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Rule

Loans From a Qualified Employer Plan to Plan Participants or Beneficiaries

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Final regulations.

SUMMARY:

This document contains final regulations relating to loans made from a qualified employer plan to plan participants or beneficiaries. These final regulations provide guidance on the application of section 72(p) of the Internal Revenue Code. These regulations affect administrators of, participants in, and beneficiaries of qualified employer plans that permit participants or beneficiaries to receive loans from the plan, including loans from section 403(b) contracts and other contracts issued under qualified employer plans.

DATES:

Effective Date: These regulations are effective July 31, 2000.

Applicability Date: For dates of applicability, see § 1.72(p)-1, Q&A-22 (a) through (c)(2).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Vernon S. Carter, (202) 622-6070 (not a toll-free number).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This document contains final regulations (26 CFR Part 1) under section 72 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code). These regulations provide guidance concerning the tax treatment of loans that are deemed to be distributed under section 72(p). Section 72(p) was added by section 236 of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 324), and amended by the Technical Corrections Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 2365), the Deficit Reduction Act of 1984 (98 Stat. 494), the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (100 Stat. 2085), and the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 (102 Stat. 3342).

On December 21, 1995, a notice of proposed rulemaking (EE-106-82) was published in the Federal Register (60 FR 66233) with respect to many of the issues arising under section 72(p)(2). The preamble to the 1995 proposed regulations requested comments on certain issues that were not addressed. Following publication of the 1995 proposed regulations, comments were received and a public hearing was held on June 28, 1996. One of the issues on which comments were requested and received was the effect of a deemed distribution on the tax treatment of subsequent distributions from a plan (such as whether a participant has tax basis as a result of a deemed distribution). After reviewing the written comments and comments made at the public hearing, additional proposed regulations addressing this issue were published January 2, 1998 (REG-209476-82), in the Federal Register (63 FR 42). Written comments were received on the 1998 proposed regulations, but no public hearing was requested. After consideration of all comments received on both the 1995 and the 1998 proposed regulations, the proposed regulations are adopted as revised by this Treasury decision.

Explanation of Provisions

Section 72(p)(1)(A) provides that a loan from a qualified employer plan (including a contract purchased under a qualified employer plan) to a participant or beneficiary is treated as received as a distribution from the plan for purposes of section 72 (a deemed distribution). Section 72(p)(1)(B) provides that an assignment or pledge of (or an agreement to assign or pledge) any portion of a participant's or beneficiary's interest in a qualified employer plan is treated as a loan from the plan.

Section 72(p)(2) provides that section 72(p)(1) does not apply to the extent certain conditions are satisfied. Specifically, under section 72(p)(2), a loan from a qualified employer plan to a participant or beneficiary is not treated as a distribution from the plan if the loan satisfies requirements relating to the term of the loan and the repayment schedule, and to the extent the loan satisfies certain limitations on the amount loaned. For example, except in the case of certain home loans, the exception in section 72(p)(2) only applies to a loan that by its terms is to be repaid over not more than five years in substantially level installments.

For purposes of section 72, a qualified employer plan includes a plan that qualifies under section 401 (relating to qualified trusts), 403(a) (relating to qualified annuities) or 403(b) (relating to tax sheltered annuities [1] ), as well as a plan (whether or not qualified) maintained by the United States, a State or a political subdivision thereof, or an agency or instrumentality thereof. A qualified employer plan also includes a plan which was (or was determined to be) a qualified plan or a government plan.

Summary of Comments Received and Changes Made and Summary of the Final Regulations

In general, comments received on the proposed regulations were favorable and, accordingly, the final regulations retain the general structure and substance of the proposed regulations, including a wide variety of examples illustrating the rules in the final regulations. However, commentators made a number of specific recommendations for modifications and clarifications of the regulations. The comments are summarized below, along with the IRS' and Treasury's consideration of those comments.

A. Cure Period for Missed Payments

The 1995 proposed regulations stated that the section 72(p)(2)(C) requirement that repayments be made in level installments at least quarterly would not Start Printed Page 46589be violated if payments are not made until the end of a grace period that the plan administrator may allow, but only to the extent the grace period does not continue beyond the last day of the calendar quarter following the calendar quarter in which the required installment payment was due. Commentators suggested that the proposed regulations should specify how the grace period is to be established, such as whether the grace period must be contained in the plan document, a separate loan program that is deemed to be a part of the plan document pursuant to DOL 29 CFR 2550.408b-1(d)(2), or the summary plan description, and whether it is permissible for a plan to have grace periods on a participant by participant basis (so long as this did not discriminate in favor of the highly compensated employees).

Some commentators requested that a plan participant have a reasonable period of time (such as up to 30 days) to cure a default after the plan administrator has sent a notice of default, and that the section 72(p) regulations mandate that the plan administrator send a notice of default within a reasonable period of time (such as 30 days) after it has discovered the default. These commentators suggested that grace and cure periods might be conditioned upon the plan administrator having an appropriate procedure in place for timely identification of defaults and curing defects. Some commentators requested that final regulations permit a plan administrator to use his or her discretion, under special circumstances, to provide a grace period of up to one year from the date of a missed payment.

Many of these suggested changes relate to legal requirements other than section 72(p), such as the application of the fiduciary requirements of ERISA [2] and Federal and state laws that apply to debtors and creditors. The 1995 proposed regulations allowed a grace period up to the end of the next following quarter. Thus, a plan could select a grace period of, for example, 30 days or 90 days and could provide a special notice to the participant concerning the grace period. Thus, many of the suggested changes would involve the imposition of new and complicated rules for which there is no apparent basis in section 72(p) and which would in any case be difficult to enforce and to administer. Accordingly, the final regulations retain the same rules as the proposed regulations. However, the final regulations use the term cure period instead of grace period.

The final regulations also include a new cross-reference to section 414(u)(4), (relating to military service) which was added to the Code by the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (110 Stat. 1755).

B. Treatment of Loans After Deemed Distribution

The 1998 proposed regulations provide that once a loan is deemed distributed under section 72(p) of the Code, interest that accrues thereafter on that loan is not included in income and, for purposes of calculating the maximum permitted amount of any subsequent loan, a loan that has been deemed distributed is considered outstanding until the loan obligation has been satisfied. The majority of the comments on this issue urged that the positions taken in the 1998 proposed regulations addressing post-default interest be adopted in the final regulations. Some commentators asked that the regulations provide further guidance on or revise the treatment of interest that accrues on a loan that is a deemed distribution under section 72(p), as described in Q&A-19 of the 1998 proposed regulations. Commentators noted that, in the case of a plan that has chosen to permit additional loans after a default that has not been cured, the rule in the proposed regulations requiring interest to be taken into account in determining the maximum amount of any subsequent loan would involve costs to make system and procedural changes to calculate the accrued interest on the defaulted loan for this limited application. Other commentators urged that participants be taxed on the additional interest after a default, either annually or as an accumulated amount at the time of a loan offset, as an incentive for the participant to repay the loan.

One commentator raised the issue of how a deemed distribution would be taken into account in a plan with a graded vesting schedule.

The final regulations generally adopt the rules in the proposed regulations, but the regulations have been revised to indicate that a deemed distribution is not taken into account as a distribution for purposes of the requirements of § 1.411(a)-7(d)(5) (relating to the determination of a participant's account balance if a distribution is made at a time when the participant's vesting percentage may increase).

C. Enforceable Agreement and New Technologies

The 1995 proposed regulations required that a loan be evidenced by a legally enforceable agreement and that the legally enforceable agreement be set forth in writing or in another form approved by the Commissioner. Commentators asked whether a participant needs to sign a loan agreement document and whether loans made electronically, such as over phone or voice response units, would be permitted.

Some comments requested elimination of the requirement that a loan be evidenced by a legally enforceable agreement. However, the final regulations retain this requirement. There is, arguably, no difference between a loan that is not legally enforceable and a cash distribution that the employee is permitted to return to the plan. The final regulations clarify that, as long as a signature is not required in order for the loan to be enforceable under applicable law, the agreement need not be signed.

The final regulations also require the agreement to be set forth in a written paper document or in another form approved by the Commissioner. However, the final regulations also treat this requirement as satisfied if the loan agreement is set forth in any electronic medium that satisfies certain standards. The standards in these final regulations for use of an electronic medium for a loan are the same as the standards for use of an electronic medium for a consent to a distribution under § 1.411(a)-11(f)(2). 65 FR 6001 (February 8, 2000). Specifically, a loan agreement will not fail to satisfy section Start Printed Page 4659072(p)(2) of the Code merely because the loan agreement is in an electronic medium reasonably accessible to the participant or the beneficiary under a system that is reasonably designed to preclude anyone other than the participant or the beneficiary from requesting a loan, that provides the participant or the beneficiary with a reasonable opportunity to review the terms of the loan and to confirm, modify, or rescind the terms of the loan before the loan is made, and that provides the participant or the beneficiary, within a reasonable period after the loan is made, with a confirmation of the loan terms through a written paper document or an electronic medium.[3] If an electronic medium is used to provide confirmation of the loan terms, the electronic medium must be reasonably accessible to the participant or the beneficiary and the electronic confirmation must be provided under a system reasonably designed to give the confirmation in a manner no less understandable to the participant or the beneficiary than a written paper document. Also, the participant or the beneficiary must be advised of the right to request and to receive a copy of the confirmation on a written paper document without charge.

The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (114 Stat. 464) (the Electronic Signatures Act) was signed on June 30, 2000. Title I of the Electronic Signatures Act, which is generally effective October 1, 2000, applies to certain electronic records and signatures in commerce. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that appears in this issue of the Federal Register, comments are requested on the impact of the Electronic Signatures Act on these regulations and on any future guidance that may be needed on the application of the Electronic Signatures Act to plan loan transactions.

D. Mortgage Investment Program

Some commentators requested that the special rule in the 1995 proposed regulations under which section 72(p) would not apply to loans made under a residential mortgage investment program be revised to eliminate the requirement that the loans also be available to nonparticipants. This special rule is not based on an explicit statutory provision, but is based on legislative history [4] indicating the understanding that section 72(p) was not intended to apply to loans made in the ordinary course of a bona fide residential mortgage investment program. The IRS and Treasury have concluded that there is a risk that the intent of the section 72(p)(2) limitations might be thwarted if a category of loans extended solely to participants were not subject to section 72(p). However, the extension of this requirement to otherwise bona fide mortgage investment programs that were in effect at the time the 1995 proposed regulations were issued would be inappropriate and, accordingly, the final regulations permit plans with these preexisting programs to continue to make such loans. The special rule in the final regulations is not intended to provide guidance on whether, or to what extent, a plan that is covered by Title I of ERISA may make such residential mortgage loans available to participants or beneficiaries of the plan without violating the provisions of Title I of ERISA.[5]

E. Other Changes

The requirement that a loan be repaid within five years does not apply to a loan used to acquire a dwelling unit which will within a reasonable time be used as the principal residence of the participant. For this purpose, the 1995 proposed regulations provided that a principal residence has the same meaning as a principal residence under section 1034. To reflect the repeal of section 1034 [6] and the use of the same term in section 121, the final regulations provide that a principal residence has the same meaning as a principal residence under section 121.[7]

F. Effective Date of Final Regulations

Both the 1995 and the 1998 proposed regulations were proposed to apply for assignments, pledges, and loans made on or after the first January 1 that is at least six months after the issuance of final regulations. Under certain limited conditions, the 1998 proposed regulations permitted loans made before this proposed general effective date to apply Q&A-19, relating to interest accruing after a deemed distribution, and Q&A-20, relating to basis resulting from repayments after a deemed distribution. Comments on these transition conditions were generally favorable, but one commentator requested that plan sponsors be permitted to rely on these rules for loans made before the general effective date if any reasonable and consistent method had been used to report deemed distributions before the general effective date. The rules in the 1998 proposed regulations for pre-effective date loans included carefully considered, specific conditions in order for such loans to be able to rely on Q&A-19 and Q&A-20 (including several detailed examples illustrating the application of these transition conditions) and these rules have been retained in the final regulations.

Commentators also requested that the general effective date be the first January 1 that is at least 6 or 12 months after the date of the final regulations to allow for proper redesign and testing of plan loan administration systems. Consistent with the proposed effective date and these comments, the final regulations are applicable to assignments, pledges, and loans made on or after January 1, 2002.

Special Analyses

It has been determined that this Treasury decision is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It has also been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because the regulations does not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, the notice of proposed rulemaking preceding these regulations was submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

Drafting Information

The principal author of these regulations is Vernon S. Carter, Office of Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities). However, other personnel from the IRS and Treasury Department participated in their development.

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List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

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Adoption of Amendments to the Regulations

Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is amended as follows:

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PART 1—INCOME TAXES

Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read, in part, as follows:

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Authority: 26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

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Par. 2. Section 1.72-17A is amended as follows:

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1. Paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2) and (d)(3) are redesignated as paragraphs (d)(2), (d)(3) and (d)(4), respectively.

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2. New paragraph (d)(1) is added.

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The addition reads as follows:

Special rules applicable to employee annuities and distributions under deferred compensation plans to self-employed individuals and owner-employees.
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(d) * * * (1) The references in this paragraph (d) to section 72(m)(4) are to that section as in effect on August 13, 1982. Section 236(b)(1) of the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (96 Stat. 324) repealed section 72(m)(4), generally effective for assignments, pledges and loans made after August 13, 1982, and added section 72(p). See section 72(p) and § 1.72(p)-1 for rules governing the income tax treatment of certain assignments, pledges and loans from qualified employer plans made after August 13, 1982.

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Loans treated as distributions.

The questions and answers in this section provide guidance under section 72(p) pertaining to loans from qualified employer plans (including government plans and tax-sheltered annuities and employer plans that were formerly qualified). The examples included in the questions and answers in this section are based on the assumption that a bona fide loan is made to a participant from a qualified defined contribution plan pursuant to an enforceable agreement (in accordance with paragraph (b) of Q&A-3 of this section), with adequate security and with an interest rate and repayment terms that are commercially reasonable. (The particular interest rate used, which is solely for illustration, is 8.75 percent compounded annually.) In addition, unless the contrary is specified, it is assumed in the examples that the amount of the loan does not exceed 50 percent of the participant's nonforfeitable account balance, the participant has no other outstanding loan (and had no prior loan) from the plan or any other plan maintained by the participant's employer or any other person required to be aggregated with the employer under section 414(b), (c) or (m), and the loan is not excluded from section 72(p) as a loan made in the ordinary course of an investment program as described in Q&A-18 of this section. The regulations and examples in this section do not provide guidance on whether a loan from a plan would result in a prohibited transaction under section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code or on whether a loan from a plan covered by Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 829) (ERISA) would be consistent with the fiduciary standards of ERISA or would result in a prohibited transaction under section 406 of ERISA. The questions and answers are as follows:

Q-1: In general, what does section 72(p) provide with respect to loans from a qualified employer plan?

A-1: (a) Loans. Under section 72(p), an amount received by a participant or beneficiary as a loan from a qualified employer plan is treated as having been received as a distribution from the plan (a deemed distribution), unless the loan satisfies the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section. For purposes of section 72(p) and this section, a loan made from a contract that has been purchased under a qualified employer plan (including a contract that has been distributed to the participant or beneficiary) is considered a loan made under a qualified employer plan.

(b) Pledges and assignments. Under section 72(p), if a participant or beneficiary assigns or pledges (or agrees to assign or pledge) any portion of his or her interest in a qualified employer plan as security for a loan, the portion of the individual's interest assigned or pledged (or subject to an agreement to assign or pledge) is treated as a loan from the plan to the individual, with the result that such portion is subject to the deemed distribution rule described in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-1. For purposes of section 72(p) and this section, any assignment or pledge of (or agreement to assign or to pledge) any portion of a participant's or beneficiary's interest in a contract that has been purchased under a qualified employer plan (including a contract that has been distributed to the participant or beneficiary) is considered an assignment or pledge of (or agreement to assign or pledge) an interest in a qualified employer plan. However, if all or a portion of a participant's or beneficiary's interest in a qualified employer plan is pledged or assigned as security for a loan from the plan to the participant or the beneficiary, only the amount of the loan received by the participant or the beneficiary, not the amount pledged or assigned, is treated as a loan.

Q-2: What is a qualified employer plan for purposes of section 72(p)?

A-2: For purposes of section 72(p) and this section, a qualified employer plan means—

(a) A plan described in section 401(a) which includes a trust exempt from tax under section 501(a);

(b) An annuity plan described in section 403(a);

(c) A plan under which amounts are contributed by an individual's employer for an annuity contract described in section 403(b);

(d) Any plan, whether or not qualified, established and maintained for its employees by the United States, by a State or political subdivision thereof, or by an agency or instrumentality of the United States, a State or a political subdivision of a State; or

(e) Any plan which was (or was determined to be) described in paragraph (a), (b), (c), or (d) of this Q&A-2.

Q-3: What requirements must be satisfied in order for a loan to a participant or beneficiary from a qualified employer plan not to be a deemed distribution?

A-3: (a) In general. A loan to a participant or beneficiary from a qualified employer plan will not be a deemed distribution to the participant or beneficiary if the loan satisfies the repayment term requirement of section 72(p)(2)(B), the level amortization requirement of section 72(p)(2)(C), and the enforceable agreement requirement of paragraph (b) of this Q&A-3, but only to the extent the loan satisfies the amount limitations of section 72(p)(2)(A).

(b) Enforceable agreement requirement. A loan does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph unless the loan is evidenced by a legally enforceable agreement (which may include more than one document) and the terms of the agreement demonstrate compliance with the requirements of section 72(p)(2) and this section. Thus, the agreement must specify the amount and date of the loan and the repayment schedule. The agreement does not have to be signed if the agreement is enforceable under applicable law without being signed. The agreement must be set forth either— Start Printed Page 46592

(1) In a written paper document;

(2) In an electronic medium that is reasonably accessible to the participant or the beneficiary and that is provided under a system that satisfies the following requirements:

(i) The system must be reasonably designed to preclude any individual other than the participant or the beneficiary from requesting a loan.

(ii) The system must provide the participant or the beneficiary with a reasonable opportunity to review and to confirm, modify, or rescind the terms of the loan before the loan is made.

(iii) The system must provide the participant or the beneficiary, within a reasonable time after the loan is made, a confirmation of the loan terms either through a written paper document or through an electronic medium that is reasonably accessible to the participant or the beneficiary and that is provided under a system that is reasonably designed to provide the confirmation in a manner no less understandable to the participant or beneficiary than a written document and, under which, at the time the confirmation is provided, the participant or the beneficiary is advised that he or she may request and receive a written paper document at no charge, and, upon request, that document is provided to the participant or beneficiary at no charge; or

(3) In such other form as may be approved by the Commissioner.

Q-4: If a loan from a qualified employer plan to a participant or beneficiary fails to satisfy the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section, when does a deemed distribution occur?

A-4: (a) Deemed distribution. For purposes of section 72, a deemed distribution occurs at the first time that the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section are not satisfied, in form or in operation. This may occur at the time the loan is made or at a later date. If the terms of the loan do not require repayments that satisfy the repayment term requirement of section 72(p)(2)(B) or the level amortization requirement of section 72(p)(2)(C), or the loan is not evidenced by an enforceable agreement satisfying the requirements of paragraph (b) of Q&A-3 of this section, the entire amount of the loan is a deemed distribution under section 72(p) at the time the loan is made. If the loan satisfies the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section except that the amount loaned exceeds the limitations of section 72(p)(2)(A), the amount of the loan in excess of the applicable limitation is a deemed distribution under section 72(p) at the time the loan is made. If the loan initially satisfies the requirements of section 72(p)(2)(A), (B) and (C) and the enforceable agreement requirement of paragraph (b) of Q&A-3 of this section, but payments are not made in accordance with the terms applicable to the loan, a deemed distribution occurs as a result of the failure to make such payments. See Q&A-10 of this section regarding when such a deemed distribution occurs and the amount thereof and Q&A-11 of this section regarding the tax treatment of a deemed distribution.

(b) Examples. The following examples illustrate the rules in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-4 and are based upon the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section:

Example 1.

(i) A participant has a nonforfeitable account balance of $200,000 and receives $70,000 as a loan repayable in level quarterly installments over five years.

(ii) Under section 72(p), the participant has a deemed distribution of $20,000 (the excess of $70,000 over $50,000) at the time of the loan, because the loan exceeds the $50,000 limit in section 72(p)(2)(A)(i). The remaining $50,000 is not a deemed distribution.

Example 2.

(i) A participant with a nonforfeitable account balance of $30,000 borrows $20,000 as a loan repayable in level monthly installments over five years.

(ii) Because the amount of the loan is $5,000 more than 50% of the participant's nonforfeitable account balance, the participant has a deemed distribution of $5,000 at the time of the loan. The remaining $15,000 is not a deemed distribution. (Note also that, if the loan is secured solely by the participant's account balance, the loan may be a prohibited transaction under section 4975 because the loan may not satisfy 29 CFR 2550.408b-1(f)(2).)

Example 3.

(i) The nonforfeitable account balance of a participant is $100,000 and a $50,000 loan is made to the participant repayable in level quarterly installments over seven years. The loan is not eligible for the section 72(p)(2)(B)(ii) exception for loans used to acquire certain dwelling units.

(ii) Because the repayment period exceeds the maximum five-year period in section 72(p)(2)(B)(i), the participant has a deemed distribution of $50,000 at the time the loan is made.

Example 4.

(i) On August 1, 2002, a participant has a nonforfeitable account balance of $45,000 and borrows $20,000 from a plan to be repaid over five years in level monthly installments due at the end of each month. After making monthly payments through July 2003, the participant fails to make any of the payments due thereafter.

(ii) As a result of the failure to satisfy the requirement that the loan be repaid in level monthly installments, the participant has a deemed distribution. See paragraph (c) of Q&A-10 of this section regarding when such a deemed distribution occurs and the amount thereof.

Q-5: What is a principal residence for purposes of the exception in section 72(p)(2)(B)(ii) from the requirement that a loan be repaid in five years?

A-5: Section 72(p)(2)(B)(ii) provides that the requirement in section 72(p)(2)(B)(i) that a plan loan be repaid within five years does not apply to a loan used to acquire a dwelling unit which will within a reasonable time be used as the principal residence of the participant (a principal residence plan loan). For this purpose, a principal residence has the same meaning as a principal residence under section 121.

Q-6: In order to satisfy the requirements for a principal residence plan loan, is a loan required to be secured by the dwelling unit that will within a reasonable time be used as the principal residence of the participant?

A-6: A loan is not required to be secured by the dwelling unit that will within a reasonable time be used as the participant's principal residence in order to satisfy the requirements for a principal residence plan loan.

Q-7: What tracing rules apply in determining whether a loan qualifies as a principal residence plan loan?

A-7: The tracing rules established under section 163(h)(3)(B) apply in determining whether a loan is treated as for the acquisition of a principal residence in order to qualify as a principal residence plan loan.

Q-8: Can a refinancing qualify as a principal residence plan loan?

A-8: (a) Refinancings. In general, no, a refinancing cannot qualify as a principal residence plan loan. However, a loan from a qualified employer plan used to repay a loan from a third party will qualify as a principal residence plan loan if the plan loan qualifies as a principal residence plan loan without regard to the loan from the third party.

(b) Example. The following example illustrates the rules in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-8 and is based upon the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section:

Example.

(i) On July 1, 2003, a participant requests a $50,000 plan loan to be repaid in level monthly installments over 15 years. On August 1, 2003, the participant acquires a principal residence and pays a portion of the purchase price with a $50,000 bank loan. On September 1, 2003, the plan loans $50,000 to the participant, which the participant uses to pay the bank loan.

(ii) Because the plan loan satisfies the requirements to qualify as a principal residence plan loan (taking into account the tracing rules of section 163(h)(3)(B)), the plan loan qualifies for the exception in section 72(p)(2)(B)(ii).

Q-9: Does the level amortization requirement of section 72(p)(2)(C) apply when a participant is on a leave of absence without pay?

A-9: (a) Leave of absence. The level amortization requirement of section Start Printed Page 4659372(p)(2)(C) does not apply for a period, not longer than one year (or such longer period as may apply under section 414(u)), that a participant is on a bona fide leave of absence, either without pay from the employer or at a rate of pay (after income and employment tax withholding) that is less than the amount of the installment payments required under the terms of the loan. However, the loan (including interest that accrues during the leave of absence) must be repaid by the latest date permitted under section 72(p)(2)(B) (e.g., the suspension of payments cannot extend the term of the loan beyond 5 years, in the case of a loan that is not a principal residence plan loan) and the amount of the installments due after the leave ends (or, if earlier, after the first year of the leave or such longer period as may apply under section 414(u)) must not be less than the amount required under the terms of the original loan.

(b) Military service. See section 414(u)(4) for special rules relating to military service.

(c) Example. The following example illustrates the rules of paragraph (a) of this Q&A-9 and is based upon the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section:

Example.

(i) On July 1, 2002, a participant with a nonforfeitable account balance of $80,000 borrows $40,000 to be repaid in level monthly installments of $825 each over 5 years. The loan is not a principal residence plan loan. The participant makes 9 monthly payments and commences an unpaid leave of absence that lasts for 12 months. Thereafter, the participant resumes active employment and resumes making repayments on the loan until the loan is repaid in full (including interest that accrued during the leave of absence). The amount of each monthly installment is increased to $1,130 in order to repay the loan by June 30, 2007.

(ii) Because the loan satisfies the requirements of section 72(p)(2), the participant does not have a deemed distribution. Alternatively, section 72(p)(2) would be satisfied if the participant continued the monthly installments of $825 after resuming active employment and on June 30, 2007 repaid the full balance remaining due.

Q-10: If a participant fails to make the installment payments required under the terms of a loan that satisfied the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section when made, when does a deemed distribution occur and what is the amount of the deemed distribution?

A-10: (a) Timing of deemed distribution. Failure to make any installment payment when due in accordance with the terms of the loan violates section 72(p)(2)(C) and, accordingly, results in a deemed distribution at the time of such failure. However, the plan administrator may allow a cure period and section 72(p)(2)(C) will not be considered to have been violated if the installment payment is made not later than the end of the cure period, which period cannot continue beyond the last day of the calendar quarter following the calendar quarter in which the required installment payment was due.

(b) Amount of deemed distribution. If a loan satisfies Q&A-3 of this section when made, but there is a failure to pay the installment payments required under the terms of the loan (taking into account any cure period allowed under paragraph (a) of this Q&A-10), then the amount of the deemed distribution equals the entire outstanding balance of the loan (including accrued interest) at the time of such failure.

(c) Example. The following example illustrates the rules in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this Q&A-10 and is based upon the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section:

Example.

(i) On August 1, 2002, a participant has a nonforfeitable account balance of $45,000 and borrows $20,000 from a plan to be repaid over 5 years in level monthly installments due at the end of each month. After making all monthly payments due through July 31, 2003, the participant fails to make the payment due on August 31, 2003 or any other monthly payments due thereafter. The plan administrator allows a three-month cure period.

(ii) As a result of the failure to satisfy the requirement that the loan be repaid in level installments pursuant to section 72(p)(2)(C), the participant has a deemed distribution on November 30, 2003, which is the last day of the three-month cure period for the August 31, 2003 installment. The amount of the deemed distribution is $17,157, which is the outstanding balance on the loan at November 30, 2003. Alternatively, if the plan administrator had allowed a cure period through the end of the next calendar quarter, there would be a deemed distribution on December 31, 2003 equal to $17,282, which is the outstanding balance of the loan at December 31, 2003.

Q-11: Does section 72 apply to a deemed distribution as if it were an actual distribution?

A-11: (a) Tax basis. If the employee's account includes after-tax contributions or other investment in the contract under section 72(e), section 72 applies to a deemed distribution as if it were an actual distribution, with the result that all or a portion of the deemed distribution may not be taxable.

(b) Section 72(t) and (m). Section 72(t) (which imposes a 10 percent tax on certain early distributions) and section 72(m)(5) (which imposes a separate 10 percent tax on certain amounts received by a 5-percent owner) apply to a deemed distribution under section 72(p) in the same manner as if the deemed distribution were an actual distribution.

Q-12: Is a deemed distribution under section 72(p) treated as an actual distribution for purposes of the qualification requirements of section 401, the distribution provisions of section 402, the distribution restrictions of section 401(k)(2)(B) or 403(b)(11), or the vesting requirements of § 1.411(a)-7(d)(5) (which affects the application of a graded vesting schedule in cases involving a prior distribution)?

A-12: No; thus, for example, if a participant in a money purchase plan who is an active employee has a deemed distribution under section 72(p), the plan will not be considered to have made an in-service distribution to the participant in violation of the qualification requirements applicable to money purchase plans. Similarly, the deemed distribution is not eligible to be rolled over to an eligible retirement plan and is not considered an impermissible distribution of an amount attributable to elective contributions in a section 401(k) plan. See also § 1.402(c)-2, Q&A-4(d) and § 1.401(k)-1(d)(6)(ii).

Q-13: How does a reduction (offset) of an account balance in order to repay a plan loan differ from a deemed distribution?

A-13: (a) Difference between deemed distribution and plan loan offset amount. (1) Loans to a participant from a qualified employer plan can give rise to two types of taxable distributions—

(i) A deemed distribution pursuant to section 72(p); and

(ii) A distribution of an offset amount.

(2) As described in Q&A-4 of this section, a deemed distribution occurs when the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section are not satisfied, either when the loan is made or at a later time. A deemed distribution is treated as a distribution to the participant or beneficiary only for certain tax purposes and is not a distribution of the accrued benefit. A distribution of a plan loan offset amount (as defined in § 1.402(c)-2, Q&A-9(b)) occurs when, under the terms governing a plan loan, the accrued benefit of the participant or beneficiary is reduced (offset) in order to repay the loan (including the enforcement of the plan's security interest in the accrued benefit). A distribution of a plan loan offset amount could occur in a variety of circumstances, such as where the terms governing the plan loan require that, in the event of the participant's request for a distribution, a loan be repaid immediately or treated as in default.

(b) Plan loan offset. In the event of a plan loan offset, the amount of the Start Printed Page 46594account balance that is offset against the loan is an actual distribution for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code, not a deemed distribution under section 72(p). Accordingly, a plan may be prohibited from making such an offset under the provisions of section 401(a), 401(k)(2)(B) or 403(b)(11) prohibiting or limiting distributions to an active employee. See § 1.402(c)-2, Q&A-9(c), Example 6. See also Q&A-19 of this section for rules regarding the treatment of a loan after a deemed distribution.

Q-14: How is the amount includible in income as a result of a deemed distribution under section 72(p) required to be reported?

A-14: The amount includible in income as a result of a deemed distribution under section 72(p) is required to be reported on Form 1099-R (or any other form prescribed by the Commissioner).

Q-15: What withholding rules apply to plan loans?

A-15: To the extent that a loan, when made, is a deemed distribution or an account balance is reduced (offset) to repay a loan, the amount includible in income is subject to withholding. If a deemed distribution of a loan or a loan repayment by benefit offset results in income at a date after the date the loan is made, withholding is required only if a transfer of cash or property (excluding employer securities) is made to the participant or beneficiary from the plan at the same time. See §§ 35.3405-1, f-4, and 31.3405(c)-1, Q&A-9 and Q&A-11, of this chapter for further guidance on withholding rules.

Q-16: If a loan fails to satisfy the requirements of Q&A-3 of this section and is a prohibited transaction under section 4975, is the deemed distribution of the loan under section 72(p) a correction of the prohibited transaction?

A-16: No, a deemed distribution is not a correction of a prohibited transaction under section 4975. See §§ 141.4975-13 and 53.4941(e)-1(c)(1) of this chapter for guidance concerning correction of a prohibited transaction.

Q-17: What are the income tax consequences if an amount is transferred from a qualified employer plan to a participant or beneficiary as a loan, but there is an express or tacit understanding that the loan will not be repaid?

A-17: If there is an express or tacit understanding that the loan will not be repaid or, for any reason, the transaction does not create a debtor-creditor relationship or is otherwise not a bona fide loan, then the amount transferred is treated as an actual distribution from the plan for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code, and is not treated as a loan or as a deemed distribution under section 72(p).

Q-18: If a qualified employer plan maintains a program to invest in residential mortgages, are loans made pursuant to the investment program subject to section 72(p)?

A-18: (a) Residential mortgage loans made by a plan in the ordinary course of an investment program are not subject to section 72(p) if the property acquired with the loans is the primary security for such loans and the amount loaned does not exceed the fair market value of the property. An investment program exists only if the plan has established, in advance of a specific investment under the program, that a certain percentage or amount of plan assets will be invested in residential mortgages available to persons purchasing the property who satisfy commercially customary financial criteria. A loan will not be considered as made under an investment program if—

(1) Any of the loans made under the program matures upon a participant's termination from employment;

(2) Any of the loans made under the program is an earmarked asset of a participant's or beneficiary's individual account in the plan; or

(3) The loans made under the program are made available only to participants or beneficiaries in the plan.

(b) Paragraph (a)(3) of this Q&A-18 shall not apply to a plan which, on December 20, 1995, and at all times thereafter, has had in effect a loan program under which, but for paragraph (a)(3) of this Q&A-18, the loans comply with the conditions of paragraph (a) of this Q&A-18 to constitute residential mortgage loans in the ordinary course of an investment program.

(c) No loan that benefits an officer, director, or owner of the employer maintaining the plan, or their beneficiaries, will be treated as made under an investment program.

(d) This section does not provide guidance on whether a residential mortgage loan made under a plan's investment program would result in a prohibited transaction under section 4975, or on whether such a loan made by a plan covered by Title I of ERISA would be consistent with the fiduciary standards of ERISA or would result in a prohibited transaction under section 406 of ERISA. See 29 CFR 2550.408b-1.

Q-19: If there is a deemed distribution under section 72(p), is the interest that accrues thereafter on the amount of the deemed distribution an indirect loan for income tax purposes?

A-19: (a) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this Q&A-19, a deemed distribution of a loan is treated as a distribution for purposes of section 72. Therefore, a loan that is deemed to be distributed under section 72(p) ceases to be an outstanding loan for purposes of section 72, and the interest that accrues thereafter under the plan on the amount deemed distributed is disregarded in applying section 72 to the participant or beneficiary. Even though interest continues to accrue on the outstanding loan (and is taken into account for purposes of determining the tax treatment of any subsequent loan in accordance with paragraph (b) of this Q&A-19), this additional interest is not treated as an additional loan (and, thus, does not result in an additional deemed distribution) for purposes of section 72(p). However, a loan that is deemed distributed under section 72(p) is not considered distributed for all purposes of the Internal Revenue Code. See Q&A-11 through Q&A-16 of this section.

(b) Exception for purposes of applying section 72(p)(2)(A) to a subsequent loan. In the case of a loan that is deemed distributed under section 72(p) and that has not been repaid (such as by a plan loan offset), the unpaid amount of such loan, including accrued interest, is considered outstanding for purposes of applying section 72(p)(2)(A) to determine the maximum amount of any subsequent loan to the participant or beneficiary.

Q-20: May a participant refinance an outstanding loan or have more than one loan outstanding from a plan?

A-20: [Reserved]

Q-21: Is a participant's tax basis under the plan increased if the participant repays the loan after a deemed distribution?

A-21: (a) Repayments after deemed distribution. Yes, if the participant or beneficiary repays the loan after a deemed distribution of the loan under section 72(p), then, for purposes of section 72(e), the participant's or beneficiary's investment in the contract (tax basis) under the plan increases by the amount of the cash repayments that the participant or beneficiary makes on the loan after the deemed distribution. However, loan repayments are not treated as after-tax contributions for other purposes, including sections 401(m) and 415(c)(2)(B).

(b) Example. The following example illustrates the rules in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-21 and is based on the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section:

Example.

(i) A participant receives a $20,000 loan on January 1, 2003, to be repaid in 20 quarterly installments of $1,245 each. Start Printed Page 46595On December 31, 2003, the outstanding loan balance ($19,179) is deemed distributed as a result of a failure to make quarterly installment payments that were due on September 30, 2003 and December 31, 2003. On June 30, 2004, the participant repays $5,147 (which is the sum of the three installment payments that were due on September 30, 2003, December 31, 2003, and March 31, 2004, with interest thereon to June 30, 2004, plus the installment payment due on June 30, 2004). Thereafter, the participant resumes making the installment payments of $1,245 from September 30, 2004 through December 31, 2007. The loan repayments made after December 31, 2003 through December 31, 2007 total $22,577.

(ii) Because the participant repaid $22,577 after the deemed distribution that occurred on December 31, 2003, the participant has investment in the contract (tax basis) equal to $22,577 (14 payments of $1,245 each plus a single payment of $5,147) as of December 31, 2007.

Q-22: When is the effective date of section 72(p) and the regulations in this section?

A-22: (a) Statutory effective date. Section 72(p) generally applies to assignments, pledges, and loans made after August 13, 1982.

(b) Regulatory effective date. This section applies to assignments, pledges, and loans made on or after January 1, 2002.

(c) Loans made before the regulatory effective date—(1) General rule. A plan is permitted to apply Q&A-19 and Q&A-21 of this section to a loan made before the regulatory effective date in paragraph (b) of this Q&A-22 (and after the statutory effective date in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-22) if there has not been any deemed distribution of the loan before the transition date or if the conditions of paragraph (c)(2) of this Q&A-22 are satisfied with respect to the loan.

(2) Consistency transition rule for certain loans deemed distributed before the regulatory effective date. (i) The rules in this paragraph (c)(2) of this Q&A-22 apply to a loan made before the regulatory effective date in paragraph (b) of this Q&A-22 (and after the statutory effective date in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-22) if there has been any deemed distribution of the loan before the transition date.

(ii) The plan is permitted to apply Q&A-19 and Q&A-21 of this section to the loan beginning on any January 1, but only if the plan reported, in Box 1 of Form 1099-R, for a taxable year no later than the latest taxable year that would be permitted under this section (if this section had been in effect for all loans made after the statutory effective date in paragraph (a) of this Q&A-22), a gross distribution of an amount at least equal to the initial default amount. For purposes of this section, the initial default amount is the amount that would be reported as a gross distribution under Q&A-4 and Q&A-10 of this section and the transition date is the January 1 on which a plan begins applying Q&A-19 and Q&A-21 of this section to a loan.

(iii) If a plan applies Q&A-19 and Q&A-21 of this section to such a loan, then the plan, in its reporting and withholding on or after the transition date, must not attribute investment in the contract (tax basis) to the participant or beneficiary based upon the initial default amount.

(iv) This paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this Q&A-22 applies if—

(A) The plan attributed investment in the contract (tax basis) to the participant or beneficiary based on the deemed distribution of the loan;

(B) The plan subsequently made an actual distribution to the participant or beneficiary before the transition date; and

(C) Immediately before the transition date, the initial default amount (or, if less, the amount of the investment in the contract so attributed) exceeds the participant's or beneficiary's investment in the contract (tax basis). If this paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this Q&A-22 applies, the plan must treat the excess (the loan transition amount) as a loan amount that remains outstanding and must include the excess in the participant's or beneficiary's income at the time of the first actual distribution made on or after the transition date.

(3) Examples. The rules in paragraph (c)(2) of this Q&A-22 are illustrated by the following examples, which are based on the assumptions described in the introductory text of this section (and, except as specifically provided in the examples, also assume that no distributions are made to the participant and that the participant has no investment in the contract with respect to the plan). Example 1, Example 2, and Example 4 of this paragraph (c)(3) of this Q&A-22 illustrate the application of the rules in paragraph (c)(2) of this Q&A-22 to a plan that, before the transition date, did not treat interest accruing after the initial deemed distribution as resulting in additional deemed distributions under section 72(p). Example 3 of this paragraph (c)(3) of this Q&A-22 illustrates the application of the rules in paragraph (c)(2) of this Q&A-22 to a plan that, before the transition date, treated interest accruing after the initial deemed distribution as resulting in additional deemed distributions under section 72(p). The examples are as follows:

Example 1.

(i) In 1998, when a participant's account balance under a plan is $50,000, the participant receives a loan from the plan. The participant makes the required repayments until 1999 when there is a deemed distribution of $20,000 as a result of a failure to repay the loan. For 1999, as a result of the deemed distribution, the plan reports, in Box 1 of Form 1099-R, a gross distribution of $20,000 (which is the initial default amount in accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this Q&A-22) and, in Box 2 of Form 1099-R, a taxable amount of $20,000. The plan then records an increase in the participant's tax basis for the same amount ($20,000). Thereafter, the plan disregards, for purposes of section 72, the interest that accrues on the loan after the 1999 deemed distribution. Thus, as of December 31, 2001, the total taxable amount reported by the plan as a result of the deemed distribution is $20,000 and the plan's records show that the participant's tax basis is the same amount ($20,000). As of January 1, 2002, the plan decides to apply Q&A-19 of this section to the loan. Accordingly, it reduces the participant's tax basis by the initial default amount of $20,000, so that the participant's remaining tax basis in the plan is zero. Thereafter, the amount of the outstanding loan is not treated as part of the account balance for purposes of section 72. The participant attains age 591/2 in the year 2003 and receives a distribution of the full account balance under the plan consisting of $60,000 in cash and the loan receivable. At that time, the plan's records reflect an offset of the loan amount against the loan receivable in the participant's account and a distribution of $60,000 in cash.

(ii) For the year 2003, the plan must report a gross distribution of $60,000 in Box 1 of Form 1099-R and a taxable amount of $60,000 in Box 2 of Form 1099-R.

Example 2.

(i) The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that in 1999, immediately prior to the deemed distribution, the participant's account balance under the plan totals $50,000 and the participant's tax basis is $10,000. For 1999, the plan reports, in Box 1 of Form 1099-R, a gross distribution of $20,000 (which is the initial default amount in accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this Q&A-22) and reports, in Box 2 of Form 1099-R, a taxable amount of $16,000 (the $20,000 deemed distribution minus $4,000 of tax basis ($10,000 times ($20,000/$50,000)) allocated to the deemed distribution). The plan then records an increase in tax basis equal to the $20,000 deemed distribution, so that the participant's remaining tax basis as of December 31, 1999, totals $26,000 ($10,000 minus $4,000 plus $20,000). Thereafter, the plan disregards, for purposes of section 72, the interest that accrues on the loan after the 1999 deemed distribution. Thus, as of December 31, 2001, the total taxable amount reported by the plan as a result of the deemed distribution is $16,000 and the plan's records show that the participant's tax basis is $26,000. As of January 1, 2002, the plan decides to apply Q&A-19 of this section to the loan. Accordingly, it reduces the participant's tax basis by the initial default amount of $20,000, so that the participant's Start Printed Page 46596remaining tax basis in the plan is $6,000. Thereafter, the amount of the outstanding loan is not treated as part of the account balance for purposes of section 72. The participant attains age 591/2 in the year 2003 and receives a distribution of the full account balance under the plan consisting of $60,000 in cash and the loan receivable. At that time, the plan's records reflect an offset of the loan amount against the loan receivable in the participant's account and a distribution of $60,000 in cash.

(ii) For the year 2003, the plan must report a gross distribution of $60,000 in Box 1 of Form 1099-R and a taxable amount of $54,000 in Box 2 of Form 1099-R.

Example 3.

(i) In 1993, when a participant's account balance in a plan is $100,000, the participant receives a loan of $50,000 from the plan. The participant makes the required loan repayments until 1995 when there is a deemed distribution of $28,919 as a result of a failure to repay the loan. For 1995, as a result of the deemed distribution, the plan reports, in Box 1 of Form 1099-R, a gross distribution of $28,919 (which is the initial default amount in accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this Q&A-22) and, in Box 2 of Form 1099-R, a taxable amount of $28,919. For 1995, the plan also records an increase in the participant's tax basis for the same amount ($28,919). Each year thereafter through 2001, the plan reports a gross distribution equal to the interest accruing that year on the loan balance, reports a taxable amount equal to the interest accruing that year on the loan balance reduced by the participant's tax basis allocated to the gross distribution, and records a net increase in the participant's tax basis equal to that taxable amount. As of December 31, 2001, the taxable amount reported by the plan as a result of the loan totals $44,329 and the plan's records for purposes of section 72 show that the participant's tax basis totals the same amount ($44,329). As of January 1, 2002, the plan decides to apply Q&A-19 of this section. Accordingly, it reduces the participant's tax basis by the initial default amount of $28,919, so that the participant's remaining tax basis in the plan is $15,410 ($44,329 minus $28,919). Thereafter, the amount of the outstanding loan is not treated as part of the account balance for purposes of section 72. The participant attains age 591/2 in the year 2003 and receives a distribution of the full account balance under the plan consisting of $180,000 in cash and the loan receivable equal to the $28,919 outstanding loan amount in 1995 plus interest accrued thereafter to the payment date in 2003. At that time, the plan's records reflect an offset of the loan amount against the loan receivable in the participant's account and a distribution of $180,000 in cash.

(ii) For the year 2003, the plan must report a gross distribution of $180,000 in Box 1 of Form 1099-R and a taxable amount of $164,590 in Box 2 of Form 1099-R ($180,000 minus the remaining tax basis of $15,410).

Example 4.

(i) The facts are the same as in Example 1, except that in 2000, after the deemed distribution, the participant receives a $10,000 hardship distribution. At the time of the hardship distribution, the participant's account balance under the plan totals $50,000. For 2000, the plan reports, in Box 1 of Form 1099-R, a gross distribution of $10,000 and, in Box 2 of Form 1099-R, a taxable amount of $6,000 (the $10,000 actual distribution minus $4,000 of tax basis ($10,000 times ($20,000/$50,000)) allocated to this actual distribution). The plan then records a decrease in tax basis equal to $4,000, so that the participant's remaining tax basis as of December 31, 2000, totals $16,000 ($20,000 minus $4,000). After 1999, the plan disregards, for purposes of section 72, the interest that accrues on the loan after the 1999 deemed distribution. Thus, as of December 31, 2001, the total taxable amount reported by the plan as a result of the deemed distribution plus the 2000 actual distribution is $26,000 and the plan's records show that the participant's tax basis is $16,000. As of January 1, 2002, the plan decides to apply Q&A-19 of this section to the loan. Accordingly, it reduces the participant's tax basis by the initial default amount of $20,000, so that the participant's remaining tax basis in the plan is reduced from $16,000 to zero. However, because the $20,000 initial default amount exceeds $16,000, the plan records a loan transition amount of $4,000 ($20,000 minus $16,000). Thereafter, the amount of the outstanding loan, other than the $4,000 loan transition amount, is not treated as part of the account balance for purposes of section 72. The participant attains age 591/2 in the year 2003 and receives a distribution of the full account balance under the plan consisting of $60,000 in cash and the loan receivable. At that time, the plan's records reflect an offset of the loan amount against the loan receivable in the participant's account and a distribution of $60,000 in cash.

(ii) In accordance with paragraph (c)(2)(iv) of this Q&A-22, the plan must report in Box 1 of Form 1099-R a gross distribution of $64,000 and in Box 2 of Form 1099-R a taxable amount for the participant for the year 2003 equal to $64,000 (the sum of the $60,000 paid in the year 2003 plus $4,000 as the loan transition amount).

Start Signature

Robert E. Wenzel,

Deputy Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

End Signature Start Signature
Approved: July 13, 2000.

Jonathan Talisman,

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  With respect to coverage under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 829) (ERISA), the Department of Labor (DOL) has advised the IRS that an employer's tax-sheltered annuity program would not necessarily fail to satisfy the Department's regulation at 29 CFR 2510.3-2(f) merely because the employer permits employees to make repayments of loans made in connection with the tax-sheltered annuity program through payroll deductions as part of the employer's payroll deduction system, if the program operates within the limitations set by that regulation.

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2.  The Department of Labor has advised the IRS that, with respect to plans covered by Title I of ERISA, the administration of a participant loan program involves the management of plan assets. Therefore, fiduciary conduct undertaken in the administration of such a loan program must conform to the rules that govern transactions involving plan assets. See, generally, ERISA sections 403, 404, and 406. Fiduciary conduct in the administration of a loan program would include decisions concerning the rules governing the program, including establishing standards to govern the appropriateness of making any particular loan and the appropriate treatment of any defaulted loan. Further, absent an exemption, any loan between a plan covered by Title I of ERISA and a party in interest to the plan (including plan participants and beneficiaries) would constitute a prohibited transaction under section 406(a)(1)(B) of ERISA. DOL has promulgated a regulation at 29 CFR 2550.408b-1 providing guidance regarding the statutory exemption contained in section 408(b)(1) of ERISA for plan loans to parties in interest who are participants or beneficiaries. Further, some loans by plans (whether or not covered under Title I of ERISA) may constitute prohibited transactions under section 4975(c)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code. Under section 102 of Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1978, (43 FR 47,713) (1978), the Secretary of Labor has jurisdiction to promulgate regulations under section 4975(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, which provides a limited exemption to the prohibition of section 4975(c)(1)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code.

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3.  Neither the regulations regarding use of electronic medium under section 411 nor these regulations apply for purposes of satisfying the requirements of section 417, including the requirement of section 417(a)(2)(A) that spousal consent be witnessed by a notary public or plan representative.

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4.  H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 97-760, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 620 (1982), 1982-2 C.B. 672 and S. Rep. No. 97-494, 97th Cong., 2d Sess. 319, 321 (1982).

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5.  See, for example, PTCE 88-59.

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6.  Section 1034 was repealed by section 312(b) of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) (111 Stat. 788).

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7.  Like the 1995 proposed regulations, the final regulations (at Q&A-7) apply the tracing rules of section 163(h)(3) of the Code to trace whether a loan is a principal residence plan loan. Notice 88-74 (1988-2 C.B. 385), sets forth certain standards applicable under section 163(h)(3).

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[FR Doc. 00-18815 Filed 7-28-00; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4830-01-U