plan is projected to avoid insolvency within the meaning of section 418E, assuming the suspension of benefits continues until it expires by its own terms or if no such expiration date is set, indefinitely.

(3)Initial plan sponsor determinations -

(i)General rule. A plan satisfies the initial plan sponsor determinations requirement of this paragraph (c)(3) only if the plan sponsor determines that -

(A) All reasonable measures to avoid insolvency, within the meaning of section 418E, have been taken; and

(B) The plan would not be projected to avoid insolvency (determined using the standards described in paragraphs (d)(5)(ii), (iv), and (v) of this section) if no suspension of benefits were applied under the plan.

(ii)Factors. In making its determination that all reasonable measures to avoid insolvency, within the meaning of section 418E, have been taken, the plan sponsor may take into account the following non-exclusive list of factors -

(A) Current and past contribution levels;

(B) Levels of benefit accruals (including any prior reductions in the rate of benefit accruals);

(C) Prior reductions (if any) of adjustable benefits;

(D) Prior suspensions (if any) of benefits under this section;

(E) The impact on plan solvency of the subsidies and ancillary benefits available to active participants;

(F) Compensation levels of active participants relative to employees in the participants' industry generally;

(G) Competitive and other economic factors facing contributing employers;

(H) The impact of benefit and contribution levels on retaining active participants and bargaining groups under the plan;

(I) The impact of past and anticipated contribution increases under the plan on employer attrition and retention levels; and

(J) Measures undertaken by the plan sponsor to retain or attract contributing employers.

(iii)Reliance on certification of critical and declining status. For purposes of the insolvency projection under paragraph (c)(3)(i)(B) of this section, a plan sponsor may rely on the actuarial certification made pursuant to section 432(b)(3)(A)(i) that the plan is in critical and declining status for the plan year in making the determination that the plan is projected to become insolvent unless benefits are suspended.

(4)Annual plan sponsor determinations -

(i)General rule. A plan satisfies the annual plan sponsor determinations requirement of this paragraph (c)(4) for a plan year only if the plan sponsor determines, no later than the last day of the plan year, that -

(A) All reasonable measures to avoid insolvency have been and continue to be taken; and

(B) The plan would not be projected to avoid insolvency (determined using the standards described in paragraphs (d)(5)(ii), (iv), and (v) of this section, substituting the current plan year for the plan year that includes the effective date of the suspension) if no suspension of benefits were applied under the plan.

(ii)Factors. In making its determination that all reasonable measures to avoid insolvency have been and continue to be taken, the plan sponsor may take into account the non-exclusive list of factors in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section.

(iii)Requirement to maintain written record. The plan sponsor must maintain a written record of the annual plan sponsor determinations made under this paragraph (c)(4). The written record must be included in an update to the rehabilitation plan, whether or not there is otherwise an update for that year (or, if the plan is no longer in critical status, must be included in the documents under which the plain is maintained). The written record of the determinations must describe the plan sponsor's consideration of factors, as described in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section.

(5)Failure to make annual plan sponsor determinations. If a plan sponsor fails to satisfy the annual plan sponsor determinations requirement of paragraph (c)(4) of this section for a plan year (including maintaining the written record described in paragraph (c)(4)(iii) of this section), then the suspension of benefits will cease to be in effect beginning as of the first day of the next plan year.

(d)Limitations on suspension -

(1)In general. Any suspension of benefits with respect to a participant made by a plan sponsor pursuant to this section is subject to the individual limitations of sections 432(e)(9)(D)(i) through (iii) and paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(4) of this section. After applying those provisions, the overall size and distribution of the suspension is subject to the aggregate limitations of sections 432(e)(9)(D)(iv) and (vi) and paragraphs (d)(5) and (d)(6) of this section. See section 432(e)(9)(D)(vii) and paragraph (d)(8) of this section for additional rules applicable to certain plans.

(2)Guarantee-based limitation -

(i)General rule. The reduction with respect to a participant under a suspension of benefits must be limited so that, on and after the effective date of the suspension, the monthly benefit is not less than the guarantee-based limitation. The guarantee-based limitation is 110 percent of the monthly benefit payable to a participant, beneficiary, or alternate payee that would be guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) under section 4022A of ERISA if the plan were to become insolvent as of the effective date of the suspension.

(ii)PBGC guarantee. Under section 4022A of ERISA, the monthly benefit of a participant or beneficiary that would be guaranteed by PBGC with respect to a plan if the plan were to become insolvent as of the effective date of the suspension is generally based on section 4022A(c)(1) of ERISA. Under that section, the monthly benefit that would be guaranteed if the plan were to become insolvent as of the date as of which the guarantee is determined is the product of -

(A) 100 percent of the accrual rate up to $11, plus 75 percent of the lesser of -

(1) $33; or

(2) The accrual rate, if any, in excess of $11; and

(B) The number of the participant's years and months of credited service as of that date.

(iii)Calculation of accrual rate. The accrual rate, as defined in section 4022A(c)(2) of ERISA, is calculated by dividing -

(A) The participant's or beneficiary's monthly benefit, described in section 4022A(c)(2)(A) of ERISA; by

(B) The participant's years of credited service, described in section 4022A(c)(3) of ERISA, as of the effective date of the suspension.

(iv)Special rule for non-vested participants. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(2), a participant's nonforfeitable benefits under section 4022A(a) of ERISA include benefits that are forfeitable as of the effective date of the suspension, provided that the participant would have a nonforfeitable right to those benefits if the participant continued to earn vesting service following that date.

(v)Examples. The following examples illustrate the limitation on a suspension of benefits under this paragraph (d)(2). Unless otherwise stated, the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC in these examples is based on section 4022A(c) of ERISA, and the rules under section 4022A(d) of ERISA (guarantee for benefits reduced under section 411(a)(3)(E)), section 4022A(e) of ERISA ( benefits ineligible for guarantee), and section 4022A(h) of ERISA (guarantee for benefits accrued as of July 30, 1980) do not apply. In these examples, unless otherwise stated, the monthly benefits are nonforfeitable, are based on benefits that have been in effect for at least 60 months as of the effective date of the suspension, and are no greater than the monthly benefit that would be payable at normal retirement age in the form of a single life annuity.

Example 1.
(i)Facts. A participant is receiving a benefit of $1,500 per month immediately prior to the effective date of the suspension. The participant has 30 years of credited service under the plan.

(ii)Calculation of accrual rate. The participant's accrual rate is $50, calculated by dividing the participant's monthly benefit payment ($1,500) by the participant's years of credited service (30).

(iii)Calculation of monthly PBGC-guaranteed benefit. The first $11 of the accrual rate is fully guaranteed, and the next $33 of the accrual rate is 75% guaranteed ($33 × .75 = $24.75). The participant's monthly guaranteed benefit per year of credited service is $35.75 ($11 $24.75 = $35.75). The PBGC guarantee formula is then applied to produce the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC, which is $1,072.50 ($35.75 × 30 years = $1,072.50).

(iv)Calculation of guarantee-based limitation. A suspension of benefits may not reduce the participant's benefits, determined on and after the effective date of the suspension, below the guarantee-based limitation, which is equal to 110% of the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC. That monthly amount is $1,179.75 ($1,072.50 × 1.1 = $1,179.75).

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the participant is deceased and, immediately prior to the effective date of the suspension, the participant's beneficiary is receiving a monthly benefit of $750 under a 50% joint and survivor annuity.

(ii)Calculation of accrual rate. The beneficiary's accrual rate is $25, calculated by dividing the beneficiary's monthly benefit payment ($750) by the participant's years of credited service (30).

(iii)Calculation of monthly PBGC-guaranteed benefit. The first $11 of the accrual rate is fully guaranteed, and the next $14 ($25−$11 = $14) of the accrual rate is 75% guaranteed ($14 × .75 = $10.50). The beneficiary's monthly guaranteed benefit is $21.50 per year of credited service ($11 $10.50 = $21.50). The PBGC guarantee formula is then applied to produce the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC, which is $645 ($21.50 × 30 years = $645).

(iv)Calculation of guarantee-based limitation. A suspension of benefits may not reduce the beneficiary's benefits, determined on and after the effective date of the suspension, below the guarantee-based limitation, which is equal to 110% of the monthly amount of guarantee payable by PBGC. That monthly guarantee-based limitation amount is $709.50 ($645 × 1.1 = $709.50).

Example 3.
(i)Facts. A participant would be eligible for a monthly benefit of $1,000 payable as a single life annuity at normal retirement age, based on the participant's 25 years of credited service. The plan also permits a participant to receive a benefit on an unreduced basis as a single life annuity at a particular early retirement age and permits participants to receive an early retirement benefit beginning at that age in the form of a social security level income option. The participant has elected the social security level income option under which the participant receives a monthly benefit of $1,600 prior to normal retirement age (which is the plan's assumed social security retirement age) and $900 after normal retirement age.

(ii)Calculation of accrual rate. For purposes of calculating the accrual rate, the monthly benefit that is used to calculate the PBGC guarantee does not exceed the monthly benefit of $1,000 that would be payable at normal retirement age. In calculating the accrual rate, the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC would be based on a monthly benefit of $1,000 prior to normal retirement age and $900 after normal retirement age. Before normal retirement age, the participant's accrual rate is $40, determined by dividing the participant's monthly benefit payment ($1,000) by years of credited service (25). After normal retirement age, the participant's accrual rate is $36, calculated by dividing the participant's monthly benefit payment ($900) by the participant's years of credited service (25).

(iii)Calculation of monthly PBGC-guaranteed benefit. Before normal retirement age, the first $11 of the accrual rate is fully guaranteed, and the next $29 of the accrual rate is 75% guaranteed ($29 × .75 = $21.75). The participant's monthly guaranteed benefit per year of credited service is $32.75 ($11 $21.75 = $32.75). The PBGC guarantee formula is then applied to produce the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC, which is $818.75 ($32.75 × 25 years = $818.75). After normal retirement age, the first $11 of the accrual rate is fully guaranteed, and the next $25 of the accrual rate is 75% guaranteed ($25 × .75 = $18.75). The participant's monthly guaranteed benefit per year of credited service is $29.75 ($11 $18.75 = $29.75). The PBGC guarantee formula is then applied to produce the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC, which is $743.75 after normal retirement age ($29.75 × 25 years = $743.75).

(iv)Calculation of guarantee-based limitation. A suspension of benefits may not reduce the participant's benefits, determined on and after the effective date of the suspension, below the guarantee-based limitation, which is equal to 110% of the monthly amount of guarantee payable by PBGC. That monthly guarantee-based limitation amount is $900.63 ($818.75 × 1.1 = $900.63) before normal retirement age and $818.13 ($743.75 × 1.1 = $818.13) after normal retirement age.

Example 4.
(i)Facts. A participant would be eligible for a monthly benefit of $1,000 payable as a single life annuity at normal retirement age, based on the participant's 20 years of credited service. The plan provides an actuarial increase for delaying benefits until after normal retirement age. The participant delays commencement of benefits until after normal retirement age and the monthly benefit the participant is receiving immediately before the effective date of the suspension is $1,200 instead of $1,000.

(ii)Calculation of accrual rate. For purposes of calculating the accrual rate, the monthly benefit that is used to calculate the PBGC guarantee does not exceed the monthly benefit of $1,000 that would be payable at normal retirement age. Thus, in determining the accrual rate, the PBGC guarantee would be based on a monthly benefit of $1,000, whether benefits are paid at or after normal retirement age. The participant's accrual rate is $50, calculated by dividing the participant's monthly benefit payment ($1,000) by the participant's years of credited service (20).

(iii)Calculation of monthly PBGC-guaranteed benefit. The first $11 of the accrual rate is fully guaranteed, and the next $33 of the accrual rate is 75% guaranteed ($33 × .75 = $24.75). The participant's monthly guaranteed benefit per year of credited service is $35.75 ($11 $24.75 = $35.75). The PBGC guarantee formula is then applied to produce the amount of guarantee payable by PBGC, which is $715 ($35.75 × 20 years = $715).

(iv)Calculation of guarantee-based limitation. A suspension of benefits may not reduce the participant's benefits, determined on and after the effective date of the suspension, below the guarantee-based limitation, which is equal to 110% of the monthly amount of guarantee payable by PBGC. That monthly guarantee-based limitation amount is $786.50 ($715 × 1.1 = $786.50).

Example 5.
(i)Facts. A plan provides that a participant who has completed at least five years of service will have a nonforfeitable right to 100% of an accrued benefit (and will not have a nonforfeitable right to any portion of the accrued benefit prior to completing five years of service). The plan implements a suspension of benefits on January 1, 2017. As of that date, a participant has three years of vesting service, and none of the participant's benefits are nonforfeitable under the terms of the plan.

(ii)Calculation of nonforfeitable benefits. For purposes of applying the guarantee-based limitation, the participant is considered to have a nonforfeitable right to 100% of the accrued benefit under the plan as of January 1, 2017.

(3)Age-based limitation -

(i)No suspension for participants or beneficiaries who are age 80 and older. Pursuant to the age-based limitation of this paragraph (d)(3), no suspension of benefits is permitted to apply to a participant or beneficiary who -

(A) Has commenced benefits as of the effective date of the suspension; and

(B) Has attained 80 years of age no later than the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension.

(ii)Limited suspension for participants and beneficiaries between ages 75 and 80. Pursuant to the age-based limitation of this paragraph (d)(3), no more than the applicable percentage of the maximum suspendable benefit may be suspended for a participant or beneficiary who -

(A) Has commenced benefits as of the effective date of the suspension; and

(B) Has attained 75 years of age no later than the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension.

(iii)Maximum suspendable benefit -

(A)In general. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(3), the maximum suspendable benefit with respect to a participant, beneficiary, or alternate payee is the portion of the individual's benefits that would otherwise be suspended pursuant to this section (that is, the amount that would be suspended without regard to the limitation of this paragraph (d)(3)).

(B)Coordination of limitations. An individual's maximum suspendable benefit is calculated after the application of the guarantee-based limitation under paragraph (d)(2) of this section and the disability-based limitation under paragraph (d)(4) of this section.

(iv)Applicable percentage. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(3), the applicable percentage is the percentage obtained by dividing -

(A) The number of months during the period beginning with the month after the month in which the suspension of benefits is effective and ending with the month during which the participant or beneficiary attains the age of 80, by

(B) 60.

(v)Applicability of age-based limitation to benefits paid to beneficiaries. If the age-based limitation of this paragraph (d)(3) applies to a participant on the effective date of the suspension, then the age-based limitation also applies to the beneficiary of the participant, based on the age of the participant as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension.

(vi)Rule for benefits that have not commenced at the time of the suspension. If benefits have not commenced to either a participant or beneficiary as of the effective date of the suspension, then in applying this paragraph (d)(3) -

(A) If the participant is alive on the effective date of the suspension, the participant is treated as having commenced benefits on that date; and

(B) If the participant dies before the effective date of the suspension, the beneficiary is treated as having commenced benefits on that date.

(vii)Rules for alternate payees. The age-based limitation of this paragraph (d)(3) applies to a suspension of benefits in which an alternate payee has an interest, whether or not the alternate payee has commenced benefits as of the effective date of the suspension. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(3), the applicable percentage for an alternate payee is calculated by -

(A) Using the participant's age as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension, if the alternate payee's right to the suspended benefits derives from a qualified domestic relations order within the meaning of section 414(p)(1)(A) (QDRO) under which the alternate payee shares in each benefit payment but the participant retains the right to choose the time and form of payment with respect to the benefit to which the suspension applies (shared payment QDRO); or

(B) Substituting the alternate payee's age as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension for the participant's age, if the alternate payee's right to the suspended benefits derives from a QDRO under which the alternate payee has a separate right to receive a portion of the participant's retirement benefit to be paid at a time and in a form different from that chosen by the participant (separate interest QDRO).

(viii)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules of this paragraph (d)(3):

Example 1.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor of a plan in critical and declining status is implementing a suspension of benefits, effective December 1, 2017, that generally would reduce all benefit payments under the plan by 30%. On that date, a retiree is receiving a monthly benefit of $1,500 (which is not a benefit based on disability) and has 28 years of credited service under the plan. If none of the limitations in section 432(e)(9)(D)(i), (ii), and (iii) were to apply, a 30% suspension would reduce the retiree's monthly benefit by $450, to $1,050. Under the guarantee-based limitation in section 432(e)(9)(D)(i), the retiree's monthly benefit could not be reduced by more than $398.90, to $1,101.10 (1.1 × (28 × ($11 (.75 × $33)))). The retiree is 77 years old on the effective date of the suspension, turns 78 on December 10, 2017, and turns 80 on December 10, 2019.

(ii)Maximum suspendable benefit. Because the retiree is not receiving a benefit based on disability under section 432(e)(9)(D)(iii), the retiree's maximum suspendable benefit is $398.90 (which is equal to the lesser of the amount of reduction that would apply pursuant to the 30% suspension ($450) or the amount of reduction that would be permitted under the guarantee-based limitation ($398.90)).

(iii)Applicable percentage. Because the retiree is between ages 75 and 80 on the effective date of the suspension, the reduction is not permitted to exceed the applicable percentage of the retiree's maximum suspendable benefit. The number of months during the period beginning with January 2018 (the month after the month that includes the effective date of the suspension) and ending with December 2019 (the month in which the retiree turns 80) is 24. The applicable percentage is equal to 40% (24 months divided by 60).

(iv)Age-based limitation. The retiree's maximum suspendable benefit is $398.90 and the applicable percentage is 40%. Thus, under the age-based limitation, the retiree's benefit may not be reduced by more than $159.56 ($398.90 × .40 = $159.56). Because the retiree was receiving a monthly benefit of $1,500, the suspension of benefits may not reduce the retiree's monthly benefit below $1,340.44 ($1,500−$159.56 = $1,340.44).

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1, except that the retiree is 79 years old on December 1, 2017, and turns 80 on December 20, 2017.

(ii)Age-based limitation. The suspension is not permitted to apply to the retiree because the retiree will turn 80 by the end of the month (December 2017) in which the suspension is effective.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1, but on the effective date of the suspension, the retiree is receiving a benefit in the form of a 50% joint and survivor annuity for himself and a contingent beneficiary who is age 71. The retiree dies in October 2018.

(ii)Application of age-based limitation to contingent beneficiary. Because the retiree had attained age 78 in the month that included the effective date of the suspension, the age-based limitation on the suspension of benefits for a 78-year-old individual applies to the retiree. The age-based limitation also applies to the contingent beneficiary, even though the contingent beneficiary had not commenced benefits under the plan as of the effective date of the suspension and had not attained age 75 by the end of the month containing the effective date of the suspension.

(iii)Maximum suspendable benefit. The contingent beneficiary's amount of guarantee payable by PBGC is based on the benefit the beneficiary would have received from the plan before the suspension ($750). The beneficiary's accrual rate is $26.7857 (calculated by dividing the monthly benefit payment ($750) by years of credited service (28)) and the beneficiary's amount of guarantee payable by PBGC is $639.50 (28 × ($11 (.75 × $15.7857))). The beneficiary's maximum suspendable benefit is $46.55 (which is equal to the lesser of the amount of reduction that would apply pursuant to the 30% suspension ($225) or the amount of reduction that would be permitted under the guarantee-based limitation ($46.55, which is equal to ($750−1.1 × $639.50)).

(iv)Applicable percentage. The applicable percentage for the beneficiary is based on the retiree's age of 78 as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension. Accordingly, the applicable percentage for the beneficiary is 40%.

(v)Age-based limitation. The beneficiary's maximum suspendable benefit is $46.55 and the applicable percentage is 40%. Thus, under the age-based limitation, the beneficiary's benefit may not be reduced by more than $18.62 ($46.55 × .40 = $18.62). Therefore, as a result of the retiree's age-based limitation, the suspension of benefits may not reduce the beneficiary's monthly benefit below $731.38 ($750−$18.62 = $731.38).

Example 4.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 3, except that on the effective date of the suspension the retiree is age 71 and the retiree's contingent beneficiary is age 77.

(ii)Application of age-based limitation to contingent beneficiary. Because the retiree had not reached age 75 as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension, the age-based limitation on the suspension of benefits does not apply to the retiree. The age-based limitation also does not apply to the retiree's contingent beneficiary, even though the contingent beneficiary had attained age 77 as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension, because the contingent beneficiary had not yet commenced benefits on that date. The beneficiary's post-suspension benefit may not be less than the minimum benefit payable pursuant to the guarantee-based limitation, which is $703.45 ($639.50 × 1.1 = $703.45).

Example 5.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 4, except that the retiree died in October 2017, prior to the December 1, 2017 effective date of the suspension of benefits. The retiree's beneficiary commenced benefits on November 1, 2017.

(ii)Application of age-based limitation to contingent beneficiary. Because the retiree's beneficiary had commenced benefits before the effective date of the suspension and had reached age 75 as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension, the age-based limitation applies to the beneficiary based on the beneficiary's age as of the end of the month that includes the effective date of the suspension.

(4)Disability-based limitation -

(i)General rule. Pursuant to the disability-based limitation of this paragraph (d)(4), benefits based on disability (as defined under the plan) may not be suspended.

(ii)Benefits based on disability -

(A)In general. For purposes of this section, benefits based on disability means the entire amount paid to a participant pursuant to the participant becoming disabled, without regard to whether a portion of that amount would have been paid if the participant had not become disabled.

(B)Rule for auxiliary or other temporary disability benefits. If a participant begins receiving an auxiliary or other temporary disability benefit and the sole reason the participant ceases receiving that benefit is commencement of retirement benefits, then the benefit based on disability after commencement of retirement benefits is the lesser of -

(1) The periodic payment the participant was receiving immediately before the participant's retirement benefits commenced; or

(2) The periodic payment to the participant of retirement benefits under the plan.

(C)Examples. The following examples illustrate the disability-based limitation on a suspension of benefits under this paragraph (d)(4):

Example 1.
(i)Facts. A participant with a vested accrued benefit of $1,000 per month, payable at age 65, becomes disabled at age 55. The plan applies a reduction to the monthly benefit for early commencement if the participant commences benefits before age 65. For a participant who commences receiving benefits at age 55, the actuarially adjusted early retirement benefit is 60% of the accrued benefit. However, the plan also provides that if a participant becomes entitled to an early retirement benefit on account of disability, as defined in the plan, the benefit is not reduced. On account of a disability, the participant commences an unreduced early retirement benefit of $1,000 per month at age 55 (instead of the $600 monthly benefit the participant would receive if the participant were not disabled). The participant continues to receive $1,000 per month after reaching age 65.

(ii)Conclusion. The participant's disability benefit payment of $1,000 per month commencing at age 55 is a benefit based on disability, even though the participant would have received a portion of these benefits at retirement regardless of the disability. Thus, both before and after attaining age 65, the participant's entire monthly payment amount ($1,000) is a benefit based on disability. A suspension of benefits is not permitted to apply to any portion of the participant's benefit at any time.

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1, except that the terms of the plan provide that when a disabled participant reaches age 65, the disability pension is discontinued by reason of reaching age 65, and the retirement benefits commence. In this case, the amount of the participant's retirement benefits is the same as the amount that the participant was receiving immediately before commencing retirement benefits, or $1,000.

(ii)Conclusion. Before age 65, the participant's disability benefit payment of $1,000 per month commencing at age 55 is a benefit based on disability. After age 65, the periodic retirement benefit of $1,000 per month is a benefit based on disability because it does not exceed the benefit based on disability that the participant was receiving immediately before commencing retirement benefits. Thus, both before and after attaining age 65, the participant's entire monthly payment amount ($1,000) is a benefit based on disability. A suspension of benefits is not permitted to apply to any portion of the participant's benefit at any time.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 2, except that upon reaching age 65, the participant elects to commence payment of retirement benefits not in the form of a single life annuity payable in the amount of $1,000 per month but instead in the form of an actuarially equivalent joint and survivor annuity payable in the amount of $850 per month.

(ii)Conclusion. Before age 65, the participant's benefit based on disability is $1,000 per month. After age 65, the participant's entire retirement benefit of $850 per month is a benefit based on disability because it does not exceed the benefit based on disability that the participant was receiving immediately before commencing retirement benefits. Thus, a suspension of benefits is not permitted to apply to any portion of those benefits at any time.

Example 4.
(i)Facts. A participant's disability pension is a specified amount unrelated to the participant's accrued benefit. The participant's disability benefit commencing at age 55 is $750 per month. Upon reaching age 65, the participant's disability pension is discontinued by reason of reaching age 65 and the participant elects to receive an accrued benefit payable in the amount of $1,000 per month.

(ii)Conclusion. Before age 65, the participant's benefit based on disability is $750 per month. After age 65, the participant's benefit based on disability continues to be $750 per month (even though the participant's payment is $1,000 per month), because the benefit based on disability is the lesser of the periodic disability pension the participant was receiving immediately before retirement benefits commenced ($750) and the periodic payment of retirement benefits to the participant under the plan determined without regard to the suspension ($1,000). Thus, a suspension of benefits is not permitted to reduce the participant's benefit based on disability ($750 per month) at any time.

Example 5.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 2, except that when the participant attains age 65, the participant's monthly benefit payment increases from $1,000 to $1,300 as a result of the plan providing additional accruals during the period of disability, as if the participant were not disabled.

(ii)Conclusion. As in Example 2, before age 65, the participant's benefit payment of $1,000 per month commencing at age 55 is a benefit based on disability. After age 65, the participant's benefit payment of $1,300 per month is a benefit based on disability because the $1,300 is payable based on additional accruals earned pursuant to the participant becoming disabled. Thus, both before and after attaining age 65, the participant's entire monthly payment amount is a benefit based on disability. A suspension of benefits is not permitted to apply to any portion of the participant's benefit at any time.

Example 6.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 3 of paragraph (d)(2)(v) of this section, except that the social security level income option is only available to a participant who incurs a disability as defined in the plan.

(ii)Conclusion. Before normal retirement age, the participant's benefit payment of $1,600 per month is a benefit based on disability. After normal retirement age, the participant's benefit based on disability is $900, which is the lesser of the $1,600 periodic payment that the participant was receiving immediately before the participant's normal retirement benefit commenced and the participant's $900 periodic payment of retirement benefits determined without regard to the suspension. Thus, a suspension of benefits is not permitted to apply to any portion of those benefits ($1,600 per month before and $900 per month after normal retirement age) at any time.

Example 7.
(i)Facts. A plan applies a reduction to the monthly benefit for early commencement if a participant commences benefits before age 65. The plan also provides that if a participant becomes disabled, as defined in the plan, the benefit that is paid before normal retirement age is not reduced for early retirement. Under the plan, when a disabled participant reaches age 65, the disability pension is discontinued by reason of reaching age 65 and the retirement benefits commence. A participant with a vested accrued benefit of $1,000 per month, payable at age 65, becomes disabled at age 55. On account of the disability, the participant commences benefits at age 55 in the amount of $1,000 per month (instead of the $600 monthly benefit the participant could have received at that age if the participant were not disabled). The participant recovers from the disability at age 60, and the participant's disability benefits cease. At age 60, the participant immediately elects to begin an early retirement benefit of $800.

(ii)Conclusion. The participant's disability benefit payment of $1,000 per month commencing at age 55 is a benefit based on disability, even though the participant would have received a portion of these benefits at retirement regardless of the disability. Because the participant ceased receiving disability benefits on account of the participant no longer being disabled (and not solely on account of commencing retirement benefits), the participant's early retirement benefit of $800 per month that began after the disability benefit ended is not a benefit based on disability.

(5)Limitation on aggregate size of suspension -

(i)General rule. Any suspension of benefits (considered, if applicable, in combination with a partition of the plan under section 4233 of ERISA (partition)) must be at a level that is reasonably estimated to -

(A) Enable the plan to avoid insolvency; and

(B) Not materially exceed the level that is necessary to enable the plan to avoid insolvency.

(ii)Suspension sufficient to avoid insolvency -

(A)General rule. A suspension of benefits (considered, if applicable, in combination with a partition of the plan) will satisfy the requirement that it is at a level that is reasonably estimated to enable the plan to avoid insolvency if -

(1) For each plan year throughout an extended period (as described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(C) of this section) beginning on the first day of the plan year that includes the effective date of the suspension, the plan's solvency ratio is projected on a deterministic basis to be at least 1.0;

(2) Based on stochastic projections reflecting variance in investment return, the probability that the plan will avoid insolvency throughout the extended period is more than 50 percent; and

(3) Unless the plan's projected funded percentage (within the meaning of section 432(j)(2)) at the end of the extended period using the deterministic projection described in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A)(1) of this section exceeds 100 percent, that projection shows that, during each of the last five plan years of that period, neither the plan's solvency ratio nor its available resources (as defined in section 418E(b)(3)) is projected to decrease.

(B)Solvency ratio. For purposes of this section, a plan's solvency ratio for a plan year means the ratio of -

(1) The plan's available resources (as defined in section 418E(b)(3)) for the plan year; to

(2) The scheduled benefit payments under the plan for the plan year.

(C)Extended period. For purposes of this section, an extended period means a period of at least 30 plan years. However, in the case of a temporary suspension of benefits that is scheduled to cease as of a date that is more than 25 years after the effective date, the extended period must be lengthened so that it ends no earlier than five plan years after the cessation of the suspension.

(iii)Suspension not materially in excess of level necessary to avoid insolvency -

(A)General rule. A suspension of benefits will satisfy the requirement under paragraph (d)(5)(i)(B) of this section that the suspension be at a level that is reasonably estimated to not materially exceed the level necessary for the plan to avoid insolvency only if an alternative, similar but smaller suspension of benefits would not be sufficient to enable the plan to satisfy the requirement to avoid insolvency under paragraph (d)(5)(i)(A) of this section (determined using an extended period that is no shorter than the extended period used to satisfy the requirements of paragraph (d)(5)(i)(A) of this section). The alternative suspension of benefits that is used for this purpose is a suspension of benefits under which, for each participant or beneficiary, the amount of the reduction in the periodic payment (determined after application of the individual limitations) is equal to the amount of the reduction proposed for that participant or beneficiary in the application submitted pursuant to paragraph (g) of this section, decreased (but not below zero) by the greater of -

(1) Five percent of the amount of the reduction in the periodic payment proposed for that participant or beneficiary; or

(2) Two percent of the amount of the participant's or beneficiary's periodic payment determined without regard to the reduction proposed in the application.

(B)Special rule for partitions. If PBGC issues an order partitioning the plan, then a suspension of benefits with respect to the plan will be deemed to satisfy the requirement under paragraph (d)(5)(i)(B) of this section that the suspension be at a level that is reasonably estimated to not materially exceed the level necessary for the plan to avoid insolvency.

(iv)Actuarial basis for projections -

(A)In general. This paragraph (d)(5)(iv) sets forth rules for the actuarial projections that are required under this paragraph (d)(5). The projections must reflect the assumption that the suspension of benefits continues indefinitely (or, if the suspension expires on a specified date by its own terms, until that date).

(B)Reasonable actuarial assumptions and methods. Each of the actuarial assumptions and methods used for the actuarial projections that are required under this paragraph (d)(5), and the combination of those actuarial assumptions and methods, must be reasonable, taking into account the experience of the plan and reasonable expectations. To be reasonable, the actuarial assumptions and methods must also be appropriate for the purpose of the measurement (this means that factors specific to the measurements must be taken into account). The actuary's selection of assumptions about future covered employment and contribution levels (including contribution base units and average contribution rate) may be based on information provided by the plan sponsor, which must act in good faith in providing the information. In addition, to the extent that an actuarial assumption used for the deterministic projection in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A)(1) of this section differs from that used to certify whether the plan is in critical and declining status pursuant to section 432(b)(3)(B)(iv), an explanation of the information and analysis that led to the selection of that different assumption must be provided. Similarly, to the extent that an actuarial assumption used for the stochastic projection in paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A)(2) of this section differs from that used for the deterministic projection, an explanation of the information and analysis that led to the selection of that different assumption must be provided.

(C)Initial value of plan assets and cash flow projections. Except as provided in paragraph (d)(5)(iv)(D) of this section, the cash flow projections must be based on -

(1) The fair market value of plan assets as of the end of the calendar quarter immediately preceding the date the application is submitted;

(2) Projected benefit payments that are consistent with the projected benefit payments under the most recent actuarial valuation; and

(3) Appropriate adjustments to projected benefit payments to include benefits for new hires who are reflected in the projected contribution amounts.

(D)Requirement to reflect significant events. The projected cash flows relating to contributions, withdrawal liability payments, and benefit payments must also be adjusted to reflect significant events that occurred after the most recent actuarial valuation. Significant events include -

(1) A plan merger or transfer;

(2) The withdrawal or the addition of employers that changed projected cash flows relating to contributions, withdrawal liability payments, or benefit payments by more than five percent;

(3) A plan amendment, a change in a collective bargaining agreement, or a change in a rehabilitation plan that changed projected cash flows relating to contributions, withdrawal liability payments, or benefit payments by more than five percent; or

(4) Any other event or trend that resulted in a material change in those projected cash flows.

(v)Simplified determination for smaller plans. In the case of a plan that is not large enough to be required to select a retiree representative under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the determination of whether the benefit suspension (or a benefit suspension in combination with a partition of the plan) will satisfy the requirement that it is at a level that is reasonably estimated to enable the plan to avoid insolvency is permitted to be made without regard to paragraph (d)(5)(ii)(A)(2) of this section.

(vi)Additional disclosure -

(A)Disclosure of past experience for critical assumptions. The application for suspension must include a disclosure of the total contributions, total contribution base units and average contribution rate, withdrawal liability payments, and the rate of return on plan assets for each of the 10 plan years preceding the plan year in which the application is submitted.

(B)Sensitivity of results to investment return assumptions. The application must include deterministic projections of the plan's solvency ratio over the extended period using two alternative assumptions for the plan's rate of return. These alternatives are that the plan's future rate of return will be lower than the assumed rate of return used under paragraph (d)(5)(iv)(B) of this section by -

(1) One percentage point; and

(2) Two percentage points.

(C)Sensitivity of results to industry level assumptions. The application must include deterministic projections of the plan's solvency ratio over the extended period using two alternative assumptions for future contribution base units. These alternatives are that future contribution base units -

(1) Continue under the same trend as the plan experienced over the past 10 years; and

(2) Continue under the trend identified in paragraph (d)(5)(vi)(C)(1) of this section reduced by one percentage point.

(D)Projection of funded percentage. The application must include an illustration, prepared on a deterministic basis, of the projected value of plan assets, the accrued liability of the plan (calculated using the unit credit funding method), and the funded percentage for each year in the extended period.

(E)Permitted simplification of certain projections. It is permissible for the projections described in paragraph (d)(5)(vi)(C) of this section to be made without reflecting any adjustments to the projected benefit payments that result from the alternative assumptions regarding future contribution base units.

(6)Equitable distribution -

(i)In general. Any suspension of benefits must be equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary population, taking into account factors, with respect to participants and beneficiaries and their benefits, that may include one or more of the factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section. If a suspension of benefits provides for different treatment for different participants and beneficiaries (other than as a result of application of the individual limitations), then the suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary population only if -

(A) Under the suspension, the participants and beneficiaries are divided into separate categories or groups that are defined by the consistent treatment of individuals within each separate category or group;

(B) Any difference in treatment under the suspension of benefits among the different categories or groups is based on relevant factors reasonably selected by the plan sponsor, such as the factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section; and

(C) Any such difference in treatment is based on a reasonable application of those relevant factors.

(ii)Factors that may be considered -

(A)In general. In accordance with paragraph (d)(6)(i)(B) and (C) of this section, if, under the suspension, there is any difference between the treatment of one category or group of participants and beneficiaries and another category or group of participants and beneficiaries, that difference must be based on a reasonable application of relevant statutory factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B) of this section and any other factors reasonably selected by the plan sponsor. For example, it would be reasonable for a plan sponsor to conclude that the statutory factor described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(3) of this section (amount of benefit) is a factor that should be taken into account as justifying a lesser benefit reduction for participants or beneficiaries whose benefits are closer to the level of the PBGC guarantee than for others. In addition, it would be reasonable for a plan sponsor to conclude that the presumed financial vulnerability of certain participants or beneficiaries who are reasonably deemed to be in greater need of protection than other participants or beneficiaries is a factor that should be taken into account as justifying a lesser benefit reduction (as a percentage or otherwise) for those participants or beneficiaries than for others.

(B)Statutory factors. Factors that may be selected as a basis for differences in treatment under a suspension of benefits include, when reasonable under the circumstances, the following statutory factors:

(1) The age and life expectancy of the participant or beneficiary;

(2) The length of time that benefits have been in pay status;

(3) The amount of benefits;

(4) The type of benefit, such as survivor benefit, normal retirement benefit, or early retirement benefit;

(5) The extent to which a participant or beneficiary is receiving a subsidized benefit;

(6) The extent to which a participant or beneficiary has received post-retirement benefit increases;

(7) The history of benefit increases and reductions for participants and beneficiaries;

(8) The number of years to retirement for active employees;

(9) Any differences between active and retiree benefits;

(10) The extent to which active participants are reasonably likely to withdraw support for the plan, accelerating employer withdrawals from the plan and increasing the risk of additional benefit reductions for participants in and out of pay status; and

(11) The extent to which a participant's or beneficiary's benefits are attributable to service with an employer that failed to pay its full withdrawal liability.

(iii)Reasonable application of factors. An application of a factor referred to in paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section is unreasonable if it is inconsistent with the protections provided by the individual limitations described in paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(4) of this section. For example, it would constitute an unreasonable application of the factor described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(3) of this section (amount of benefit) if that factor were used to justify a larger suspension for participants whose benefits are closer to the guarantee-based limitation. Similarly, it would constitute an unreasonable application of the factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(1) of this section (age and life expectancy of the participant or beneficiary) if those factors were used to justify a greater suspension for older participants.

(iv)Special rule for identification of categories or groups -

(A)New post-suspension benefit formula. This paragraph (d)(6)(iv) applies in the case of a proposed suspension of benefits under which an individual's benefits after suspension are calculated under a new benefit formula (rather than by reference to the individual's benefits before suspension). In this case, the evaluation of whether the proposed suspension is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary population is based on a comparison of an individual's pre-suspension benefit to the individual's post-suspension benefit (determined without regard to the application of the individual limitations). Accordingly, all individuals whose pre-suspension benefits are determined under a uniform pre-suspension benefit formula and whose post-suspension benefits are determined under a different uniform post-suspension benefit formula are treated as a single group.

(B)Blended pre-suspension benefit formula. If a plan applies different pre-suspension benefit formulas with respect to different plan years, then all individuals to whom more than one such formula applied may be treated as having a uniform pre-suspension benefit formula for purposes of paragraph (d)(6)(iv)(A) of this section (even though those individuals have different proportions of their pre-suspension benefits calculated under the different benefit formulas).

(C)Changes in early retirement factors. For purposes of paragraph (d)(6)(iv)(A) of this section, two individuals are not treated as having different pre-suspension or post-suspension benefit formulas merely because, as a result of the application of a uniform set of early retirement factors, their benefits differ because of retirement at different ages.

(v)Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules on equitable distribution of a suspension of benefits of this paragraph (d)(6). As a simplifying assumption for purposes of these examples, it is assumed that the facts of each example describe all of the factors that are included in the application discussed in the example (provided, however, that, in the case of a plan described in section 432(e)(9)(D)(vii), the examples are not intended to illustrate the application of section 432(e)(9)(D)(vii) or its effect on the analysis or conclusions in the examples).

Example 1.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits on March 15, 2017. Under the plan terms applicable prior to the suspension, one group of participants benefitted only under Benefit Formula A and the remaining participants benefitted only under Benefit Formula B. Each of these benefit formulas is uniform. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for all participants are reduced so that a uniform post-suspension benefit formula (Benefit Formula C) applies to all participants.

(ii)Conclusion. Because the reduction in benefits under the suspension formula is different for participants who benefitted only under Benefit Formula A than for participants who benefitted only under Benefit Formula B, the suspension of benefits provides for different treatment for different participants and beneficiaries (other than as a result of application of the individual limitations). In addition, the suspension of benefits provides for consistent treatment of participants within the following two categories: (1) Participants who benefitted only under Benefit Formula A; and (2) participants who benefitted only under Benefit Formula B. Therefore, pursuant to paragraph (d)(6)(iv)(A) of this section, these two categories of participants are each treated as a single group for purposes of evaluating whether the proposed suspension is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary population. In order to demonstrate that the distribution of the suspension satisfies the equitable distribution requirement, the plan sponsor must reasonably select and apply factors that are the basis for the different treatment of these two groups of participants.

Example 2.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that the plan terms applicable prior to the suspension did not provide for different benefit formulas for different groups of participants at any given time. Instead, the plan terms provided that different uniform benefit formulas applied for service prior to January 1, 2000, and for service on or after January 1, 2000.

(ii)Conclusion. The reduction in benefits under the suspension formula is different for participants who had service only prior to January 1, 2000, participants who had service only after January 1, 2000, and participants who had service during both of those periods. The suspension of benefits provides for different treatment for different participants and beneficiaries (other than as a result of application of the individual limitations). In addition, the suspension of benefits provides for consistent treatment of participants within the following three categories of participants: (1) Participants whose entire service was prior to January 1, 2000, (2) participants whose entire service was on or after January 1, 2000, and (3) participants who have some service before January 1, 2000 and some service on or after January 1, 2000. Therefore, pursuant to paragraph (d)(6)(iv)(A) of this section, the two categories of participants whose entire service was either before or on or after January 1, 2000 are each treated as a single group for purposes of evaluating whether the proposed suspension is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary population. In addition, pursuant to paragraph (d)(6)(iv)(B) of this section, the category of participants with some service before January 1, 2000 and some service on or after January 1, 2000 is treated as a single group for purposes of this evaluation. In order to demonstrate that the distribution of the suspension satisfies the equitable distribution requirement, the plan sponsor must reasonably select and apply factors that are the basis for the different treatment of these three categories of participants.

Example 3.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for all participants and beneficiaries are reduced by the same percentage, and the suspension application indicates the rationale for this reduction.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations.

Example 4.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the age-based and disability-based limitations of section 432(e)(9)(D)(ii) and (iii), the portion of each participant's and beneficiary's benefit that exceeds the guarantee-based limitation of section 432(e)(9)(D)(i) is reduced by the same percentage, and the suspension application indicates the rationale for this reduction.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. The result would be the same if, instead, the suspension of benefits applies only to benefits that exceed a multiple (in excess of 100%) of the guarantee-based limitation.

Example 5.
(i)Facts. A plan was previously amended to provide an ad hoc 15% increase to the benefits of all participants and beneficiaries (including participants who, at the time, were no longer earning service under the plan, which therefore included retirees and deferred vested participants). The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for all participants and beneficiaries who were no longer earning service under the plan at the time of the ad hoc amendment are reduced by eliminating the amendment for those individuals. The suspension application indicates why the benefit reduction is based on the statutory factors in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(6) of this section (the extent to which a participant or beneficiary has received post-retirement benefit increases), including application of the reduction to those who, at the time of the previous benefit increase, were either retired participants or deferred vested participants, and in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(7) of this section (the history of benefit increases and reductions), and why it is reasonable to apply the factors in this manner.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because the difference in treatment between the two groups of participants is based on whether a participant has received post-retirement benefit increases (in this case, whether a participant was earning service under the plan at the time of the benefit increase amendment), which under these facts is a relevant factor that may be reasonably selected by the plan sponsor, and the difference in treatment between the two groups of participants (eliminating the amendment only for benefits with respect to participants who were no longer earning service at the time of the amendment) is based on a reasonable application of that factor.

Example 6.
(i)Facts. A plan contains a provision that provides a “thirteenth check” in plan years for which the investment return is greater than 7% (which was the assumed rate of return under the plan's actuarial valuation). The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for all participants and beneficiaries are reduced by eliminating the “thirteenth check” for all of those individuals. The suspension application indicates why the benefit reduction is based on the statutory factors in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(6) of this section (the extent to which a participant or beneficiary has received post-retirement benefit increases) and in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(7) of this section (the history of benefit increases and reductions), and why it is reasonable to apply the factors in this manner.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations.

Example 7.
(i)Facts. A plan was previously amended to reduce future accruals from $60 per year of service to $50 per year of service. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, the accrued benefits for all participants and beneficiaries are reduced to $50 per year of service (and the plan's generally applicable adjustments for early retirement and form of benefit apply). The suspension application indicates why the benefit reduction is based on the statutory factor in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(7) of this section (the history of benefit increases and reductions), and why it is reasonable to apply the factors in this manner.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because the difference in treatment among the different groups of participants is based on the history of benefit reductions and a discrepancy between active and retiree benefits, which under these facts are relevant factors that may be reasonably selected by the plan sponsor, and the difference in treatment between the three groups of participants (reducing the $60 benefit multiplier to $50 per year of service for two groups of participants - those who had accrued all of their benefits under the $60 multiplier and those who had accrued some of their benefits under the $60 multiplier - and not reducing benefits for the group of participants who had accrued all of their benefits under the $50 multiplier) is based on a reasonable application of those factors.

Example 8.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 7, except that no plan amendments have previously reduced future accruals or other benefits for active participants. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for deferred vested participants, retirees, and beneficiaries who have commenced benefits are reduced, but no reduction applies to active participants. The suspension of benefits is not accompanied by any reductions in future accruals or other benefits for active participants.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is not equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because, under these facts, no relevant factor (such as a previous reduction in benefits applicable only to active participants) has been reasonably selected by the plan sponsor to justify the proposed difference in treatment among the categories.

Example 9.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 8, except that the suspension of benefits provides for a reduction that applies to both active and inactive participants. However, the reduction that applies to active participants is smaller than the reduction that applies to inactive participants because the plan sponsor concludes, as explained and supported in the application for suspension, that active participants are reasonably likely to withdraw support for the plan if any larger reduction is applied.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because the difference in treatment between the different groups of participants is based on the extent to which active participants are reasonably likely to withdraw support for the plan, which under these facts is a relevant factor that may reasonably be selected by the plan sponsor, and the difference in treatment between the two groups of participants (applying a greater suspension to inactive than to active participants) is based on a reasonable application of that factor.

Example 10.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, the benefits for participants and beneficiaries attributable to service with an employer that failed to pay its full withdrawal liability are reduced by 50%. As indicated in the suspension application, the present value of the benefit reduction with respect to the former employees of one such employer is significantly greater than the unpaid withdrawal liability for that employer. Benefits for participants and beneficiaries attributable to service with all other employers are reduced by 10%.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is not equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because, although the difference in treatment between the different groups of participants is based on a relevant factor that may reasonably be selected by the plan sponsor, the difference in treatment between the groups of participants is not based on a reasonable application of that factor.

Example 11.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, the benefits for all participants and beneficiaries are reduced by the same percentage, except that the benefits for employees and former employees of a particular employer that is actively represented on the plan's Board of Trustees are reduced by a specified lesser percentage.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is not equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because, under these facts, no relevant factor has been reasonably selected by the plan sponsor to justify the difference in treatment between the two groups of participants.

Example 12.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 11, except that the particular employer whose employees and former employees are subject to the lesser benefit reduction is the union that also participates in the plan.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is not equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations. This is because, under these facts, no relevant factor has been reasonably selected by the plan sponsor to justify the difference in treatment between the two groups of participants.

Example 13.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, the monthly benefit of all participants and beneficiaries is reduced to 110% of the monthly benefit that is guaranteed by PBGC under section 4022A of ERISA. As indicated in the suspension application, this is because the plan sponsor is applying to PBGC for a partition of the plan, which requires the plan sponsor to have implemented the maximum benefit suspensions under section 432(e)(9).

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations.

Example 14.
(i)Facts. The plan sponsor applies for approval of a suspension of benefits. Under the suspension of benefits, subject to the individual limitations on benefit suspensions, benefits for all participants and beneficiaries are reduced by the same percentage, except that the protection for benefits based on disability goes beyond the required disability-based limitations and also includes payments to a beneficiary of a participant who had been receiving benefits based on disability at the time of death. The suspension application indicates the rationale for this protection from reduction.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations because this suspension design is a reasonable application of the statutory factor in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B)(4) of this section (type of benefit).

Example 15.
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as in Example 3, except that the plan does not provide for benefits based on disability. Under the suspension of benefits, less of a reduction is applied to a participant who has become disabled within the meaning of title II of the Social Security Act than to otherwise similarly situated participants and the suspension application indicates the rationale for this reduction.

(ii)Conclusion. The suspension of benefits is equitably distributed across the participant and beneficiary populations because a participant's disability within the meaning of title II of the Social Security Act is a factor that can reasonably be taken into account in designing a suspension of benefits and applying less of a reduction to an individual in this group is a reasonable application of that factor.

(7)Effective date of suspension made in combination with partition. In any case in which a suspension of benefits with respect to a plan is made in combination with a partition of the plan, the suspension of benefits may not take effect prior to the effective date of the partition. This requirement will not be satisfied if the partition order under section 4233 of ERISA has not been provided to the Secretary of the Treasury by the last day of the 225-day period described in paragraph (g)(3)(i) of this section. For purposes of the preceding sentence, a conditional approval by PBGC (within the meaning of 29 CFR 4233.12(c)) of a partition application that is conditioned only on the Secretary's issuing a final authorization to suspend is treated as a partition order.

(8)Additional rules for plans described in section 432(e)(9)(D)(vii) -

(i)In general. In the case of a plan that includes the benefits described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section, any suspension of benefits under this section shall -

(A) First, be applied to the maximum extent permissible to benefits attributable to a participant's service for an employer that withdrew from the plan and failed to pay (or is delinquent with respect to paying) the full amount of its withdrawal liability under section 4201(b)(1) of ERISA or an agreement with the plan;

(B) Second, except as provided by paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section, be applied to all other benefits that may be suspended under this section; and

(C) Third, be applied to benefits under a plan that are directly attributable to a participant's service with any employer that has, prior to December 16, 2014 -

(1) Withdrawn from the plan in a complete withdrawal under section 4203 of ERISA and paid the full amount of the employer's withdrawal liability under section 4201(b)(1) of ERISA or an agreement with the plan; and

(2) Pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, assumed liability for providing benefits to participants and beneficiaries of the plan under a separate, single-employer plan sponsored by the employer, in an amount equal to any amount of benefits for such participants and beneficiaries reduced as a result of the financial status of the plan.

(ii)Application of suspensions to benefits that are directly attributable to a participant's service with certain employers -

(A)Greater reduction in certain benefits not permitted. A suspension of benefits under this section must not be applied to provide for a greater reduction in benefits described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section than the reduction that is applied to benefits described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(B) of this section. The requirement in the preceding sentence is satisfied if no individual's benefits that are directly attributable to service with an employer described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section are reduced more than that individual's benefits would have been reduced if, holding the benefit formula, work history, and all other relevant factors used to compute benefits constant, those benefits were attributable to service with an employer that is not described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section.

(B)Application of limitation to benefits of participants with respect to which the employer has not assumed liability. Benefits described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section include all benefits of a participant or beneficiary that are directly attributable to service with an employer described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C) of this section without regard to whether the employer has assumed liability for providing benefits to that participant or beneficiary that are reduced as a result of the financial status of the plan as described in paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C)(2) of this section. Thus, the rule of paragraph (d)(8)(ii)(A) of this section limits the amount by which a suspension of benefits is permitted to reduce benefits under a plan that are directly attributable to a participant's service with such an employer, even if the employer has not, pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (d)(8)(i)(C)(2) of this section, assumed liability with respect to that participant's benefits.

(e)Benefit improvements -

(1)Limitations on benefit improvements. This paragraph (e) sets forth rules for the application of section 432(e)(9)(E). A plan satisfies the criteria in section 432(e)(9)(E) only if, during the period that any suspension of benefits remains in effect, the plan sponsor does not implement any benefit improvement with respect to the plan except as provided in this paragraph (e). Paragraph (e)(2) of this section describes limitations on a benefit improvement for participants and beneficiaries who are not yet in pay status. Paragraph (e)(3) of this section describes limitations on a benefit improvement for participants and beneficiaries who are in pay status. Paragraph (e)(4) of this section provides that the limitations of this paragraph (e) generally apply in addition to other limitations on benefit increases that apply to a plan. Paragraph (e)(5) of this section defines benefit improvement.

(2)Limitations on benefit improvements for those not in pay status -

(i)Equitable distribution for those in pay status and solvency projection. During the period that any suspension of benefits under a plan remains in effect, the plan sponsor may not increase the liabilities of the plan by reason of any benefit improvement for any participant or beneficiary who was not in pay status by the first day of the plan year for which the benefit improvement takes effect, unless -

(A) The present value of the total liabilities for a benefit improvement for participants and beneficiaries whose benefit commencement dates were before the first day of the plan year for which the benefit improvement takes effect is not less than the present value of the total liabilities for a benefit improvement for participants and beneficiaries who were not in pay status by that date;

(B) The plan sponsor equitably distributes the benefit improvement among the participants and beneficiaries whose benefit commencement dates were before the first day of the plan year in which the benefit improvement is proposed to take effect; and

(C) The plan actuary certifies that after taking into account the benefit improvement, the plan is projected to avoid insolvency indefinitely.

(ii)Rules of application -

(A)Present value determination -

(1)Actuarial assumptions and methods. For purposes of paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A) of this section, the present value of the total liabilities for a benefit improvement is the present value as of the first day of the plan year in which the benefit improvement is proposed to take effect. The actuarial assumptions and methods used for the calculation for present values and the actuarial projections that are required under this paragraph (e)(2) must each be reasonable, and the combination of the actuarial assumptions and methods must be reasonable, taking into account the experience of the plan and reasonable expectations.

(2)Increase in future accrual rate. In the case of a benefit improvement that is an increase in the rate of future accrual, the present value determined under paragraph (e)(2)(i)(A) of this section must take into account the increase in accruals for participants and beneficiaries not yet in pay status for all future years.

(B)Factors relevant to equitable distribution. The evaluation of whether a benefit improvement is equitably distributed for purposes of paragraph (e)(2)(i)(B) of this section must take into account the relevant factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B) of this section and the extent to which the benefits of the participants and beneficiaries were suspended.

(C)Actuarial certification. The certification in paragraph (e)(2)(i)(C) of this section must be made using the standards described in paragraphs (d)(5)(ii), (iv), and (v) of this section, substituting the plan year that includes the effective date of the benefit improvement for the plan year that includes the effective date of the suspension.

(iii)Special rule for certain benefit increases. The limitations of this paragraph (e) do not apply to a resumption of suspended benefits or plan amendment that increases liabilities with respect to participants and beneficiaries not in pay status by the first day of the plan year in which the benefit improvement took effect that -

(A) The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, determines to be reasonable and which provides for only de minimis increases in the liabilities of the plan; or

(B) Is required as a condition of qualification under section 401 or to comply with other applicable law, as determined by the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3)Limitation on resumption of suspended benefits only for those in pay status. The plan sponsor may increase liabilities of the plan by eliminating some or all of the suspension that applies solely to participants and beneficiaries in pay status at the time of the resumption, provided that the plan sponsor equitably distributes the value of those resumed benefits among participants and beneficiaries in pay status, taking into account the relevant factors described in paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B) of this section. A resumption of benefits that is described in this paragraph (e)(3) is not subject to the limitations on a benefit improvement under section 432(f) (relating to restrictions on benefit increases for plans in critical status).

(4)Additional limitations. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, the limitations on a benefit improvement under this paragraph (e) are in addition to the limitations in section 432(f) and any other applicable limitations on increases in benefits imposed on a plan.

(5)Definition of benefit improvement -

(i)In general. For purposes of this paragraph (e), the term benefit improvement means, with respect to a plan, a resumption of suspended benefits, an increase in benefits, an increase in the rate at which benefits accrue, or an increase in the rate at which benefits become nonforfeitable, under the plan.

(ii)Effect of expiration of suspension. In the case of a suspension of benefits that expires as of a date that is specified in the plan amendment implementing the suspension, the resumption of benefits solely from the expiration of that period is not treated as a benefit improvement.

(f)Notice requirements -

(1)In general. No suspension of benefits may be made pursuant to this section unless notice of the proposed suspension has been given by the plan sponsor to -

(i) All participants, beneficiaries of deceased participants, and alternate payees under the plan (regardless of whether their benefits are proposed to be suspended), except those who cannot be contacted by reasonable efforts;

(ii) Each employer who has an obligation to contribute (within the meaning of section 4212(a) of ERISA) under the plan; and

(iii) Each employee organization which, for purposes of collective bargaining, represents plan participants employed by an employer described in paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section.

(2)Content of notice -

(i)In general. The notice described under paragraph (f)(1) of this section must contain -

(A) Sufficient information to enable a participant or beneficiary to understand the effect of any suspension of benefits, including an individualized estimate (on an annual or monthly basis) of the effect on that participant or beneficiary;

(B) A description of the factors considered by the plan sponsor in designing the benefit suspension;

(C) A statement that the application for approval of any suspension of benefits will be available on the Web site of the Department of the Treasury and that comments on the application will be accepted;

(D) Information as to the rights and remedies of plan participants and beneficiaries;

(E) If applicable, a statement describing the appointment of a retiree representative, the date of appointment of the representative, the role and responsibilities of the retiree representative, identifying information about the retiree representative (including whether the representative is a plan trustee), and how to contact the retiree representative; and

(F) Information on how to contact the Department of the Treasury for further information and assistance where appropriate.

(ii)Description of suspension of benefits. The notice described under paragraph (f)(1) of this section will not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section unless it includes the following -

(A) To the extent that it is not possible to provide an individualized estimate on an annual or monthly basis of the quantitative effect of the suspension on a participant or beneficiary, such as in the case of a suspension that affects the payment of any future cost-of-living adjustment, that effect may be reflected in a narrative description;

(B) A statement that the plan sponsor has determined that the plan will become insolvent unless the proposed suspension takes effect, and the year in which insolvency is projected to occur without a suspension of benefits;

(C) A statement that insolvency of the plan could result in benefits lower than benefits paid under the proposed suspension and a description of the projected benefit payments upon insolvency;

(D) A description of the proposed suspension and its effect, including a description of the different categories or groups affected by the suspension, how those categories or groups are defined, and the formula that is used to calculate the amount of the proposed suspension for individuals in each category or group;

(E) A description of the effect of the proposed suspension on the plan's projected insolvency;

(F) A description of whether the suspension will remain in effect indefinitely, or the date the suspension expires if it expires by its own terms; and

(G) A statement describing the right to vote on the suspension application.

(iii)Readability requirement. A notice given under paragraph (f)(1) of this section must be written in a manner so as to be understood by the average plan participant.

(iv)Model notice. The Secretary of the Treasury will provide a model notice. The use of the model notice will satisfy the content and readability requirements of this paragraph (f)(2) with respect to the language provided in the model.

(3)Form and manner -

(i)Timing -

(A)In general. A notice under paragraph (f)(1) of this section must be given no earlier than four business days before the date on which an application is submitted and no later than two business days after the Secretary of the Treasury notifies the plan sponsor that it has submitted a complete application, as described in paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section.

(B)Timing for lost participants. If additional individuals who are entitled to notice are located after the time period in paragraph (f)(3)(i)(A) of this section has elapsed, then the plan sponsor must give notice to these individuals as soon as practicable thereafter.

(ii)Method of delivery of notice -

(A)Written or electronic delivery. A notice given under paragraph (f)(1) of this section may be provided in writing. It may also be provided in electronic form to the extent that the form is reasonably accessible to persons to whom the notice is required to be provided. Permissible electronic methods include those permitted under regulations of the Department of Labor at 29 CFR 2520.104b-1(c) and those described at § 54.4980F-1, Q&A-13(c) of the Excise Tax Regulations.

(B)No alternative method of delivery. A notice under this paragraph (f) must be provided in written or electronic form.

(iii)Additional information in notice. A notice given under paragraph (f)(1) of this section is permitted to include information in addition to the information that is required under paragraph (f)(2) of this section, including, if applicable, information relating to an application for partition under section 4233 of ERISA (such as the model notice at Appendix A of 29 CFR part 4233), provided that the requirements of paragraph (f)(3)(iv) of this section are satisfied.

(iv)No false or misleading information. A notice given under paragraph (f)(1) of this section may not include false or misleading information (or omit information in a manner that causes the information provided to be misleading).

(4)Other notice requirement. Any notice given under paragraph (f)(1) of this section satisfies the requirement for notice of a significant reduction in benefits described in section 4980F that would otherwise be required as a result of that suspension of benefits. To the extent that there are other reductions that accompany a suspension of benefits, such as a reduction in the future accrual rate described in section 4980F for active participants or a reduction in adjustable benefits under section 432(e)(8), notice that satisfies the requirements (including the applicable timing requirements) of section 4980F or section 432(e)(8), as applicable, must be provided.

(5)Examples. The following examples illustrate the requirement in paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section to give notice to all participants, beneficiaries of deceased participants, and alternate payees, except those who cannot be contacted by reasonable efforts.

Example 1.
(i)Facts. A plan sponsor distributes notice of a proposed suspension of benefits to plan participants, beneficiaries of deceased participants, and alternate payees by mailing the notice to their last known mailing addresses, using the same information that it used to send the most recent annual funding notice. Of 5,000 such notices, 300 were returned as undeliverable. The plan sponsor takes no additional steps to contact the individuals for whom the notice was returned as undeliverable.

(ii)Conclusion. The plan sponsor did not make any effort beyond the initial mailing to locate the 300 individuals for whom the notice was returned as undeliverable. Therefore, the plan sponsor did not satisfy the requirement to provide notice to all participants, beneficiaries of deceased participants, and alternate payees under the plan (regardless of whether their benefits are proposed to be suspended), except those who cannot be contacted by reasonable efforts.

Example 2. -
(i)Facts. The facts are the same as Example 1, but the plan sponsor contacts the bargaining parties for the plan and the plan administrators of any other employee benefit plans that the plan sponsor reasonably believes may have information useful for locating the missing individuals, and the plan sponsor requests contact information for the missing individuals. The plan sponsor then uses an Internet search tool, a credit reporting agency, and a commercial locator service to search for individuals for whom it was not able to obtain updated information from bargaining parties. Through these efforts, the plan sponsor locates the updated addresses of 250 of the 300 individuals whom it previously failed to contact. The plan sponsor mails notices to those individuals within one week of locating them.

(ii)Conclusion. By using effective search methods to find the previously missing individuals and promptly mailing the notice of suspension to them, the plan sponsor has satisfied the requirement to provide notice to all participants, beneficiaries of deceased participants, and alternate payees under the plan (regardless of whether their benefits are proposed to be suspended), except those who cannot be contacted by reasonable efforts.

(g)Approval or denial of an application for suspension of benefits -

(1)Application -

(i)In general. The plan sponsor of a plan in critical and declining status for a plan year that seeks to suspend benefits must submit an application for approval of the proposed suspension of benefits to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, will approve a complete application described in paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section upon finding that -

(A) The plan is eligible for the proposed suspension described in the application;

(B) The plan actuary and plan sponsor satisfy the requirements of section 432(e)(9)(C) in accordance with the rules of paragraph (c) of this section;

(C) The design of the proposed suspension described in the application satisfies the criteria of section 432(e)(9)(D) in accordance with the rules of paragraphs (d) of this section; and

(D) The plan sponsor satisfies the requirements of section 432(e)(9)(E) and (F) in accordance with the rules of paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section.

(ii)Complete application. After receiving a submission, the plan sponsor will be notified within two business days whether the submission constitutes a complete application. A complete application will be treated as submitted on the date that it was originally submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury. If a submission is incomplete, the notification will inform the plan sponsor of the information that is needed to complete the submission and give the plan sponsor a reasonable opportunity to submit a complete application. In such a case, the complete application will be treated as submitted on the date on which the additional information needed to complete the application is submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury.

(iii)Submission of application. An application described in this paragraph (g)(1) must be submitted electronically in a searchable format.

(iv)Requirements for application. Additional guidance that may be necessary or appropriate with respect to applications described in this paragraph (g)(1), including procedures for submitting applications and the information required to be included in a complete application, may be published in the form of revenue procedures, notices, or other guidance in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

(v)Requirement to provide adequate time to process application -

(A)General rule. An application for suspension that is not submitted in combination with an application to PBGC for a plan partition under section 4233 of ERISA generally will not be accepted unless the proposed effective date of the suspension is at least nine months from the date on which the application is submitted.

(B)Earlier effective date in appropriate circumstances. Nothwithstanding paragraph (g)(1)(v)(A) of this section, in appropriate circumstances the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, may permit a proposed suspension to have an earlier effective date.

(vi)Plan sponsors that also apply for partition. See part 4233 of the PBGC regulations for a coordinated application process that applies in the case of a plan sponsor that is submitting an application for suspension in combination with an application to PBGC for a plan partition under section 4233 of ERISA.

(2)Solicitation of comments -

(i)In general. Not later than 30 days after receipt of a complete application described in paragraph (g)(1) of this section -

(A) The application for approval of the suspension of benefits will be published on the Web site of the Department of the Treasury; and

(B) The Secretary of the Treasury will publish a notice in the Federal Register soliciting comments from contributing employers, employee organizations, and participants and beneficiaries of the plan for which an application was made, and other interested parties.

(ii)Public comments. The notice described in paragraph (g)(2)(i)(B) of this section will generally request that comments be submitted no later than 45 days after publication of that notice in the Federal Register, but the notice may specify a different deadline for comments in appropriate circumstances. Comments received in response to this notice will be made publicly available.

(3)Special rules in the case of revision to proposed suspension -

(i)Resubmission review available in certain circumstances. The Secretary of the Treasury (in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor) has the discretion, in appropriate circumstances, to permit the plan sponsor to submit a revision of a proposed suspension that had been withdrawn for resubmission review. With respect to an application that is accepted for resubmission review -

(A) The rules of paragraph (g)(1)(v)(B) of this section will apply;

(B) The limitations of paragraph (d) of this section with respect to the revised proposed suspension may be applied using the same actuarial data (including the same fair market value of the plan assets) as was used in the initial application;

(C) The revision to the proposed suspension will be published, and comments solicited, in accordance with paragraph (g)(2) of this section; and

(D) The plan sponsor must provide notice of the revised proposed suspension in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (g)(3)(ii) of this section.

(ii)Requirement to provide updated notice to affected participants -

(A)General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (g)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, a plan sponsor that revises a proposed suspension in accordance with this paragraph (g)(3) must provide notice of the suspension in accordance with the rules of paragraph (f) of this section.

(B)Treatment of participants who are not affected by the revision. If the revision to the proposed suspension changes neither the amount of the suspension as initially proposed nor the effective date of the proposed suspension for an affected individual, then the Secretary of the Treasury (in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor) may permit the plan sponsor to provide a simplified version of the notice of the suspension to that individual. For this purpose, the effective date of a suspension is determined without taking into account the second sentence of paragraph (a)(4)(iii)(C) of this section.

(4)Approval or denial -

(i)Deemed approval. A complete application described in paragraph (g)(1)(ii) of this section will be deemed approved unless, within 225 days following the date that the complete application is submitted, the Secretary of the Treasury notifies the plan sponsor that its application does not satisfy one or more of the requirements described in this paragraph (g).

(ii)Notice of denial. If the Secretary of the Treasury denies a plan sponsor's application, the notification of the denial will detail the specific reasons for the denial, including reference to the specific requirement not satisfied.

(iii)Special rules for systemically important plans. If the Secretary of the Treasury approves a plan sponsor's application and the Secretary expects that the plan is or may be a systemically important plan (as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv) of this section), the Secretary will so notify the plan sponsor. In that case, and in the event of a vote to reject the suspension (as described in paragraph (h)(4) of this section), the plan sponsor may be required to supply individual participant data and any actuarial analyses that the Secretary may request, in order to assist the Secretary in determining whether to permit the implementation of the suspension that was approved by the Secretary but rejected by a majority of the eligible voters or the implementation of a modification of that suspension.

(iv)Agreement to stay 225-day period. The Secretary of the Treasury and the plan sponsor may mutually agree in writing to stay the 225-day period described in paragraph (g)(3)(i) of this section.

(5)Consideration of certain factors. In evaluating whether the plan sponsor has satisfied the requirement of paragraph (c)(3)(i)(A) of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, will review the plan sponsor's consideration of each of the factors under paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section (and any other factor that the plan sponsor considered).

(6)Standard for accepting plan sponsor determinations. In evaluating the plan sponsor's application, the Secretary of the Treasury will accept the plan sponsor's determinations in paragraph (c)(3) of this section unless the Secretary concludes, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, that the determinations were clearly erroneous.

(7)Plan sponsor certifications with respect to plan amendments. The plan sponsor will not satisfy the requirements of paragraph (g)(1)(i)(B) and (D) of this section unless the plan sponsor certifies that if the plan sponsor receives final authorization to suspend as described in paragraph (h)(6) of this section with respect to the proposed benefit suspension (or, in the case of a systemically important plan, a proposed or modified benefit suspension), the plan sponsor chooses to implement the suspension, and the plan sponsor adopts the amendment described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, then it will timely amend the plan to provide that -

(i) If the plan sponsor fails to make the annual determinations under section 432(e)(9)(C)(ii), then the suspension of benefits will cease as of the first day of the first plan year following the plan year in which the plan sponsor fails to make the annual plan sponsor determinations in paragraph (c)(4) of this section; and

(ii) Any future benefit improvement must satisfy the requirements of section 432(e)(9)(E).

(8)Special Master. The Secretary of the Treasury may appoint a Special Master for purposes of this section. If a Special Master is appointed, the Special Master will coordinate the implementation of this section and the review of applications for the suspension of benefits and other appropriate documents, and will provide recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to decisions required under this section.

(h)Participant vote on proposed benefit reduction -

(1)Requirement for vote -

(i)In general. If an application for suspension is approved under paragraph (g) of this section, then the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, will administer a vote as described in section 432(e)(9)(H) and this paragraph (h). A suspension of benefits may not take effect before the vote and may only take effect after a final authorization to suspend benefits under paragraph (h)(6) of this section.

(ii)Communication by plan sponsor. The plan sponsor must take reasonable steps to inform eligible voters about the proposed suspension. This includes all eligible voters who may be contacted by reasonable efforts in accordance with paragraph (f)(1) of this section. Any eligible voter whom the plan sponsor has been able to locate through these means (or who has otherwise been located by the plan sponsor) must be -

(A) Included on the voting roster described in paragraph (h)(3)(iii)(B) of this section; and

(B) Sent a ballot described in paragraph (h)(3) of this section.

(iii)Eligible voters -

(A)General definition. For purpose of this paragraph (h), the term “eligible voters” means all plan participants (that is, active plan participants, deferred vested participants, and retirees) and beneficiaries of deceased participants.

(B)Voting roster. The voting roster includes those eligible voters to whom the notices described in paragraph (f) of this section were sent. If there is a plan participant or beneficiary who did not receive a notice but who is subsequently located by the plan sponsor, that individual must be included on the roster. Similarly, if an individual becomes a plan participant after the date the notices were sent, then the individual must be included on the roster. If a plan sponsor learns after the date the notices described in paragraph (f) of this section were sent that an eligible voter has died, then that deceased individual must not be included on the roster (but if that participant has a beneficiary entitled to benefits under the plan, the beneficiary must be added to the roster).

(2)Participant vote -

(i)In general. The participant vote described in paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section requires completion of the following steps -

(A) Distribution of the ballot package described in paragraph (h)(2)(iii) of this section to the eligible voters;

(B) Voting by eligible voters and collection and tabulation of the votes, as described in paragraph (h)(2)(iv) of this section; and

(C) Determination of whether a majority of the eligible voters has voted to reject the suspension, as described in paragraph (h)(2)(v) of this section.

(ii)Designation of service provider for limited functions. The Secretary of the Treasury is permitted to designate one or more service providers to perform, under the supervision of the Secretary, any of the functions of the Secretary described in paragraphs (h)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section. If the Secretary designates a service provider to perform these functions then the service provider will provide the Secretary with a written report of the results of the vote, including (as applicable) -

(A) The number of ballot packages distributed to eligible voters;

(B) The number of eligible voters to whom ballot packages have not been provided (because the individuals could not be located);

(C) The number of eligible voters who voted (specifying the number of affirmative votes and the number of negative votes cast); and

(D) Any other information that the Secretary requires.

(iii)Distribution of the ballot package to the eligible voters -

(A)Ballot package. The ballot package distributed to each eligible voter consists of -

(1) A ballot, approved under paragraph (h)(3)(iii) of this section, which contains the items described in section 432(e)(9)(H)(iii) and paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section; and

(2) A voter identification code assigned to the eligible voter for use in voting.

(B)Plan sponsor responsibilities -

(1)In general. This paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(B) sets forth the responsibilities of the plan sponsor with respect to the distribution of the ballot package to the eligible voters.

(2)Furnish information regarding eligible voters. No later than 7 days following the date the Secretary of the Treasury has approved an application for a suspension of benefits under paragraph (g) of this section, the plan sponsor must furnish the following -

(i) The voting roster described in paragraph (h)(1)(iii)(B) of this section;

(ii) Plan information (such as participant identification codes used by the plan) to enable the Secretary of the Treasury to verify the identity of each eligible voter;

(iii) For each eligible voter on the voting roster, the last known mailing address (or, if the plan sponsor has been unable to locate that individual using the standards that apply for purposes of paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section, an indication that the individual could not be located through reasonable efforts);

(iv) Current electronic mailing addresses for those eligible voters identified in paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(B)(4) of this section; and

(v) The individualized estimates described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(A) of this section (or, if an individualized estimate is no longer accurate for an eligible voter, a corrected version of that estimate).

(3)Communication with eligible voters. In accordance with section 432(e)(9)(H)(iv) and paragraph (h)(1)(ii) of this section, the plan sponsor is responsible for communicating with eligible voters, which includes -

(i) Notifying the eligible voters described in paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(B)(4) of this section that a ballot package will be mailed to them by first-class U.S. mail; and

(ii) Making reasonable efforts (using the standards that apply for purposes of paragraph (f)(1)(i) of this section) as necessary to locate eligible voters for whom the plan sponsor has received notification that the mailed ballot packages are returned as undeliverable (so that ballot packages can be sent to those eligible voters).

(4)Eligible voters to receive electronic notification. Those eligible voters whom the plan sponsor must notify electronically are -

(i) Eligible voters who previously received the notice described in paragraph (f) of this section in electronic form (as permitted under paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section), and

(ii) Any other eligible voters who regularly receive plan-related communications from the plan sponsor in electronic form.

(5)Method of notifying certain eligible voters. The notification described in paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(B)(3)(i) of this section for an eligible voter must be made using the electronic form normally used to send plan-related communications to that voter (or the form used to provide the notice in paragraph (f) of this section, if different). The plan sponsor must send this notification promptly after being informed of the ballot distribution date (within the meaning of paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(D) of this section) and the notification must include the ballot distribution date.

(6)Pay costs associated with distribution. The plan sponsor is responsible for paying all costs associated with printing, assembling, and distributing the ballot package, including postage.

(C)Required method of distributing ballot package. Ballot packages must be distributed to eligible voters by first-class U.S. mail. A supplemental copy of the mailed ballot package may also be sent by an electronic communication to an eligible voter who has consented to receive electronic communications.

(D)Timing. Ballot packages will be distributed to eligible voters no later than 30 days after the Secretary of the Treasury has approved an application for a suspension of benefits under paragraph (g) of this section. The date on which the ballot packages are mailed to the eligible voters is referred to as the ballot distribution date.

(iv)Collection and tabulation of votes cast by eligible voters -

(A)Voting period. The voting period is the period during which a vote received from an eligible voter will be counted. The voting period begins on the ballot distribution date. The voting period generally remains open until the 30th day following the date the Secretary of the Treasury has approved an application for a suspension of benefits under paragraph (g) of this section. However, the voting period will not close earlier than 21 days after the ballot distribution date. In addition, the Secretary (in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor) may specify a later date to end the voting period in appropriate circumstances.

(B)Automated voting system must be provided. An automated voting system that meets the requirements of paragraph (h)(2)(iv)(C) of this section must be made available to voters for casting their votes. In appropriate circumstances, the Secretary may, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, allow voters to cast votes by mail in lieu of using the automated voting system.

(C)Automated voting system. An automated voting system meets the requirements of this paragraph (h)(2)(iv)(C) only if the system -

(1) Collects votes cast by eligible voters both electronically (through a Web site) and telephonically (through a toll-free number allowing voters to cast their votes using both a touch-tone voting system and an interactive voice response system); and

(2) Accepts only votes cast during the voting period by an eligible voter who provides the eligible voter's identification code described in paragraph (h)(2)(iii)(A)(2) of this section.

(D)Policies and procedures. The Secretary of the Treasury (in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor) may establish such policies and procedures as may be necessary to facilitate the administration of the vote under this paragraph (h)(2). These policies and procedures may include, but are not limited to, establishing a process for an eligible voter to challenge the vote.

(v)Determination of whether a majority of the eligible voters has voted to reject the suspension. Within 7 calendar days after the end of the voting period, the Secretary of the Treasury (in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor) will -

(A) Certify that a majority of all eligible voters has voted to reject the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section, or

(B) Issue a final authorization to suspend as described in paragraph (h)(6) of this section.

(3)Ballots -

(i)In general. The plan sponsor must provide a ballot for the vote that includes the following -

(A) A description of the proposed suspension and its effect, including the effect of the suspension on each category or group of individuals affected by the suspension and the extent to which they are affected;

(B) A description of the factors considered by the plan sponsor in designing the benefit suspension, including but not limited to the factors in paragraph (d)(6)(ii) of this section;

(C) A description of whether the suspension will remain in effect indefinitely or will expire by its own terms (and, if it will expire by its own terms, when that will occur);

(D) A statement from the plan sponsor in support of the proposed suspension;

(E) A statement in opposition to the proposed suspension compiled from comments received pursuant to the solicitation of comments pursuant to paragraph (g)(2) of this section;

(F) A statement that the proposed suspension has been approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor;

(G) A statement that the plan sponsor has determined that the plan will become insolvent unless the proposed suspension takes effect (including the year in which insolvency is projected to occur without a suspension of benefits), and an accompanying statement that this determination is subject to uncertainty;

(H) A statement that insolvency of the plan could result in benefits lower than benefits paid under the proposed suspension and a description of the projected benefit payments in the event of plan insolvency;

(I) A statement that insolvency of PBGC would result in benefits lower than benefits otherwise paid in the case of plan insolvency;

(J) A statement that the plan's actuary has certified that the plan is projected to avoid insolvency, taking into account the proposed suspension of benefits (and, if applicable, a proposed partition of the plan), and an accompanying statement that the actuary's projection is subject to uncertainty;

(K) A statement that the suspension will go into effect unless a majority of all eligible voters vote to reject the suspension and that, therefore, a failure to vote has the same effect on the outcome of the vote as a vote in favor of the suspension;

(L) A copy of the individualized estimate described in paragraph (f)(2)(i)(A) of this section (or, if that individualized estimate is no longer accurate, a corrected version of that estimate); and

(M) A description of the voting procedures, including the deadline for voting.

(ii)Additional rules -

(A)Readability requirement. A ballot provided under section 432(e)(9)(H)(iii), in accordance with the rules of paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section, must be written in a manner that is readily understandable by the average plan participant.

(B)No false or misleading information. A ballot provided under section 432(e)(9)(H)(iii), in accordance with the rules of paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section, may not include false or misleading information (or omit information in a manner that causes the information provided to be misleading).

(iii)Ballot must be approved. Any ballot provided under section 432(e)(9)(H)(iii), in accordance with the rules of paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section, must be approved by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, before it is provided.

(iv)Statement in opposition to the proposed suspension. The statement in opposition to the proposed suspension that is prepared from comments received on the application, as required under section 432(e)(9)(H)(iii)(II), will be compiled by the Secretary of Labor and will be written in accordance with the rules of paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section. If no comments in opposition are received, the statement in opposition to the proposed suspension will include a statement indicating that there were no such comments.

(v)Model ballot. Model language for use in the ballot may be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.

(4)Implementing suspension following vote -

(i)In general. Unless a majority of all eligible voters vote to reject the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section, the suspension will be permitted to take effect. If a majority of all eligible voters vote to reject the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section, a suspension of benefits will not be permitted to take effect except as provided under paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section relating to the implementation of a suspension for a systemically important plan (as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv) of this section).

(ii)Effect of not sending ballot. Any eligible voters to whom ballots have not been provided (because the individuals could not be located) will be treated as voting to reject the suspension at the same rate (in other words, in the same percentage) as those to whom ballots have been provided.

(5)Systemically important plans -

(i)In general. If a majority of all eligible voters vote to reject the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury will consult with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor to determine if the plan is a systemically important plan. This determination will be made no later than 14 days after the results of the vote are certified.

(ii)Recommendations from Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate. If the plan is determined to be a systemically important plan, then, no later than 44 days after the results of the vote are certified, the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate selected under section 4004 of ERISA may submit recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section or any modifications to the suspension.

(iii)Implementation of original or modified suspension by systemically important plans. If a plan is a systemically important plan for which a majority of all eligible voters vote to reject the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section, then the Secretary of the Treasury must determine whether to permit the implementation of the suspension that was approved under paragraph (g) of this section or whether to permit the implementation of a modification of that suspension. Under any such modification, the plan must be projected to avoid insolvency in accordance with section 432(e)(9)(D)(iv). No later than 60 days after the results of a vote to reject a suspension are certified, the Secretary of the Treasury will notify the plan sponsor that the suspension or modified suspension is permitted to be implemented.

(iv)Systemically important plan defined -

(A)In general. For purposes of this paragraph (h)(5), a systemically important plan is a plan with respect to which PBGC projects that the present value of its financial assistance payments will exceed $1.0 billion (adjusted in accordance with paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(B) of this section to the calendar year in which the application is submitted) if the suspension is not implemented.

(B)Indexing. For calendar years beginning after 2015, the dollar amount specified in paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(A) of this section will be replaced with an amount equal to the product of the dollar amount and a fraction, the numerator of which is the contribution and benefit base (determined under section 230 of the Social Security Act) for the preceding calendar year and the denominator of which is the contribution and benefit base for calendar year 2014. If the amount otherwise determined under this paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(B) is not a multiple of $1.0 million, the amount will be rounded to the next lowest multiple of $1.0 million.

(6)Final authorization to suspend -

(i)In general. In any case in which a suspension is permitted to take effect following a vote pursuant to section 432(e)(9)(H)(ii) and paragraph (h)(4) of this section, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, will issue a final authorization to suspend with respect to the suspension not later than seven days after the vote.

(ii)Systemically important plans. In any case in which a suspension is permitted to take effect following a determination under paragraph (h)(5) of this section that the plan is a systemically important plan, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with PBGC and the Secretary of Labor, will issue a final authorization to suspend, at a time sufficient to allow the implementation of the suspension prior to the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date the results of the vote are certified.

(iii)Plan partitions. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, in any case in which a suspension of benefits with respect to a plan is made in combination with a partition of the plan, the suspension of benefits is not permitted to take effect prior to the effective date of the partition.

(i) [Reserved].

(j)Effective/applicability date. This section applies with respect to suspensions for which the approval or denial is issued on or after April 26, 2016 and, in the case of a systemically important plan, any modification described in paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section that is implemented on or after April 26, 2016.

[T.D. 9765, 81 FR 25557, Apr. 28, 2016, as amended by T.D. 9767, 81 FR 27015, May 5, 2016]

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

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

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


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

§ 1 - Tax imposed

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

§ 23 - Adoption expenses

§ 25 - Interest on certain home mortgages

§ 25A - Hope and Lifetime Learning credits

§ 28 - Renumbered § 45C]

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

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

§ 38 - General business credit

§ 40 - Alcohol, etc., used as fuel

§ 41 - Credit for increasing research activities

§ 42 - Low-income housing credit

§ 43 - Enhanced oil recovery credit

§ 45D - New markets tax credit

§ 46 - Amount of credit

§ 47 - Rehabilitation credit

§ 52 - Special rules

§ 56 - Adjustments in computing alternative minimum taxable income

§ 58 - Denial of certain losses

§ 61 - Gross income defined

§ 62 - Adjusted gross income defined

§ 66 - Treatment of community income

§ 67 - 2-percent floor on miscellaneous itemized deductions

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

§ 101 - Certain death benefits

§ 103 - Interest on State and local bonds

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

§ 108 - Income from discharge of indebtedness

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

§ 129 - Dependent care assistance programs

§ 132 - Certain fringe benefits

§ 148 - Arbitrage

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

§ 150 - Definitions and special rules

§ 152 - Dependent defined

§ 162 - Trade or business expenses

§ 163 - Interest

§ 165 - Losses

§ 166 - Bad debts

§ 168 - Accelerated cost recovery system

§ 170 - Charitable, etc., contributions and gifts

§ 171 - Amortizable bond premium

§ 179 - Election to expense certain depreciable business assets

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

§ 197 - Amortization of goodwill and certain other intangibles

§ 199 - Income attributable to domestic production activities

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

§ 221 - Interest on education loans

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

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

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

§ 280C - Certain expenses for which credits are allowable

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

§ 280G - Golden parachute payments

§ 301 - Distributions of property

§ 304 - Redemption through use of related corporations

§ 305 - Distributions of stock and stock rights

§ 324

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

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

§ 338 - Certain stock purchases treated as asset acquisitions

§ 351 - Transfer to corporation controlled by transferor

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

§ 357 - Assumption of liability

§ 358 - Basis to distributees

§ 362 - Basis to corporations

§ 367 - Foreign corporations

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

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

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

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

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

§ 403 - Taxation of employee annuities

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

§ 408 - Individual retirement accounts

§ 408A - Roth IRAs

§ 409 - Qualifications for tax credit employee stock ownership plans

§ 410 - Minimum participation standards

§ 411 - Minimum vesting standards

§ 414 - Definitions and special rules

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

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

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

§ 441 - Period for computation of taxable income

§ 442 - Change of annual accounting period

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

§ 446 - General rule for methods of accounting

§ 453 - Installment method

§ 453A - Special rules for nondealers

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

§ 460 - Special rules for long-term contracts

§ 461 - General rule for taxable year of deduction

§ 465 - Deductions limited to amount at risk

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

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

§ 468A - Special rules for nuclear decommissioning costs

§ 468B - Special rules for designated settlement funds

§ 469 - Passive activity losses and credits limited

§ 471 - General rule for inventories

§ 472 - Last-in, first-out inventories

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

§ 481 - Adjustments required by changes in method of accounting

§ 482 - Allocation of income and deductions among taxpayers

§ 483 - Interest on certain deferred payments

§ 493

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

§ 514 - Unrelated debt-financed income

§ 527 - Political organizations

§ 585 - Reserves for losses on loans of banks

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

§ 642 - Special rules for credits and deductions

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

§ 645 - Certain revocable trusts treated as part of estate

§ 663 - Special rules applicable to sections 661 and 662

§ 664 - Charitable remainder trusts

§ 672 - Definitions and rules

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

§ 701 - Partners, not partnership, subject to tax

§ 702 - Income and credits of partner

§ 703 - Partnership computations

§ 704 - Partner’s distributive share

§ 705 - Determination of basis of partner’s interest

§ 706 - Taxable years of partner and partnership

§ 707 - Transactions between partner and partnership

§ 708 - Continuation of partnership

§ 709 - Treatment of organization and syndication fees

§ 721 - Nonrecognition of gain or loss on contribution

§ 722 - Basis of contributing partner’s interest

§ 723 - Basis of property contributed to partnership

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

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

§ 732 - Basis of distributed property other than money

§ 733 - Basis of distributee partner’s interest

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

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

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

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

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

§ 742 - Basis of transferee partner’s interest

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

§ 751 - Unrealized receivables and inventory items

§ 752 - Treatment of certain liabilities

§ 753 - Partner receiving income in respect of decedent

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

§ 755 - Rules for allocation of basis

§ 761 - Terms defined

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

§ 817A - Special rules for modified guaranteed contracts

§ 832 - Insurance company taxable income

§ 845 - Certain reinsurance agreements

§ 846 - Discounted unpaid losses defined

§ 848 - Capitalization of certain policy acquisition expenses

§ 852 - Taxation of regulated investment companies and their shareholders

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

§ 860G - Other definitions and special rules

§ 863 - Special rules for determining source

§ 864 - Definitions and special rules

§ 865 - Source rules for personal property sales

§ 874 - Allowance of deductions and credits

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

§ 883 - Exclusions from gross income

§ 884 - Branch profits tax

§ 892 - Income of foreign governments and of international organizations

§ 894 - Income affected by treaty

§ 897 - Disposition of investment in United States real property

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

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

§ 904 - Limitation on credit

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

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

§ 924

§ 925

§ 927

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

§ 936 - Puerto Rico and possession tax credit

§ 937 - Residence and source rules involving possessions

§ 954 - Foreign base company income

§ 956 - Investment of earnings in United States property

§ 957 - Controlled foreign corporations; United States persons

§ 960 - Special rules for foreign tax credit

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

§ 985 - Functional currency

§ 987 - Branch transactions

§ 988 - Treatment of certain foreign currency transactions

§ 989 - Other definitions and special rules

§ 1017 - Discharge of indebtedness

§ 1032 - Exchange of stock for property

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

§ 1060 - Special allocation rules for certain asset acquisitions

§ 1092 - Straddles

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

§ 1221 - Capital asset defined

§ 1244 - Losses on small business stock

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

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

§ 1275 - Other definitions and special rules

§ 1286 - Tax treatment of stripped bonds

§ 1291 - Interest on tax deferral

§ 1293 - Current taxation of income from qualified electing funds

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

§ 1295 - Qualified electing fund

§ 1296 - Election of mark to market for marketable stock

§ 1297 - Passive foreign investment company

§ 1298 - Special rules

§ 1301 - Averaging of farm income

§ 1361 - S corporation defined

§ 1368 - Distributions

§ 1374 - Tax imposed on certain built-in gains

§ 1377 - Definitions and special rule

§ 1378 - Taxable year of S corporation

§ 1397D - Qualified zone property defined

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

§ 1402 - Definitions

§ 1441 - Withholding of tax on nonresident aliens

§ 1443 - Foreign tax-exempt organizations

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

§ 1471 - Withholdable payments to foreign financial institutions

§ 1472 - Withholdable payments to other foreign entities

§ 1473 - Definitions

§ 1474 - Special rules

§ 1502 - Regulations

§ 1503 - Computation and payment of tax

§ 1504 - Definitions

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

§ 3401 - Definitions

§ 5000 - Certain group health plans

§ 5000A - Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage

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

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

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

§ 6033 - Returns by exempt organizations

§ 6035 - Basis information to persons acquiring property from decedent

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

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

§ 6038B - Notice of certain transfers to foreign persons

§ 6038D - Information with respect to foreign financial assets

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

§ 6041 - Information at source

§ 6043 - Liquidating, etc., transactions

§ 6045 - Returns of brokers

§ 6046A - Returns as to interests in foreign partnerships

§ 6049 - Returns regarding payments of interest

§ 6050E - State and local income tax refunds

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

§ 6050I-1

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

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

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

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

§ 6060 - Information returns of tax return preparers

§ 6061 - Signing of returns and other documents

§ 6065 - Verification of returns

§ 6081 - Extension of time for filing returns

§ 6103 - Confidentiality and disclosure of returns and return information

§ 6109 - Identifying numbers

§ 6302 - Mode or time of collection

§ 6402 - Authority to make credits or refunds

§ 6411 - Tentative carryback and refund adjustments

§ 6655 - Failure by corporation to pay estimated income tax

§ 6662 - Imposition of accuracy-related penalty on underpayments

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

§ 6851 - Termination assessments of income tax

§ 7520 - Valuation tables

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

§ 7701 - Definitions

§ 7702 - Life insurance contract defined

§ 7805 - Rules and regulations

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

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

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

Reorganization ... 1978 Plan No. 4

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

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

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

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