48 CFR 9904.412-50 - Techniques for application.
(a) Components of pension cost.
(1) The following portions of unfunded actuarial liability shall be included as a separately identified part of the pension cost of a cost accounting period and shall be included in equal annual installments. Each installment shall consist of an amortized portion of the unfunded actuarial liability plus an interest equivalent on the unamortized portion of such liability. The period of amortization shall be established as follows:
(i) If amortization of an unfunded actuarial liability has begun prior to the date this Standard first becomes applicable to a contractor, no change in the amortization period is required by this Standard.
(ii) If amortization of an unfunded actuarial liability has not begun prior to the date this Standard first becomes applicable to a contractor, the amortization period shall begin with the period in which the Standard becomes applicable and shall be no more than 30 years nor less than 10 years. However, if the plan was in existence as of January 1, 1974, the amortization period shall be no more than 40 years nor less than 10 years.
(iii) Each increase or decrease in unfunded actuarial liability resulting from the institution of new pension plans, from the adoption of improvements, or other changes to pension plans subsequent to the date this Standard first becomes applicable to a contractor shall be amortized over no more than 30 years nor less than 10 years.
(iv) If any assumptions are changed during an amortization period, the resulting increase or decrease in unfunded actuarial liability shall be separately amortized over no more than 30 years nor less than 10 years.
(v) Actuarial gains and losses shall be identified separately from unfunded actuarial liabilities that are being amortized pursuant to the provisions of this Standard. The accounting treatment to be afforded to such gains and losses shall be in accordance with Cost Accounting Standard 9904.413.
(vii) Each increase or decrease in unfunded actuarial liability resulting from a change in actuarial cost method, including the asset valuation method, shall be amortized over a period of 10 to 30 years. This provision shall not affect the requirements of 9903.302 to adjust previously priced contracts.
(i) Except as provided in 9904.412-50(d)(2), any portion of unfunded actuarial liability attributable to either pension costs applicable to prior years that were specifically unallowable in accordance with then existing Government contractual provisions or pension costs assigned to a cost accounting period that were not funded in that period, shall be separately identified and eliminated from any unfunded actuarial liability being amortized pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this subsection.
(ii) Such portions of unfunded actuarial liability shall be adjusted for interest based on the interest assumption established in accordance with 9904.412-50(b)(4) without regard to 9904.412-50(b)(7). The contractor may elect to fund, and thereby reduce, such portions of unfunded actuarial liability and future interest adjustments thereon. Such funding shall not be recognized for purposes of 9904.412-50(d).
(3) A contractor shall establish and consistently follow a policy for selecting specific amortization periods for unfunded actuarial liabilities, if any, that are developed under the actuarial cost method in use. Such policy may give consideration to factors such as the size and nature of the unfunded actuarial liabilities. Except as provided in 9904.412-50(c)(2) or 9904.413-50(c)(12), once the amortization period for a portion of unfunded actuarial liability is selected, the amortization process shall continue to completion.
(4) Any amount funded in excess of the pension cost assigned to a cost accounting period shall be accounted for as a prepayment credit. The accumulated value of such prepayment credits shall be adjusted for income and expenses in accordance with 9904.413-50(c)(7) until applied towards pension cost in a future accounting period. The accumulated value of prepayment credits shall be reduced for portions of the accumulated value of prepayment credits used to fund pension costs or to fund portions of unfunded actuarial liability separately identified and maintained in accordance with 9904.412-50(a)(2). The accumulated value of any prepayment credits shall be excluded from the actuarial value of the assets used to compute pension costs for purposes of this Standard and Cost Accounting Standard 9904.413.
(5) An excise tax assessed pursuant to a law or regulation because of excess, inadequate, or delayed funding of a pension plan is not a component of pension cost. Income taxes paid from the funding agency of a nonqualified defined-benefit pension plan on earnings or other asset appreciation of such funding agency shall be treated as an administrative expense of the fund and not as a reduction to the earnings assumption.
(6) For purposes of this Standard, defined-benefit pension plans funded exclusively by the purchase of individual or group permanent insurance or annuity contracts, and thereby exempted from the minimum funding requirements implemented by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., as amended, shall be treated as defined-contribution pension plans. However, all other defined-benefit pension plans administered wholly or in part through insurance company contracts shall be subject to the provisions of this Standard relative to defined-benefit pension plans.
(7) If a pension plan is supplemented by a separately-funded plan which provides retirement benefits to all of the participants in the basic plan, the two plans shall be considered as a single plan for purposes of this Standard. If the effect of the combined plans is to provide defined-benefits for the plan participants, the combined plans shall be treated as a defined-benefit plan for purposes of this Standard.
(9) A pension plan applicable to a Federally-funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) that is part of a State pension plan shall be considered to be a defined-contribution pension plan for purposes of this Standard.
(b) Measurement of pension cost.
(1) For defined-benefit pension plans other than those accounted for under the pay-as-you-go cost method, the amount of pension cost assignable to cost accounting periods shall be measured by an immediate-gain actuarial cost method.
(2) Where the pension benefit is a function of salaries and wages, the normal cost shall be computed using a projected benefit cost method. The normal cost for the projected benefit shall be expressed either as a percentage of payroll or as an annual accrual based on the service attribution of the benefit formula. Where the pension benefit is not a function of salaries and wages, the normal cost shall be based on employee service.
(3) For defined-benefit plans accounted for under the pay-as-you-go cost method, the amount of pension cost assignable to a cost accounting period shall be measured as the sum of:
(i) The net amount for any periodic benefits paid for that period, and
(ii) The level annual installment required to amortize over 15 years any amounts paid to irrevocably settle an obligation for periodic benefits due in current or future cost accounting periods.
(4) Actuarial assumptions shall reflect long-term trends so as to avoid distortions caused by short-term fluctuations.
(5) Pension cost shall be based on provisions of existing pension plans. This shall not preclude contractors from making salary projections for plans whose benefits are based on salaries and wages, or from considering improved benefits for plans which provide that such improved benefits must be made. For qualified defined benefit plans whose benefits are subject to a collectively bargained agreement(s) and whose benefits are not based on salaries and wages, the contractor may recognize benefit improvements expected to occur in succeeding plan years determined on the basis of the average annual increase in benefits over the 6 immediately preceding plan years.
(6) If the evaluation of the validity of actuarial assumptions shows that any assumptions were not reasonable, the contractor shall:
(i) Identify the major causes for the resultant actuarial gains or losses, and
(ii) Provide information as to the basis and rationale used for retaining or revising such assumptions for use in the ensuing cost accounting period(s).
(7) CAS Pension Harmonization Rule: For qualified defined benefit pension plans, the pension cost shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section.
(i) In any period that the sum of the minimum actuarial liability and the minimum normal cost exceeds the sum of the actuarial accrued liability and the normal cost, the contractor shall measure and assign the pension cost for the period in accordance with 9904.412 and 9904.413 by using the minimum actuarial liability and minimum normal cost as the actuarial accrued liability and normal cost, respectively, for all purposes unless otherwise excepted.
(ii) Special definitions to be used for this paragraph:
(A) The minimum actuarial liability shall be the actuarial accrued liability measured under the accrued benefit cost method and using an interest rate assumption as described in 9904.412-50(b)(7)(iii).
(B) The minimum normal cost shall be the normal cost measured under the accrued benefit cost method and using an interest rate assumption as described in 9904.412-50(b)(7)(iii). Anticipated administrative expense for the period shall be recognized as a separate incremental component of normal cost.
(A) The interest assumption used to measure the pension cost for the current period shall reflect the contractor's best estimate of rates at which the pension benefits could effectively be settled based on the current period rates of return on investment grade fixed-income investments of similar duration to the pension benefits and that are in the top 3 quality levels available, e.g., Moody's' single “A” rated or higher;
(B) The contractor may elect to use the same rate or set of rates, for investment grade corporate bonds of similar duration to the pension benefits, as may be published by the Secretary of the Treasury and used for determination of the minimum contribution required by ERISA. The contractor's cost accounting practice includes the election of the specific published rate or set of rates and must be consistently followed;
(C) For purposes of 9904.412-50(b)(7)(ii)(A) and (B), use of current period rates of return on investment grade corporate bonds of similar duration to the pension benefits shall not violate the provisions of 9904.412-40(b)(2) and 9904.412-50(b)(4) regarding the interest rate used to measure the minimum actuarial liability and minimum normal cost; and
(D) All actuarial assumptions, other than interest assumptions, used to measure the minimum actuarial liability and minimum normal cost shall be the same as the assumptions used elsewhere in this Standard.
(c) Assignment of pension cost.
(1) Amounts funded in excess of the pension cost assigned to a cost accounting period pursuant to the provisions of this Standard shall be accounted for as a prepayment credit and carried forward to future accounting periods.
(2) For qualified defined-benefit pension plans, the pension cost measured for a cost accounting period is assigned to that period subject to the following adjustments, in order of application:
(i) Any amount of pension cost measured for the period that is less than zero shall be assigned to future accounting periods as an assignable cost credit. The amount of pension cost assigned to the period shall be zero.
(ii) When the pension cost equals or exceeds the assignable cost limitation:
(A) The amount of pension cost, adjusted pursuant to paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this subsection, shall not exceed the assignable cost limitation,
(B) All amounts described in 9904.412-50(a)(1) and 9904.413-50(a), which are required to be amortized, shall be considered fully amortized, and
(C) Except for portions of unfunded actuarial liability separately identified and maintained in accordance with 9904.412-50(a)(2), any portion of unfunded actuarial liability, which occurs in the first cost accounting period after the pension cost has been limited by the assignable cost limitation, shall be considered an actuarial gain or loss for purposes of this Standard. Such actuarial gain or loss shall exclude any increase or decrease in unfunded actuarial liability resulting from a plan amendment, change in actuarial assumptions, or change in actuarial cost method effected after the pension cost has been limited by the assignable cost limitation.
(iii) An amount of pension cost of a qualified pension plan, adjusted pursuant to paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) of this subsection that exceeds the sum of (A) the maximum tax-deductible amount, determined in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code at Title 26 of the U.S.C., and (B) the accumulated value of prepayment credits, shall be assigned to future accounting periods as an assignable cost deficit. The amount of pension cost assigned to the current period shall not exceed the sum of the maximum tax-deductible amount and the accumulated value of prepayment credits.
(3) The cost of nonqualified defined-benefit pension plans shall be assigned to cost accounting periods in the same manner as qualified plans (with the exception of paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this subsection) under the following conditions:
(i) The contractor, in disclosing or establishing his cost accounting practices, elects to have a plan so accounted for;
(ii) The plan is funded through the use of a funding agency; and,
(iii) The right to a pension benefit is nonforfeitable and is communicated to the participants.
(4) The costs of nonqualified defined-benefit pension plans that do not meet all of the requirements in 9904.412-50(c)(3) shall be assigned to cost accounting periods using the pay-as-you-go cost method.
(5) Any portion of pension cost measured for a cost accounting period and adjusted in accordance with 9904.412-50(c)(2) that exceeds the amount required to be funded pursuant to a waiver granted under the provisions of ERISA shall not be assigned to the current period. Rather, such excess shall be treated as an assignable cost deficit, except that it shall be assigned to future cost accounting periods using the same amortization period as used for ERISA purposes.
(d) Allocation of pension costs. The amount of pension cost assigned to a cost accounting period allocated to intermediate and final cost objectives shall be limited according to the following criteria:
(1) Except for nonqualified defined-benefit plans, the costs of a pension plan assigned to a cost accounting period are allocable to the extent that they are funded.
(2) For nonqualified defined-benefit pension plans that meet the criteria set forth at 9904.412-50(c)(3), pension costs assigned to a cost accounting period are fully allocable if they are funded at a level at least equal to the percentage of the complement (i.e., 100% minus tax rate % = percentage of assigned cost to be funded) of the highest published Federal corporate income tax rate in effect on the first day of the cost accounting period. If the contractor is not subject to Federal income tax, the assigned costs are allocable to the extent such costs are funded. Funding at other levels and benefit payments of such plans are subject to the following:
(i) Funding at less than the foregoing levels shall result in proportional reductions of the amount of assigned cost that can be allocated within the cost accounting period.
(A) Payments to retirees or beneficiaries shall contain an amount drawn from sources other than the funding agency of the pension plan that is, at least, proportionately equal to the accumulated value of permitted unfunded accruals divided by an amount that is the market value of the assets of the pension plan excluding any accumulated value of prepayment credits.
(iii) The permitted unfunded accruals shall be identified and accounted for year to year, adjusted for benefit payments directly paid by the contractor and for interest at the actual annual earnings rate on the funding agency balance.
(3) For nonqualified defined-benefit pension plans accounted for under the pay-as-you-go method, pension costs assigned to a cost accounting period are allocable in that period.
(4) Funding of pension cost shall be considered to have taken place within the cost accounting period if it is accomplished by the corporate tax filing date for such period including any permissible extensions thereto.