What's New for Practitioners
PBGC Releases Data Book: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation today released its annual update on pension data. The Data Book covers information recently reported by pension plans and the PBGC and compares it to values for prior years. Generally, the update covers pension plan data for the year beginning in 2014 with some later data as well.
The Data Book tables provide researchers, journalists and others interested in the federal pension insurance program easily accessible, detailed statistics for the single-employer and multiemployer plans that PBGC insures.
This update presents information on a range of topics including:
Number of people and plans that PBGC protects
Number of people receiving or eligible to receive benefits from PBGC
Benefits paid to participants and beneficiaries
Claims against PBGC
Funding status of PBGC-protected plans
Analysis of populations that PBGC protects by industry, state, and other statistics
A new multiemployer table added this year includes time series data on participants in plans by zone status as defined under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 through 2013. Additional data on zone status for prior years was issued as a multiemployer graphical supplement in April.
Zone status refers to multiemployer plan statuses as defined under the Pension Protection Act, which describe the financial condition of multiemployer plans, which range from critical status (i.e. red zone), through seriously endangered (orange zone), endangered (yellow zone) and other (green zone). (05/27/2016)
Civil Monetary Penalties Interim Final Rule: On May 13, 2016, PBGC published an interim final rule amending two information penalty regulations (29 CFR parts 4071 and 4302) to implement changes required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015. These regulations specify the maximum daily amount of penalties that may be assessed when plans fail to provide PBGC with certain required information (e.g., reportable event filings, 4010 filings, certain multiemployer plan notices). The new law requires all government agencies to increase such rates to account for inflation. For more information about this law, see Office of Management and Budget Memorandum M-16-06.
It is fairly uncommon for PBGC to assess information penalties. The agency's goal is to encourage compliance, not to penalize plans that inadvertently forget to file information. And, when information penalties are assessed, PBGC takes many factors into account when determining the amount of penalty to assess (e.g., plan size, whether the failure to report was "willful", whether the information was time-sensitive, the length of delay). In most cases, when PBGC assess an information penalty, it is for an amount significantly less than the maximum permitted by regulation. (05/13/2016)
My PAA Improvements: Some improvements were made to My Plan Administration Account (My PAA) in response to premium filer suggestions. For example, you may now move plans in your account so that the more frequently-used plans show first, and all e-filing team members may retrieve a plan's in-process filing if the person holding the filing is not available to route the filing. See What's New in My PAA and the updated Demos for additional information. (05/03/2016)
Premium Penalty Relief Proposed Rule: On April 28, 2016, PBGC will publish a proposal to amend its Premium Payments regulation (29 CFR part 4007). Under the proposal, late payment penalties would be reduced by 50%. In addition, for plans with good compliance histories that pay promptly after a PBGC underpayment notification, penalties would be reduced even more (an 80% reduction, on top of the 50% reduction noted above).
The proposal applies to both single-employer and multiemployer plans. The proposed rule is available for public inspection. Comments on the proposed rule are due June 27, 2016. (04/27/2016)
Request for Approval of Alternative Arbitration Procedure: On March 23, 2016, PBGC published a notice of Pendency of Request for Approval of Alternative Arbitration Procedure; American Arbitration Association. American Arbitration Association (AAA) has requested approval of its 2013 Fee Schedule in connection with its Multiemployer Pension Plan Arbitration Rules for Withdrawal Liability Disputes. Comments on AAA’s application must be received on or before May 23, 2016. (03/24/2016)
4010 Final Rule: On March 23, 2016, PBGC will publish a final rule amending its regulation on Annual Financial and Actuarial Information Reporting (29 CFR part 4010). The amendments modify how underfunding is determined for purposes of the existing reporting waiver for companies with total aggregate underfunding of $15 million or less. In addition, the amendments create three new reporting waivers (including one for companies whose plans cover fewer than 500 participants) and provide simpler, alternative methods of compliance with respect to some of the more burdensome calculations. The amendments also codify informal guidance provided earlier regarding the impact of recent legislation (MAP-21 and HATFA) on 4010 reporting and make other minor technical changes.
The first filings under the new regulation will be due April 17, 2017. The e‑4010 module of the e-filing portal will be updated to reflect these changes later this year. The final rule is now available for public inspection. (03/22/2016)
Reportable Events Forms and Instructions: Revised forms and instructions for reporting under the recently revised 4043 regulation (i.e., Forms 10, 10A, and 200) have been approved by OMB and are now available on the Reportable Events & Large Unpaid Contributions page of PBGC's website. See Q&A #4 of the Reportable Event FAQs for details about when to use the new forms. Reporting required under the new regulation must be done electronically, either using these forms or PBGC's new e-filing portal. We will be posting additional information about the new e-filing portal in near future. (01/07/2016) Click here to access a user manual with step-by-step instructions on how to create and manage your e-Filing Portal account. (01/07/2016)
2016 Premium Filings: My PAA is now ready to accept electronic premium filings for plan years beginning in 2016. For additional information, see the following pages: Premium Payment Instructions & Addresses, What's New in My PAA, Online Demos, Online Premium Filing with My PAA (for FAQs, My PAA User's Manual, etc.). (01/05/2016)
Partitions final rule. On December 23, PBGC will publish a final rule that makes minor changes to the June 19, 2015 interim final rule implementing the application process and notice requirements for partitions of eligible multiemployer plans under ERISA, as amended by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. (12/22/2015)
2016 Premium Filing Instructions: The 2016 Comprehensive Premium Filing Instructions (including the illustrative form) have been approved by OMB and are now available on PBGC’s website. We expect My PAA will be ready to accept 2016 filings in January and will post a notice on What's New for Practitioners at that time. (12/15/2015)
Launch of new e-filing portal for PBGC: On December 9, 2015, PBGC upgraded its e-4010 application and re-named it the PBGC e-filing portal. In addition to preparing and submitting 4010 filings via the e-filing portal, practitioners will have the option of filing information required under PBGC's new ERISA 4043 regulation via the portal. The new e-filing portal also has a multiemployer plan module from which various applications and notices and may (or in some cases, must) be submitted to PBGC (e.g., applications for financial assistance, annual funding notices, critical and endangered notices). The new e-filing portal has no impact on My PAA.
Practitioners who don't already have an e-4010 account will need to set up an account to be able to use the PBGC e‑filing portal. Current e-4010 account holders have been informed of the minimal ways in which this change affects them via email. The information included in that email is also available on PBGC's 4010 webpage. We will be posting additional information about the new e-filing portal in the future. (12/11/2015) Click here to access a user manual with step-by-step instructions on how to create and manage your e-Filing Portal account.
Expected Retirement Age Annual Update: On December 1, 2015, PBGC published a final rule amending its valuation regulation by substituting a new table for selecting a retirement rate category. The new table applies to any plan being terminated either in a distress termination or involuntarily by the PBGC with a valuation date falling in 2016. (12/03/2015)
Maximum Guarantee: On October 28th, 2015, PBGC announced that the annual maximum guaranteed benefit for a 65-year-old retiree in a single-employer plan is remaining at $60,136 for 2016. A table showing amounts for other ages is available on the PBGC's website. (10/28/2015)
Benefit Restrictions - Present Value of PBGC Maximum Guarantee: On October 28, 2015, PBGC posted a table showing the applicable present values for 2016 plan years. For more information see Technical Update 07-04. (10/28/2015)
2016 Premium Rates: The "Premium Rates" webpage has been updated to show premium rates for 2016. (10/26/2015)
Multiemployer plan mandatory e-filing final rule. On September 17, 2015, PBGC published a final rule that amends PBGC's multiemployer regulations to require electronic filing of certain multiemployer notices, starting 2016. The final rule affects only notices to PBGC and does not involve the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. The regulatory changes will make the provision of information to PBGC more efficient and effective and result in a slight decrease in burden on filers. (09/17/2015)
Premium Reminders: Please note the following reminders to help ensure your premium filings are timely and accurate: (09/16/2015)
- For plan years starting in 2015, Small Plans are subject to the same Normal Due Date rules as all other plans. For example, a small plan with a plan year commencing (PYC) date of January 1, 2015 now as a due date of October 15, 2015. Further details are in the "When to File" section of the 2015 premium instructions.
- For plan years starting in 2014, the transition due dates for Small Plans still apply. For example, a small plan with a plan year commencing (PYC) date of December, 2, 2014 has a normal due date of Feb 16, 2016. Further details are in the "When to File" section of the 2014 premium instructions.
- Please take an inventory of the plans you are responsible for and take appropriate actions to ensure filings are made timely and accurately (e.g., review each plan's online Account History). We expect high filing activity leading up to October 15, 2015 (many plans have an October due date), so please file as soon as practicable.
- Be sure to use only the current Premium Payment Addresses for checks and electronic payments made outside of My PAA. Note that as of October 1, 2015, any payments or mail sent to the previous JPMorgan addresses will be returned to the sender and could result in late payment penalties.
- For small plans that had the opportunity to opt out of the Lookback Rule in the past but chose not to, PBGC permission is required to opt out. Conversely, if a plan opted out of the Lookback Rule for 2014, and now wants to use the Lookback Rule, PBGC permission is required. The request must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 60 days before the due date. Further details are in the "How to Determine Unfunded Vested Benefits" section of the 2015 premium instructions.
- To help you keep current and to file timely, we recommend that you sign up to receive monthly practitioner filing reminder emails for the months you identify via the following link:
http://www.pbgc.gov/prac/pg/other/practitioner-filing-reminders.html. To help us continue to improve My PAA to meet your needs, please be sure to give us your feedback via the online surveys.
- If you have any questions or need assistance (e.g., if your My PAA account is locked or to deactivate your My PAA account because it is no longer needed), please contact PBGC's premium representatives at email@example.com or 1-800-736-2444 and select the "premium" option.
Reportable Events final rule: On September 11, 2015, PBGC will publish a final rule amending its regulation on Reportable Events and Certain Other Notification Requirements (29 CFR part 4043). The amendments provide the majority of sponsors and plans with increased flexibility to determine whether a waiver from reporting will apply. Under the new rules, reporting will be limited to situations that pose the greatest risk to the pension insurance system. The final rule was developed in response to comments on the proposed rule and Executive Order 13563 on Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review. The final rule is available now for public inspection. For more information, read PBGC's press release and our Reportable Events FAQs. (09/10/2015)
Reportable Events: OMB has approved revisions to the information collection requirements for reportable events and Form 200 (large unpaid contributions) under the current regulation, 29 CFR part 4043. The revised forms and instructions can be found on the Reportable Events & Large Unpaid Contributions page of PBGC's website. For reports due on or after September 1, 2015, reportable events filers that use the optional forms (Form 10 or Form 10-A) and Form 200 filers must use the new forms. For reports due before September 1, 2015, either the new or old forms may be used. (07/30/2015)
4010 Proposed Rule: On July 27, 2015, PBGC will publish a proposal to amend its regulation on Annual Financial and Actuarial Information Reporting (29 CFR part 4010). The proposal would codify the guidance provided in Technical Updates 12-2 and 14-2 regarding the impact of recent legislation (MAP-21 and HATFA) on 4010 reporting. In addition, the proposal would modify the existing reporting waiver for companies with total underfunding of less than $15 million in all their plans. This change would better align the regulation with the original intent of generally limiting 4010 reporting relief to smaller plans.
The proposal would also add two new reporting waivers and make other minor technical changes. The proposed rule is available now for public inspection. Comments on the proposed rule are due September 25, 2015. (07/24/2015)
Interim final rule on multiemployer plan partitions. On June 19, 2015, PBGC published an interim final rule on Partitions of Eligible Multiemployer Plans. Comments on the rule and related information collection are due August 18, 2015. For more information, see Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. (06/19/2015)
PBGC Releases Data Tables: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation today released its annual update on pension data. The data tables cover information recently reported by pension plans and the PBGC and compares them to values for prior years. Generally the updates cover pension plans data for the year beginning in 2013 with some later data as well.
The data tables provide researchers, journalists and others interested in the federal pension insurance program easily accessible, detailed statistics for the single-employer and multiemployer plans that PBGC insures. The tables include the numbers of people and plans that PBGC protects, the number of people receiving or eligible to receive benefits from PBGC and the benefits paid to them, claims against PBGC, the funded status of PBGC-protected plans, breakdowns of populations that PBGC protects by industry and state, and other vital statistics. (06/02/2015)
Proposed rule on Multiemployer Plans - Electronic Filing Requirements: PBGC has received inquiries whether its proposed rule on mandatory e-filing for certain multiemployer notices would affect notices to participants. The proposed rule only affects notices to PBGC. As stated in the preamble, the proposed rule would require the following notices to be filed electronically with PBGC: notices of termination under part 4041A, notices of insolvency and of insolvency benefit level under parts 4245 and 4281, and applications for financial assistance under part 4281 (see page 18172, middle column). Further, the proposed rule does not involve the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA). Comments on the proposed rule are due June 2, 2015. (05/20/2015)
Updates to My PAA & EFT Instructions: The My Plan Administration Account (My PAA) premium filing screens have been updated to reflect a more modern look & feel. There is a new Menu Bar on the top of every screen to help you navigate more easily between pages, and you will also see a new Launch Page (overlaid on your Home Page) when you log in to help you more easily start a task. In addition, the instructions for paying via Electronic Funds Transfer outside of My PAA (ACH or Fedwire) have changed. Please see the New Demos that reflect the updated screens and What’s New in My PAA for details. (05/04/2015)
Multiemployer plan mandatory e-filing proposed rule. On April 3, 2015, PBGC published a proposed rule that would amend PBGC's multiemployer regulations to require electronic filing of certain multiemployer notices, starting 2016. Comments are due by June 2, 2015. (04/03/2015)
Reportable Events and Notice of Failure to Make Required Contributions forms and instructions. On March 30, 2015, PBGC submitted to OMB for review under the Paperwork Reduction Act revised forms and instructions for Reportable Events and Notice of Failure to Make Required Contributions (Form 200). The complete submissions are posted on Information Collection Requests Under OMB Review. Information on how to comment is included in the related Federal Register notice. Comments are due to OMB by April 29, 2015. (04/01/2015)
2015 premium filings: OMB has approved the 2015 premium filing instructions. My PAA has been updated and is now ready to accept electronic premium fillings for plan years beginning in 2015. For information about how to e-file via My PAA (e.g., Demos and FAQs), see Online Premium Filing with My PAA. (03/9/2015)
RFI on multiemployer plan mergers and partitions: PBGC published a Request for Information, "Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014; Partitions of Eligible Multiemployer Plans and Facilitated Mergers," in the Federal Register. The request seeks input from the public and multiemployer plan stakeholders on the process for implementation of these tools under the new law. In addition, the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL) and PBGC, has also issued a Request for Information to help inform how the guidelines and procedures required by Congress for preparing and submitting applications are developed. Comments can be submitted online here. (2/25/15)
Standard and distress terminations and missing participants forms and instructions: OMB has approved revisions to the standard and distress termination forms and instructions. The new forms and instructions can be found on the Plan Terminations page of PBGC's website. Under the revisions, a plan administrator of a plan terminating in a standard termination (or a distress termination that closes out in the private sector) must submit with the post-distribution certification the most recent plan document and proof of benefit distributions for lump sums paid and annuities purchased. Plan administrators must provide this information with any post-distribution certification filed on or after March 1, 2015. Filers may contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information. (1/29/15)
Section 4062(e) Developments: PBGC has announced the end of the six-month moratorium on the enforcement of ERISA Section 4062(e). Major revisions to the law were enacted late last year as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015. PBGC described some of those changes in "Important Changes to ERISA Section 4062(e)." (01/22/15)
Premium Rates for Multiemployer Plans: The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 increased the 2015 flat-rate premium for multiemployer plans (from $13 to $26 per participant). The "Premium Rates" webpage has been updated to reflect this increase. (01/14/15)
2015 premiums. On January 12, 2015, PBGC submitted to OMB for review under the Paperwork Reduction Act draft forms and instructions for 2015 premium filings. Included in the OMB submission is a supporting statement addressing, among other things, public comments received on new questions related to certain lump sum windows and annuity purchases. Comments are due to OMB by February 11, 2015. Information on how to comment is included in the related Federal Register notice. (01/13/15)