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Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment; Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 91-55-Transactions Between Individual Retirement Accounts and Authorized Purchasers of American Eagle Coins

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Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.




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). This program 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 Employee Benefits Security Administration is soliciting comments on the proposed extension of Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 91-55, pertaining to transactions between individual retirement accounts and authorized purchasers of American Eagle coins.

A copy of the information collection request (ICR) can be obtained by contacting the individual shown in the Addresses section of this notice.


Written comments must be submitted to the office shown in the Addresses section on or before April 26, 2004.


Gerald B. Lindrew, Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, (202) 693-8410, FAX (202) 693-4745 (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 Start Printed Page 8990exemption 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 who invests in IRAs and transacts 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. Review Focus

The Department of Labor (Department) is particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions 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

The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval of this ICR will expire on June 30, 2004. After considering comments received in response to this notice, the Department intends to submit the ICR to OMB for continuing approval. No change to the existing ICR is proposed or made at this time.

Agency: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

Title: Prohibited Transaction Class Exemption 91-55.

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

OMB Number: 1210-0079.

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

Respondents: 2.

Responses: 12,800.

Frequency: On occasion.

Estimated Total Burden Hours: 554 hours.

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

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Dated: February 20, 2004.

Gerald B. Lindrew,

Deputy Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

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[FR Doc. 04-4246 Filed 2-25-04; 8:45 am]