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IRS Issues Final Regulations on Longevity Annuity Contracts

Targeted News Service

Targeted News Service

WASHINGTON, July 3 -- The U.S. Internal Revenue Service published the following rule in the Federal Register:

Longevity Annuity Contracts

A Rule by the Internal Revenue Service on 07/02/2014

Publication Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Agencies: Department of the Treasury

Internal Revenue Service

Entry Type: Rule

Action: Final regulations.

Document Citation: 79 FR 37633

Page: 37633 -37643 (11 pages)

CFR: 26 CFR 1

26 CFR 602

Agency/Docket Number: TD 9673

RIN: 1545-BK23

Document Number: 2014-15524

Shorter URL: https://federalregister.gov/a/2014-15524

Action

Final Regulations.

Summary

This document contains final regulations relating to the use of longevity annuity contracts in tax-qualified defined contribution plans under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), section 403(b) plans, individual retirement annuities and accounts (IRAs) under section 408, and eligible governmental plans under section 457(b). These regulations will provide the public with guidance necessary to comply with the required minimum distribution rules under section 401(a)(9) applicable to an IRA or a plan that holds a longevity annuity contract. The regulations will affect individuals for whom a longevity annuity contract is purchased under these plans and IRAs (and their beneficiaries), sponsors and administrators of these plans, trustees and custodians of these plans and IRAs, and insurance companies that issue longevity annuity contracts under these plans and IRAs.

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DATES:

Effective date: These regulations are effective on July 2, 2014.

Applicability date: These regulations apply to contracts purchased on or after July 2, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jamie Dvoretzky at (202) 317-6799 (not a toll-free number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Paperwork Reduction Act

The collection of information contained in these regulations has been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) under control number 1545-2234. The collection of information in these final regulations is in A-17(a)(6) of section 1.401(a)(9)-6 (disclosure that a contract is intended to be a qualifying longevity annuity contract (QLAC), defined in A-17 of that section) and section 1.6047-2 (an annual statement must be provided to QLAC owners and their surviving spouses containing information required to be furnished to the IRS). The information in A-17(a)(6) of section 1.401(a)(9)-6 is required in order to notify employees [1] and beneficiaries, plan sponsors, and the IRS that the regulations apply to a contract. The information in the annual statement in section 1.6047-2(c) is required in order to apply the dollar and percentage limitations in A-17(b) of section 1.401(a)(9)-6 and A-12(b) of section 1.408-8 and to comply with other requirements of the required minimum distribution rules.

Estimated total average annual recordkeeping burden: 28,529 hours.

Estimated average annual burden per response: 8 minutes.

Estimated number of responses: 213,966.

Estimated number of recordkeepers: 150.

An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the collection of information displays a valid control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget.

Books or records relating to a collection of information must be retained as long as their contents may become material in the administration of any internal revenue law. Generally, tax returns and tax return information are confidential, as required by section 6103.

Background

This document contains amendments to the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 1) under sections 401(a)(9), 403(b)(10), 408(a)(6), 408(b)(3), 408A(c)(5), and 6047(d) of the Code.

Section 401(a)(9) prescribes required minimum distribution rules for a qualified trust under section 401(a). In general, under these rules, distribution of each employee's entire interest must begin by the required beginning date. The required beginning date generally is April 1 of the calendar year following the later of (1) the calendar year in which the employee attains age 701/2or (2) the calendar year in which the employee retires. However, the ability to delay distribution until the calendar year in which an employee retires does not apply in the case of a 5-percent owner or an IRA owner.

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If the entire interest of the employee is not distributed by the required beginning date, section 401(a)(9)(A) provides that the entire interest of the employee must be distributed, beginning not later than the required beginning date, in accordance with regulations, over the life of the employee or lives of the employee and a designated beneficiary (or over a period not extending beyond the life expectancy of the employee or the life expectancy of the employee and a designated beneficiary). Section 401(a)(9)(B) prescribes required minimum distribution rules that apply after the death of the employee. Section 401(a)(9)(G) provides that any distribution required to satisfy the incidental death benefit requirement of section 401(a) is treated as a required minimum distribution.

Section 403(b) plans, IRAs described in section 408, and eligible deferred compensation plans under section 457(b) also are subject to the required minimum distribution rules of section 401(a)(9) pursuant to sections 403(b)(10), 408(a)(6) and (b)(3), and 457(d)(2), respectively, and to the regulations under those sections. However, pursuant to section 408A(c)(5), the minimum distribution and minimum distribution incidental benefit (MDIB) requirements do not apply to Roth IRAs during the life of the employee.

Section 6047(d) states that the Secretary shall by forms or regulations require the employer maintaining, or the plan administrator of, a plan from which designated distributions (as defined in section 3405(e)(1)) may be made, and any person issuing any contract under which designated distributions may be made, to make returns and reports regarding the plan or contract to the Secretary, to the participants and beneficiaries of the plan or contract, and to such other persons as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe. This section also provides that the Secretary may, by forms or regulations, prescribe the manner and time for filing these reports.

Section 1.401(a)(9)-6 of the Income Tax Regulations sets forth the minimum distribution rules that apply to a defined benefit plan and to annuity contracts under a defined contribution plan. Under A-12 of section 1.401(a)(9)-6, if an annuity contract held under a defined contribution plan has not yet been annuitized, the interest of an employee or beneficiary under that contract is treated as an individual account for purposes of section 401(a)(9). Thus, the value of that contract is included in the account balance used to determine required minimum distributions from the employee's individual account.

If an annuity contract has been annuitized, the periodic annuity payments must be nonincreasing, subject to certain exceptions that are set forth in A-14 of section 1.401(a)(9)-6. In addition, annuity payments must satisfy the MDIB requirement of section 401(a)(9)(G). Under A-2(b) of section 1.401(a)(9)-6, if an employee's sole beneficiary, as of the annuity starting date, is his or her spouse and the distributions satisfy section 401(a)(9) without regard to the MDIB requirement, the distributions to the employee are deemed to satisfy the MDIB requirement. However, if distributions are in the form of a joint and survivor annuity for an employee and a non-spouse beneficiary, the MDIB requirement is not satisfied unless the periodic annuity payment payable to the survivor does not exceed an applicable percentage of the amount that is payable to the employee, with the applicable percentage determined using the table in A-2(c) of section 1.401(a)(9)-6.

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The regulations under sections 403(b)(10), 408(a)(6), 408(b)(3), 408A(c)(5), and 457(d)(2) prescribe how the required minimum distribution rules apply to other types of retirement plans and accounts. Section 1.403(b)-6(e)(2) provides, with certain exceptions, that the section 401(a)(9) required minimum distribution rules are applied to section 403(b) contracts in accordance with the provisions in section 1.408-8. As provided in A-1 of section 1.408-8, with certain modifications, an IRA is subject to the rules of sections 1.401(a)(9)-1 through 1.401(a)(9)-9. One such modification is set forth in A-9 of section 1.408-8, which prescribes a rule under which an IRA generally does not fail to satisfy section 401(a)(9) merely because the required minimum distribution with respect to the IRA is distributed instead from another IRA.

On February 2, 2010, the Department of Labor, the IRS, and the Department of the Treasury issued a Request for Information Regarding Lifetime Income Options for Participants and Beneficiaries in Retirement Plans in the Federal Register (75 FR 5253). That Request for Information included questions relating to how the required minimum distribution rules affect defined contribution plan sponsors' and participants' interest in the offering and use of lifetime income products. In particular, the Request for Information asked whether there were changes to the rules that could or should be considered to encourage arrangements under which participants can purchase deferred annuities that begin at an advanced age (sometimes referred to as longevity annuities or longevity insurance). A number of commenters identified the required minimum distribution rules as an impediment to the utilization of these types of annuities. The Treasury Department and the IRS concluded that there are substantial advantages to modifying the minimum distribution rules in order to facilitate a participant's purchase of a deferred annuity that is scheduled to commence at an advanced age, such as 80 or 85.

On February 3, 2012, proposed amendments to the regulations (REG-115809-11) under sections 401(a)(9), 403(b)(10), 408(a)(6), 408(b)(3), 408A(c)(5), and 6047(d) of the Code were published in the Federal Register (77 FR 5443). The amendments to the regulations relating to the required minimum distribution rules were proposed in order to facilitate the purchase of deferred annuities that begin at an advanced age.

A public hearing was held on June 1, 2012. Written comments responding to the notice of proposed rulemaking were also received. After consideration of all the comments, the proposed regulations are adopted, as amended by this Treasury Decision. The most significant revisions are discussed in the Summary of Comments and Explanation of Revisions.

Summary of Comments and Explanation of Revisions

These final regulations modify the required minimum distribution rules in order to facilitate the purchase of deferred annuities that begin at an advanced age. These regulations apply to contracts that satisfy certain requirements, including the requirement that distributions commence not later than age 85. Prior to annuitization, the value of these contracts, referred to as "qualifying longevity annuity contracts" (QLACs), is excluded from the account balance used to determine required minimum distributions.

[*Federal RegisterVJ 2014-07-02]

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