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Extension of Information Collection; Comment Request; Prohibited Transaction Exemption 91-55

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The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance consultation program to provide the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA 95) 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A). This helps to ensure that requested data can be provided in the desired format, reporting burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.

Currently, the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration is soliciting comments concerning the information collection request (ICR) incorporated in Prohibited Transaction Exemption 91-55, Transactions Between Individual Retirement Accounts and Authorized Purchasers of American Eagle Coins. A copy of the ICR may be obtained by contacting the office listed in the Addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the Addresses section below on or before April 16, 2001.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Office of Policy and Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Telephone: (202) 219-4782 (this is not a toll-free number); FAX: (202) 219-4745. These are not toll-free numbers.

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I. Background

Prohibited Transaction Exemption 91-55 permits purchases and sales by certain “individual retirement accounts,” as defined in Internal Revenue Code section 408 (IRAs) of American Eagle bullion coins (“Coins”) in principal transactions from or to broker-dealers in Coins that are “authorized purchasers” of Coins in bulk quantities from the United States Mint and which are also “disqualified persons,” within the meaning of Code section 4975(e)(2), with respect to IRAs. The exemption also describes the circumstances under which an interest-free extension of credit in connection with such sales and purchases is permitted. In the absence of an exemption, such purchases and sales and extensions of credit would be impermissible under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

The information collection request for this exemption includes three requirements. First, certain information related to covered transactions in Coins must be disclosed by the authorized purchaser to persons who direct the transaction for the IRA. Currently, it is standard industry practice that most of this information is provided to persons directing investments in an IRA when transactions in Coins occur. The exemption also requires that the disqualified person maintain for a period of at least six years such records as are necessary to allow accredited persons, as defined in the exemption, to determine whether the conditions of the transaction have been met. Finally, an authorized purchaser must provide a confirmation statement with respect to each covered transaction to the person who directs the transaction for the IRA.

The recordkeeping requirement facilitates the Department's ability to make findings under section 408 of ERISA and section 4975(c) of the Code. The confirmation and disclosure requirements protect a participant or beneficiary investing in IRAs transacting in Coins with authorized purchasers by providing the investor or the person directing his or her investments with timely information about the market in Coins and about the individual's account in particular.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

The Department of Labor is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the Start Printed Page 10323functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

This Notice requests comments on the extension of the ICR included in PTE 91-55. The Department is not proposing or implementing changes to the existing ICR at this time.

Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection of information.

Agency: Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Exemption 91-55.

OMB Number: 1210-0079.

Affected Public: Business or other for-profit; Not-for-profit institutions; Individuals.

Total Respondents: 3.

Frequency: On occasion.

Total Responses: 55,000.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 2,400 hours.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for Office of Management and Budget approval of the information collection request; they will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: February 6, 2001.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research.

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[FR Doc. 01-3729 Filed 2-13-01; 8:45 am]