26 U.S. Code § 45E - Small employer pension plan startup costs

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(a) General rule
For purposes of section 38, in the case of an eligible employer, the small employer pension plan startup cost credit determined under this section for any taxable year is an amount equal to 50 percent of the qualified startup costs paid or incurred by the taxpayer during the taxable year.
(b) Dollar limitation
The amount of the credit determined under this section for any taxable year shall not exceed—
(1) $500 for the first credit year and each of the 2 taxable years immediately following the first credit year, and
(2) zero for any other taxable year.
(c) Eligible employer
For purposes of this section—
(1) In general
The term “eligible employer” has the meaning given such term by section 408 (p)(2)(C)(i).
(2) Requirement for new qualified employer plans
Such term shall not include an employer if, during the 3-taxable year period immediately preceding the 1st taxable year for which the credit under this section is otherwise allowable for a qualified employer plan of the employer, the employer or any member of any controlled group including the employer (or any predecessor of either) established or maintained a qualified employer plan with respect to which contributions were made, or benefits were accrued, for substantially the same employees as are in the qualified employer plan.
(d) Other definitions
For purposes of this section—
(1) Qualified startup costs
(A) In general
The term “qualified startup costs” means any ordinary and necessary expenses of an eligible employer which are paid or incurred in connection with—
(i) the establishment or administration of an eligible employer plan, or
(ii) the retirement-related education of employees with respect to such plan.
(B) Plan must have at least 1 participant
Such term shall not include any expense in connection with a plan that does not have at least 1 employee eligible to participate who is not a highly compensated employee.
(2) Eligible employer plan
The term “eligible employer plan” means a qualified employer plan within the meaning of section 4972 (d).
(3) First credit year
The term “first credit year” means—
(A) the taxable year which includes the date that the eligible employer plan to which such costs relate becomes effective, or
(B) at the election of the eligible employer, the taxable year preceding the taxable year referred to in subparagraph (A).
(e) Special rules
For purposes of this section—
(1) Aggregation rules
All persons treated as a single employer under subsection (a) or (b) ofsection 52, or subsection (m) or (o) ofsection 414, shall be treated as one person. All eligible employer plans shall be treated as 1 eligible employer plan.
(2) Disallowance of deduction
No deduction shall be allowed for that portion of the qualified startup costs paid or incurred for the taxable year which is equal to the credit determined under subsection (a).
(3) Election not to claim credit
This section shall not apply to a taxpayer for any taxable year if such taxpayer elects to have this section not apply for such taxable year.


(Added Pub. L. 107–16, title VI, § 619(a),June 7, 2001, 115 Stat. 108; amended Pub. L. 107–147, title IV, § 411(n)(1),Mar. 9, 2002, 116 Stat. 48.)

2002—Subsec. (e)(1). Pub. L. 107–147substituted “subsection (m)” for “subsection (n)”.
Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 107–147effective as if included in the provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107–16, to which such amendment relates, see section 411(x) ofPub. L. 107–147, set out as a note under section 25B of this title.
Effective Date

Section applicable to costs paid or incurred in taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2001, with respect to qualified employer plans first effective after such date, see section 619(d) ofPub. L. 107–16, as amended, set out as an Effective Date of 2001 Amendment note under section 38 of this title.


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