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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of October 29, 2014

Title 26Chapter ISubchapter APart 1 → §1.401(a)(26)-1


Title 26: Internal Revenue
PART 1—INCOME TAXES (CONTINUED)


§1.401(a)(26)-1   Minimum participation requirements.

(a) General rule. A plan is a qualified plan for a plan year only if the plan satisfies section 401(a)(26) for the plan year. A plan that satisfies any of the exceptions described in paragraph (b) of this section passes section 401(a)(26) automatically for the plan year. A plan that does not satisfy one of the exceptions in paragraph (b) of this section must satisfy §1.401(a)(26)-2(a). In addition, a defined benefit plan must satisfy §1.401(a)(26)-3 with respect to its prior benefit structure. Finally, a defined benefit plan that benefits former employees (for example, a defined benefit plan that is amended to provide an ad hoc cost-of-living adjustment to former employees) must separately satisfy §1.401(a)(26)-4 with respect to its former employees.

(b) Exceptions to section 401(a)(26)—(1) Plans that do not benefit any highly compensated employees. A plan, other than a frozen defined benefit plan as defined in §1.401(a)(26)-2(b), satisfies section 401(a)(26) for a plan year if the plan is not a top-heavy plan under section 416 and the plan meets the following requirements:

(i) The plan benefits no highly compensated employee or highly compensated former employee of the employer; and

(ii) The plan is not aggregated with any other plan of the employer to enable the other plan to satisfy section 401(a)(4) or 410(b). The plan may, however, be aggregated with the employer's other plans for purposes of the average benefit percentage test in section 410(b)(2)(A)(ii).

(2) Multiemployer plans—(i) In genera1. The portion of a multiemployer plan that benefits only employees included in a unit of employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may be treated as a separate plan that satisfies section 401(a)(26) for a plan year.

(ii) Multiemployer plans covering noncollectively bargained employees—(A) In general. The rule provided in paragraph (b)(2)(i) does not apply to the portion of a multiemployer plan that benefits employees who are not included in any collective bargaining unit covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Thus, the portion of the plan benefiting these employees must separately satisfy section 401(a)(26).

(B) Special testing rule. A multiemployer plan that benefits employees who are not included in any collective bargaining unit covered by a collective bargaining agreement satisfies section 401(a)(26) if the plan benefits 50 employees. For purposes of this special testing rule, employees who are included in a unit of employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may be included in determining whether the plan benefits 50 employees.

(3) Certain underfunded defined benefit plans—(i) In general. A defined benefit plan is deemed to satisfy section 401(a)(26) for a plan year if all of the conditions of paragraphs (b)(3)(ii) through (b)(3)(iv) of this section are satisfied with respect to the plan for the plan year.

(ii) Eligible plans. This condition is satisfied for a plan year only if the plan is subject to title IV of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) for the plan year or, if the plan is not a title IV plan under ERISA, it is not a top-heavy plan within the meaning of section 416. This condition does not apply for plan years beginning before January 1, 1992.

(iii) Actuarial certification. This condition is satisfied for a plan year only if the employer's timely filed actuarial report, as required by section 6059, evidences that the plan does not have sufficient assets to satisfy all liabilities under the plan (determined in accordance with section 401(a)(2)).

(iv) Cessation of all benefit accruals. This condition is satisfied for a plan year only if, for the plan year, no employee or former employee is benefiting within the meaning of §1.401(a)(26)-5(a) or (b). For this purpose, an employee is not treated as benefiting solely by reason of being a non-key employee receiving minimum benefit accruals required by section 416.

(4) Section 401(k) plan maintained by employers that include certain governmental or tax-exempt entities. Section 401(k)(4)(B) prevents certain State and local governments and tax-exempt organizations from maintaining a qualified cash or deferred arrangement. A plan (or portion of a plan) that is either a section 401(k) plan or a section 401(m) plan that is provided under the same general arrangement as a section 401(k) plan may be treated as a separate plan that satisfies section 401(a)(26) for a plan year if the following requirements are satisfied:

(i) The section 401(k) plan is maintained by an employer who has employees precluded from being eligible employees under the arrangement by reason of section 401(k)(4)(B), and

(ii) More than 95 percent of the employees of the employer who are not precluded from being eligible employees under a section 401(k) plan by reason of section 401(k)(4)(B) benefit under the section 401(k) plan.

(5) Certain acquisitions or dispositions—(i) General rule. Rules similar to the rules prescribed under section 410(b)(6)(C) apply under section 401(a)(26). Pursuant to these rules, the requirements of section 401(a)(26) are treated as satisfied for certain plans of an employer involved in an acquisition or disposition (transaction) for the transition period. The transition period begins on the date of the transaction and ends on the last day of the first plan year beginning after the date of the transaction.

(ii) Special rule for transactions that occur in the plan year prior to the first plan year to which section 401(a)(26) applies. Where there has been a transaction described in section 410(b)(6)(C) in the plan year prior to the first plan year in which section 401(a)(26) applies to a plan, the plan satisfies section 401(a)(26) for the transition period if the plan benefited 50 employees or 40 percent of the employees of the employer immediately prior to the transaction.

(iii) Definition of “acquisition” and “disposition.” For purposes of this paragraph (b)(5), the terms “acquisition” and “disposition” refer to an asset or stock acquisition, merger, or other similar transaction involving a change in employer of the employees of a trade or business.

(c) Additional rules. The Commissioner may, in revenue rulings, notices, and other guidance of general applicability, provide any additional rules that may be necessary or appropriate in applying the minimum participation requirements of section 401(a)(26).

[T.D. 8375, 56 FR 63413, Dec. 4, 1991, as amended by T.D. 8487, 58 FR 46838, Sept. 3, 1993]



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