26 CFR § 1.512(a)-5 - Questions and answers relating to the unrelated business taxable income of organizations described in paragraphs (9) or (17) of section 501(c).

§ 1.512(a)-5 Questions and answers relating to the unrelated business taxable income of organizations described in paragraphs (9) or (17) of section 501(c).

(a)

(1) Q-1. What does section 512(a)(3) provide with respect to organizations described in paragraphs (9) or (17) of section 501(c)?

(2) A-1.

(i) In general, section 512(a)(3) provides rules for determining the unrelated business income tax of voluntary employees' beneficiary associations (VEBAs) and supplemental unemployment benefit trusts (SUBs). Under section 512(a)(3)(A), a Covered Entity's “unrelated business taxable income” (UBTI) means all income except exempt function income. Under section 512(a)(3)(B), exempt function income includes income that is set aside for exempt purposes, as described in paragraph (b) of this section, subject to certain limits, as described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(ii) For purposes of this section, a “Covered Entity” means a VEBA or a SUB, and, to the extent provided in section 512(a)(3)(C), a corporation described in section 501(c)(2).

(b)

(1) Q-2. What is exempt function income?

(2) A-2.

(i) Under section 512(a)(3)(B), the exempt function income of a Covered Entity for a taxable year means the sum of -

(A) Amounts referred to in the first sentence of section 512(a)(3)(B) that are paid by members of the Covered Entity and employer contributions to the Covered Entity (collectively “member contributions”);

(B) Other income of the Covered Entity (including earnings on member contributions) that is set aside for a purpose specified in section 170(c)(4) and reasonable costs of administration directly connected with such purpose; and

(C) Other income of the Covered Entity (including earnings on member contributions) that, subject to the limitation of section 512(a)(3)(E) (as described in paragraph (c) of this section), is set aside for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits and reasonable costs of administration directly connected with such purpose.

(ii) The other income described in paragraphs (b)(2)(i)(B) and (C) of this section does not include the gross income derived from any unrelated trade or business (as defined in section 513) regularly carried on by the Covered Entity, computed as if the organization were subject to section 512(a)(1).

(c)

(1) Q-3. What are the limits on the amount that may be set aside?

(2) A-3.

(i) Pursuant to section 512(a)(3)(E)(i), and except as provided in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, the amount of investment income (as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section) set aside by a Covered Entity as of the close of a taxable year of such Covered Entity to provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits (and administrative costs associated with the provision of such benefits) is not taken into account for purposes of determining the amount of that income that constitutes “exempt function income” to the extent that the total amount of the assets of the Covered Entity at the end of the taxable year set aside to provide for the payment of life, sick, accident, or other benefits (and related administrative costs) exceeds the applicable account limit for such taxable year of the Covered Entity (as described in paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this section). Accordingly, any investment income a Covered Entity earns during the taxable year is subject to unrelated business income tax to the extent the Covered Entity's year-end assets exceed the applicable account limit. The rule in this paragraph (c)(2) applies regardless of whether the Covered Entity spends or retains (or is deemed to spend or deemed to retain) that investment income during the course of the year. Thus, in addition to the unrelated business taxable income derived by a Covered Entity from any unrelated trade or business (as defined in section 513) regularly carried on by it, computed as if the organization were subject to section 512(a)(1), the unrelated business taxable income of a Covered Entity for a taxable year of such an organization includes the lesser of -

(A) The investment income of the Covered Entity for the taxable year; and

(B) The excess (if any) of -

(1) The total amount of the assets of the Covered Entity (excluding amounts set aside for a purpose described in section 170(c)(4)) as of the close of the taxable year; over

(2) The applicable account limit for the taxable year.

(ii) In accordance with section 512(a)(3)(E)(iii), a Covered Entity is not subject to the limits described in this paragraph (c) if substantially all of the contributions to the Covered Entity are made by employers who were tax exempt throughout the five year taxable period ending with the taxable year in which the contributions are made.

(iii) For purposes of this section, a Covered Entity's “investment income” -

(A) Means all income except -

(1) Member contributions described in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section;

(2) Income set aside as described in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section; or

(3) Income from any unrelated trade or business described in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section; and

(B) Includes gain realized by the Covered Entity on the sale or disposition of any asset during such year (other than gain on the sale or disposition of assets of an unrelated trade or business described in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section), except to the extent provided in section 512(a)(3)(D).

(C) For purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(B) of this section, the gain realized by a Covered Entity on the sale or disposition of an asset is equal to the amount realized by the organization over the basis of such asset in the hands of the organization reduced by any qualified direct costs attributable to such asset (under paragraphs (b), (c), and (d) of Q&A-6 of § 1.419A-1T).

(iv) In calculating the total amount of the assets of a Covered Entity as of the close of the taxable year, certain assets with useful lives extending substantially beyond the end of the taxable year (for example, buildings and licenses) are not to be taken into account to the extent they are used in the provision of life, sick, accident, or other benefits. By contrast, cash and securities (and other similar investments) held by a Covered Entity are taken into account in calculating the total amount of the assets of a Covered Entity as of the close of the taxable year because they may be used to pay welfare benefits, rather than merely used in the provision of such benefits.

(v) The determination of the applicable account limit for purposes of this paragraph (c) is made under the rules of sections 419A(c) and 419A(f)(7), except that a reserve for post-retirement medical benefits under section 419A(c)(2)(A) is not to be taken into account. See § 1.419A-2T for special rules relating to collectively bargained welfare benefit funds.

(vi) The limits of this paragraph (c) apply to a Covered Entity that is part of a 10 or more employer plan, as defined in section 419A(f)(6). For purposes of this paragraph (c), the account limit is determined as if the plan is not subject to the exception under section 419A(f)(6).

(vii) The following examples illustrate the calculation of a VEBA's UBTI.

(A) Example 1.

(1) Employer X establishes a VEBA as of January 1, 2015, through which it provides health benefits to active employees. The plan year is the calendar year. The VEBA has no employee contributions or member dues, receives no income from an unrelated trade or business regularly carried on by the VEBA, and has no income set aside for a purpose specified in section 170(c)(4). The VEBA's investment income in 2020 is $1,000. As of December 31, 2020, the applicable account limit under section 512(a)(3)(E)(i) is $5,000 and the total amount of assets of the VEBA is $7,000.

(2) The VEBA's UBTI for 2020 is $1,000. This is because the UBTI is the lesser of the investment income for the year ($1,000) and the excess of the VEBA assets over the account limit at the end of the year ($7,000 over $5,000, or $2,000).

(B) Example 2.

(1) The facts are the same as in the example in paragraph (c)(2)(vii)(A) of this section (Example 1), except that the VEBA's applicable account limit under section 512(a)(3)(E)(i) as of December 31, 2020, is $6,500.

(2) The VEBA's UBTI for 2020 is $500. This is because the UBTI for 2020 is the lesser of the investment income for the year ($1,000) and the excess of the VEBA assets over the account limit at the end of the year ($7,000 over $6,500, or $500).

(C) Example 3.

(1) Employer Y contributes to a VEBA through which Y provides health benefits to active and retired employees. The plan year is the calendar year. At the end of 2020, there was no carryover of excess contributions within the meaning of section 419(d), the balance in the VEBA was $25,000, the Incurred but Unpaid (IBU) claims reserve was $6,000, the reserve for post-retirement medical benefits (PRMB) (computed in accordance with section 419A(c)(2)) was $19,000, and there were no existing reserves within the meaning of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii). During 2021, the VEBA receives $70,000 in employer contributions and $5,000 in investment income, pays $72,000 in benefit payments and $7,000 in administrative expenses, and receives no income from an unrelated trade or business regularly carried on by the VEBA. All the 2021 benefit payments are with respect to active employees and the IBU claims reserve (that is, the account limit under section 419A(c)(1)) at the end of 2021 was $7,200. The reserve for PRMB at the end of 2021 is $20,000. All amounts designated as “administrative expenses” are expenses incurred in connection with the administration of the employee health benefits. “Investment income” is net of administrative costs incurred in the production of the investment income (for example, investment management and/or brokerage fees). Only employers contributed to the VEBA (that is, there were no employee contributions or member dues/fees). The VEBA does not set aside any income for the purpose specified in section 170(c)(4).

(2) The total amount of assets of the VEBA at the end of 2021 is $21,000 (that is, $25,000 beginning of year balance + $70,000 contributions + $5,000 investment income−($72,000 in benefit payments + $7,000 in administrative expenses)).

(3) The applicable account limit under section 512(a)(3)(E)(i) (that is, the account limit under section 419A(c), excluding the reserve for post-retirement medical benefits) is the IBU claims reserve ($7,200).

(4) The total amount of assets of the VEBA as of the close of the year ($21,000) exceeds the applicable account limit ($7,200) by $13,800.

(5) The unrelated business taxable income of the VEBA is $5,000 (that is, the lesser of investment income ($5,000) and the excess of the amount of assets of the VEBA as of the close of the taxable year over the applicable account limit ($13,800)).

(D) Example 4.

(1) The facts are the same as in the example in paragraph (c)(2)(vii)(C) of this section (Example 3) except that the 2020 year-end balance was $15,000.

(2) The total amount of assets in the VEBA at the end of 2021 is $11,000 (that is, $15,000 beginning of year balance + $70,000 contributions + $5,000 investment income−($72,000 in benefit payments + $7,000 in administrative expenses)).

(3) The applicable account limit under section 512(a)(3)(E)(i) remains $7,200.

(4) The total amount of assets of the VEBA as of the close of the year ($11,000) exceeds the applicable account limit ($7,200) by $3,800.

(5) The VEBA's unrelated business taxable income is $3,800 (that is, the lesser of investment income ($5,000) and the excess of the total amount of assets of the VEBA at the close of the taxable year over the applicable account limit ($3,800)).

(d)

(1) Q-4. What is the effective date of the amendments to section 512(a)(3) and what transition rules apply to “existing reserves for post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits”?

(2) A-4.

(i) The amendments to section 512(a)(3), made by the Tax Reform Act of 1984, apply to income earned by a Covered Entity after December 31, 1985, in the taxable years of such an organization ending after such date.

(ii) Section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) provides that income that is attributable to “existing reserves for post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits” will not be treated as unrelated business taxable income. This includes income that is either directly or indirectly attributable to existing reserves. An “existing reserve for post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits” (as defined in section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(II)) is the total amount of assets actually set aside by a Covered Entity on July 18, 1984 (calculated in the manner set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, and adjusted under paragraph (c) of Q&A-11 of § 1.419-1T), reduced by employer contributions to the fund on or before such date to the extent such contributions are not deductible for the taxable year of the employer including July 18, 1984, and for any prior taxable year of the employer, for purposes of providing such post-retirement benefits. For purposes of the preceding sentence only, an amount that was not actually set aside on July 18, 1984, will be treated as having been actually set aside on such date if the amount was -

(A) Incurred by the employer (without regard to section 461(h)) as of the close of the last taxable year of the Covered Entity ending before July 18, 1984; and

(B) Actually contributed to the Covered Entity within 8 1/2 months following the close of such taxable year.

(iii) In addition, section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) applies to existing reserves for such post-retirement benefits only to the extent that such “existing reserves” do not exceed the amount that could be accumulated under the principles set forth in Revenue Rulings 69-382, 1969-2 CB 28; 69-478, 1969-2 CB 29; and 73-599, 1973-2 CB 40. Thus, amounts attributable to any such excess “existing reserves” are not within the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) even though they were actually set aside on July 18, 1984. See § 601.601(d)(2)(ii)(b) of this chapter.

(iv) All post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits (or other benefits to the extent paid with amounts set aside to provide post-retirement medical or life insurance benefits) provided after July 18, 1984 (whether or not the employer has maintained a reserve or fund for such benefits) are to be charged, first, against the “existing reserves” within the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) (including amounts attributable to “existing reserves” within the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) for post-retirement medical benefits or for post-retirement life insurance benefits (as the case may be)) and, second, against all other amounts. For purposes of this paragraph (d)(2)(iv), the qualified direct cost of an asset with a useful life extending substantially beyond the end of the taxable year (as determined under Q&A-6 of § 1.419-1T) will be treated as a benefit provided and thus charged against the “existing reserve” based on the extent to which such asset is used in the provision of post-retirement medical benefits or post-retirement life insurance benefits (as the case may be). All plans of an employer providing post-retirement medical benefits are to be treated as one plan for purposes of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(III), and all plans of an employer providing post-retirement life insurance benefits are to be treated as one plan for purposes of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(III).

(v) In calculating the unrelated business taxable income of a Covered Entity for a taxable year of such organization, the total income of the Covered Entity for the taxable year is reduced by the income attributable to “existing reserves” within the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) before such income is compared to the excess of the total amount of the assets of the Covered Entity as of the close of the taxable year over the applicable account limit for the taxable year.

(vi) The following example illustrates the calculation of UBTI for a VEBA that has existing reserves.

(A) Example. Assume that the total income of a VEBA for a taxable year is $1,000, and that the excess of the total amount of the assets of the VEBA as of the close of the taxable year over the applicable account limit is $600. Assume also that of the $1,000 of total income, $540 is attributable to “existing reserves” within the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I). The unrelated business taxable income of this VEBA for the taxable year is $460, determined as the lesser of the following two amounts:

(1) The total income of the VEBA for the taxable year, reduced by the extent to which such income is attributable to “existing reserves” within the meaning of the transition rule of section 512(a)(3)(E)(ii)(I) ($1,000−$540 = $460); and

(2) The excess of the total amount of the assets of the VEBA as of the close of the taxable year over the applicable account limit ($600).

(B) [Reserved]

(e)

(1) Q-5. What is the applicability date of this section?

(2) A-5. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (e)(2), this section is applicable to taxable years beginning on or after December 10, 2019. For rules that apply to earlier periods, see § 1.512(a)-5T, as contained in 26 CFR part 1, revised April 1, 2019.

[T.D. 9886, 84 FR 67373, Dec. 10, 2019]