29 CFR § 2520.101-5 - Annual funding notice for defined benefit pension plans.

§ 2520.101-5 Annual funding notice for defined benefit pension plans.

(a) In general.

(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (a)(2) and (3) of this section, pursuant to section 101(f) of the Act, the administrator of a defined benefit plan to which title IV of the Act applies shall furnish annually to each person specified in paragraph (f) of this section a funding notice that conforms to the requirements of this section.

(2) A plan administrator shall not be required to furnish a funding notice -

(i) In the case of a multiemployer plan, for a plan year if the due date for such notice is on or after the earlier of:

(A) The date the plan complies with the insolvency notice requirements of section 4245(e) or 4281(d)(3) of the Act and regulations thereunder; or

(B) The date the plan has distributed assets in satisfaction of all nonforfeitable benefits under the plan pursuant to section 4041A of the Act and the regulations thereunder.

(ii) In the case of a single-employer plan, for a plan year if the due date for the funding notice is on or after the date:

(A) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is appointed as trustee of the plan pursuant to section 4042 of the Act;

(B) The plan has distributed assets in satisfaction of all benefit liabilities in a distress termination pursuant to section 4041(c)(3)(B)(i) of the Act or of all guaranteed benefits in a distress termination pursuant to section 4041(c)(3)(B)(ii) of the Act; or

(C) The plan administrator filed a standard termination notice with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation pursuant to 29 CFR 4041.25, provided that the proposed termination date is on or before the due date of the funding notice and a final distribution of assets in satisfaction of all benefit liabilities proceeds in accordance with section 4041(b) of the Act.

(3) In the case of a merger or consolidation of two or more plans -

(i) The plan administrator of a non-successor plan shall not be required to furnish a funding notice for the plan year in which the merger or consolidation occurred; and

(ii) The funding notice of the successor plan, for the plan year in which the merger or consolidation occurred, must, in addition to the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, contain a general explanation, including the effective date, of the merger or consolidation and an identification of each plan (e.g., name and plan number) involved in the merger or consolidation.

(b) Content of notice. A funding notice shall include the following information:

(1) Identifying information. The name of the plan, the name, address, and phone number of the plan administrator and the plan's principal administrative officer (if different than the plan administrator), each plan sponsor's name and employer identification number, and the plan number.

(2) Funding percentage -

(i) Single-employer plans. For single-employer plans, a statement as to whether the plan's funding target attainment percentage (as defined in section 303(d)(2) of the Act) for the notice year, and for each of the two preceding plan years, is at least 100 percent (and, if not, the actual percentages).

(ii) Multiemployer plans. For multiemployer plans, a statement as to whether the plan's funded percentage (as defined in section 305(i) of the Act) for the notice year, and for each of the two preceding plan years, is at least 100 percent (and, if not, the actual percentages).

(3) Assets and liabilities -

(i) Single-employer plans. For single-employer plans -

(A) A statement of the total assets (separately stating the prefunding balance and the funding standard carryover balance) and liabilities of the plan, determined in the same manner as under section 303 of the Act, as of the valuation date of the notice year and for each of the two preceding plan years, as reported in the annual report filed under section 104 of the Act for each such preceding plan year, and

(B) A statement of the value of the plan's assets and liabilities determined as of the last day of the notice year. For purposes of this statement, the value of the plan's assets is the fair market value of plan assets. Plan liabilities are equal to the present value of benefits accrued through the last day of the notice year determined in the same manner as liabilities are calculated under section 303 of the Act (including actuarial assumptions and methods), but using the interest rate under section 4006(a)(3)(E)(iv) of the Act in effect for the last month of the notice year.

(ii) Multiemployer plans. For multiemployer plans -

(A) A statement of the value of the plan's assets (determined in the same manner as under section 304(c)(2) of the Act) and liabilities (determined in the same manner as under section 305(i)(8) of the Act, using reasonable actuarial assumptions as required under section 304(c)(3) of the Act) as of the valuation date of the notice year and each of the two preceding plan years, and

(B) A statement of the fair market value of plan assets as of the last day of the notice year, and as of the last day of each of the two preceding plan years as reported in the annual report filed under section 104(a) of the Act for each such preceding plan year.

(iii) Contributions receivable. For purposes of determining the fair market value of plan assets as of the last day of the notice year under paragraphs (b)(3)(i)(B) and (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, the plan administrator may, but is not required to, include contributions made after the notice year and before the notice is furnished to recipients, but only to the extent such contributions are treated for funding purposes as having been made on account of the notice year under section 303(g)(4) of the Act, in the case of a single-employer plan, or under section 304(c)(8) of the Act, in the case of a multiemployer plan.

(4) Demographic information. A statement of the number of participants and beneficiaries who, as of the valuation date of the notice year, are: Retired or separated from service and receiving benefits; retired or separated from service and entitled to future benefits (but currently not receiving benefits); or active participants under the plan. The statement shall indicate the number of participants and beneficiaries in each category and the sum of all such participants and beneficiaries. The terms “active” and “retired or separated” shall have the same meaning given to those terms in instructions to the annual report filed under section 104(a) of the Act.

(5) Funding policy. A statement setting forth -

(i) The funding policy of the plan;

(ii) The asset allocation of investments under the plan (expressed as percentages of total assets) as of the end of the notice year; and

(iii) A general description of any investment policy of the plan as it relates to the funding policy in paragraph (b)(5)(i) of this section and the asset allocation of investments under paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section.

(6) Endangered, critical, or critical and declining status. In the case of a multiemployer plan, a statement whether the plan was in endangered, critical, or critical and declining status under section 305 of the Act for the notice year and, if so -

(i) A statement describing how a person may obtain a copy of the plan's funding improvement plan or rehabilitation plan, as appropriate, adopted under section 305 of the Act and the actuarial and financial data that demonstrate any action taken by the plan toward fiscal improvement;

(ii) A summary of the plan's funding improvement plan or rehabilitation plan, including any update or modification of such funding improvement or rehabilitation plan adopted under section 305 of the Act during the notice year; and

(iii) In the case of a multiemployer plan in critical and declining status:

(A) The projected date of insolvency;

(B) A clear statement that such insolvency may result in benefit reductions; and

(C) A statement describing whether the plan sponsor has taken legally permitted actions to prevent insolvency.

(7) Events having a material effect on liabilities or assets. Subject to paragraph (g) of this section, in the case of any plan amendment, scheduled benefit increase or reduction, or other known event taking effect in the current plan year and having a material effect on plan liabilities or assets for the year, an explanation of the amendment, scheduled benefit increase or reduction, or event, and a projection to the end of such plan year of the effect of the amendment, scheduled benefit increase or reduction, or event on plan liabilities.

(8) Rules on termination or insolvency -

(i) Single-employer plans. In the case of a single-employer plan, a summary of the rules governing termination of single-employer plans under subtitle C of title IV of the Act.

(ii) Multiemployer plans. In the case of a multiemployer plan, a summary of the rules governing insolvency, including the limitations on benefit payments.

(9) PBGC guarantees. A general description of the benefits under the plan which are eligible to be guaranteed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, along with an explanation of the limitations on the guarantee and the circumstances under which such limitations apply.

(10) Annual report information. A statement that a person entitled to notice under paragraph (f) of this section may obtain a copy of the annual report of the plan filed under section 104(a) of the Act upon request, through the Internet Web site of the Department of Labor, or through any Intranet Web site maintained by the applicable plan sponsor (or plan administrator on behalf of the plan sponsor).

(11) Information disclosed to PBGC. In the case of a single-employer plan, if applicable, a statement that the contributing sponsor of the plan or a member of the contributing sponsor's controlled group was required to provide information under section 4010 of the Act for the information year ending in the notice year (see 29 CFR 4010.5).

(12) Additional information. Any additional information that the plan administrator elects to include, provided that such information is necessary or helpful to understanding the mandatory information in the notice, or is otherwise permitted by law.

(c) Style and format of notice. Funding notices shall be written in a manner that is consistent with the style and format requirements of § 2520.102-2 of this chapter.

(d) When to furnish notice.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, a funding notice shall be provided not later than 120 days after the end of the notice year.

(2) In the case of a small plan, a funding notice shall be provided not later than the earlier of the date on which the annual report is filed under section 104(a) of the Act or the latest date the annual report must be filed under that section (including extensions). For this purpose, a single-employer plan is a small plan if it meets the exception in section 303(g)(2)(B) of the Act, and a multiemployer plan is a small plan if it had 100 or fewer participants on each day during the plan year preceding the notice year.

(e) Manner of furnishing notice.

(1) [Reserved.]

(2) A funding notice must be furnished to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in a manner consistent with the requirements of part 4000 of title IV of the Act. The date that the notice is furnished to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is determined consistent with that part.

(f) Persons entitled to notice. Persons entitled to a funding notice under this section are:

(1) Each participant covered under the plan on the last day of the notice year;

(2) Each beneficiary receiving benefits under the plan on the last day of the notice year;

(3) Each alternate payee under the plan on the last day of the notice year;

(4) Each labor organization representing participants under the plan on the last day of the notice year;

(5) In the case of a multiemployer plan, each employer that, as of the last day of the notice year, is a party to the collective bargaining agreement(s) pursuant to which the plan is maintained or who otherwise may be subject to withdrawal liability pursuant to section 4203 of the Act; and

(6) The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

(g) Special rules and definitions for material effect disclosures.

(1) The term “current plan year” means the plan year after the notice year. Thus, for example, if the notice year is January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017, then the current plan year would be January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018.

(2) An event described in paragraph (b)(7) of this section is recognized as “taking effect” in the current plan year if the effect of the event is taken into account for the first time for funding under section 430 or 431 of the Internal Revenue Code, as applicable, in such year.

(3) An event described in paragraph (b)(7) of this section has a “material effect” if it results, or is projected to result, in an increase or decrease of five percent or more in the value of assets or liabilities from the valuation date of the notice year. For this measurement, calculate assets and liabilities in the same manner as under paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(4) An event described in paragraph (b)(7) of this section has a “material effect” if, in the judgment of the plan's enrolled actuary, the effect of the event is considered material for purposes of the plan's funding status under section 430 or 431, as applicable, of the Internal Revenue Code, without regard to paragraph (g)(3) of this section.

(5) An event described in paragraph (b)(7) of this section is “known” only if it is known by the plan administrator prior to 120 days before the due date of the notice. Thus, if an event otherwise described in paragraph (b)(7) first becomes known to a plan administrator 120 days or less before the due date of a notice, the plan administrator is not required to explain, or project the effect of, the event in that notice.

(6) The term “other known event” includes, but is not limited to, an extension of coverage under the existing terms of the plan to a new group of employees; a plan merger, consolidation, or spinoff pursuant to regulations under section 414(l) of the Internal Revenue Code; or, a shutdown of any facility, plant, store, or such other similar corporate event that creates immediate eligibility for benefits that would not otherwise be immediately payable for participants separating from service. The term does not include market fluctuations.

(7) With respect to events described in paragraph (g)(4) of this section, the plan administrator may, instead of projecting the effect on plan liabilities to the end of the current plan year, include an explanation why the event is considered material by the enrolled actuary.

(8) Example. The following example illustrates the special rules and definitions of paragraph (g) of this section:

Example.
Plan Y is a single-employer calendar year plan. Company X, the sponsor of Plan Y, adopts an amendment on June 1, 2017, offering a subsidized early retirement benefit to participants age 50 or older who retire on or after September 1, 2017 and before March 1, 2018. The amendment increases the liabilities of Plan Y by an amount greater than 5% of the value of Plan Y's liabilities on January 1, 2017. Company X does not make an election under Code section 412(d)(2) to accelerate recognition of the event for funding. The amendment is taken into account for the first time under section 430 of the Code as of the January 1, 2018 valuation date. Therefore, the amendment is recognized as taking effect under the final rule in 2018. Since the amendment adopted on June 1, 2017, is known more than 120 days prior to the April 30, 2018 due date of the 2017 funding notice, the amendment must be disclosed in the 2017 funding notice under paragraph (b)(7) of the final regulations as a material effect event taking effect in 2018 (i.e., the current plan year).

(h) Model notices.

(1) The appendices to this section contain a model notice for single-employer plans and a model notice for multiemployer plans. These models are intended to assist plan administrators in discharging their notice obligations under this section. Use of a model notice is not mandatory. However, subject to paragraph (h)(2) of this section, use of a model notice will be deemed to satisfy the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(11) and paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) To the extent a plan administrator elects to include in a model notice information described in paragraph (b)(12) of this section, such additional information must be consistent with the style and format requirements in paragraph (c) of this section.

(i) Notice year. For purposes of this section, the term “notice year” means the plan year to which the notice relates. For example, for a calendar year plan that must furnish its 2010 funding notice no later than the 120th day of 2011, the “notice year” is the 2010 plan year.

(j) Alternative method of compliance for furnishing notice to PBGC for certain single-employer plans. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the plan administrator of a single-employer plan is not required to furnish a notice to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation annually if, based on the data described in paragraph (b)(3)(i)(A) of this section for the notice year, plan liabilities do not exceed total plan assets by more than $50 million, provided that the plan administrator furnishes the latest available funding notice to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation within 30 days of a written request.

(k) Alternative method of compliance for multiemployer plans terminated by mass withdrawal.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, for plan years beginning after the date specified in section 4041A(b)(2) of the Act, an alternative method of compliance is available in the case of a multiemployer plan that terminates as a result of the withdrawal of every employer from the plan or the cessation of the obligation of all employers to contribute under the plan, as described in section 4041A(a)(2) of the Act. Under this alternative method, the plan administrator shall furnish annually to each person described in paragraph (f)(1) through (3) of this section a notice that complies with paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (k)(2) of this section.

(2) The notice includes:

(i) A statement of the fair market value of the plan's assets as of the last day of the notice year, and as of the last day of each of the two preceding plan years as reported in the annual report filed under section 104(a) of the Act for each such preceding plan year;

(ii) A statement of the amount of benefit payments made during the notice year and each of the two preceding plan years;

(iii) If a notice has not already been furnished pursuant to 29 CFR 4281.32, a statement that benefits may be reduced pursuant to section 4281(c) of the Act and a summary of the rules governing such reductions;

(iv) A summary of the rules governing insolvency, including the limitations on benefit payments, pursuant to paragraph (b)(8)(ii) of this section;

(v) The information described in paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(9), and (b)(10) of this section; and

(vi) Any additional information that the plan administrator elects to include, subject to the requirements of paragraph (b)(12) of this section.

(l) Alternative method of compliance for Internal Revenue Code section 412(e)(3) plans.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, an alternative method of compliance is available in the case of an insurance contract plan described in section 412(e)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Under this alternative method, the plan administrator shall furnish annually to each person described in paragraph (f) of this section a notice that complies with paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (l)(2) of this section.

(2) The notice includes:

(i) An explanation that the plan is funded exclusively by an insurance contract or contracts, that such contract or contracts provide for the benefit payments to participants and beneficiaries, that such benefit payments are guaranteed by a licensed insurance company or companies, and the name of the insurance company or companies;

(ii) A statement whether, as of the last day of the notice year, there were any delinquent premiums and, if so, the amount and date of the delinquency and the effect on the plan and on participants and beneficiaries in the event of a policy lapse;

(iii) The information described in paragraph (b)(1), (b)(9), and (b)(10) of this section; and

(iv) Any additional information that the plan administrator elects to include, provided that such information meets the standard in paragraph (b)(12) of this section.

(m) CSEC plans. [Reserved]

Appendix A to § 2520.101-5 - Single-Employer Plan Model Annual Funding Notice
Appendix B to § 2520.101-5 - Multiemployer Plan Model Annual Funding Notice
[80 FR 5645, Feb. 2, 2015]