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Guidance Document Database

The documents listed below are PBGC’s guidance documents, as defined by EO 13891, sec. 2(b), see Federal Register Notice. The contents of these documents do not have the force and effect of law, unless expressly authorized by statute or incorporated into a contract, and are not meant to bind the public in any way. These documents are intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies. PBGC will only cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted in this database to establish historical facts.

If you would like to request the withdrawal or modification of an existing guidance document, please submit your request, including your contact information, to the General Counsel at or at Regulatory Affairs Division, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Office of the General Counsel, 1200 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005–4026.

Title Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 76-46 4-2-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-46 Reportable events, Change from group annuity to trust fund Change in funding method does not constitute a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-20 7-27-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-20 Multiemployer A letter of credit can satisfy the bond or escrow requirement of the trucking industry exemption from withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-25 10-11-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-25 Asset reversion, Termination Implementation guidelines do not generally apply to a transfer of assets from a single-employer plan to a multiemployer plan, followed by the termination of the single-employer plan, but because plan termination is a prerequisite to a reversion of plan assets to an employer, PBGC will not recognize a plan termination when it is intended as a means to recover surplus plan assets without satisfying termination requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-131 2-11-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-131 Employer liability PBGC examines financial information of an employer and all trades or businesses under the same common control to assess the employer’s hardship or necessity for deferred payments to meet liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 97-01 5-5-1997 PBGC Op Let 97-01 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether foreign entities that are part of a controlled group are jointly liable for withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-20 1-24-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-20 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Licensed veterinarians are “licensed practitioners of the healing arts” for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-04 1-25-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-4 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Dispute Resolution Validity of demand for withdrawal liability is subject to arbitration. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-26 10-31-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-26 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan maintained by a Council created by a state statute meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-16 6-8-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-16 Coverage, tax qualification A retirement arrangement is not covered plan under Title IV because it is not tax qualified. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-01 1-4-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-01 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses interest factors applicable to withdrawal liability installments paid other than quarterly.  Corrected by Opinion Letter 85-18. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-171 12-16-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-171 Coverage, Plan that has not provided for employer contributions Funds contributed to a plan whether paid directly by the local union maintaining it or indirectly through deductions from membership dues are employer contributions and the plan is covered under Title IV 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-27 8-28-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-27 Multiemployer, Bargaining representative Addresses the special rules governing a transfer between multiemployer plans where an employer withdraws from a plan because the union bargaining with that employer has been changed as a result of the certification of a different union. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-1 1-5-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-1 Coverage, Church plans; Premiums Church plan status is determined by the IRS, must get an IRS ruling on church plan status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-09 11-28-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-9 Coverage, Tribal plan Plan does not meet Title IV coverage exemption since activities covered by the plan were off-reservation commercial activities carried on for profit. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-54 6-23-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-45 Coverage Title IV does not cover deposits made into a Keogh Trust. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-76 6-8-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-76 Termination Addresses a plan’s notice of intent to terminate, date of plan termination, and the ability to terminate the plan by agreement. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-19 8-11-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-19 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether, under the presumptive method of allocating withdrawal liability, if a plan's assets exceed its vested liabilities, the unfunded vested benefit amount is zero. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-05 2-18-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-5 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Discusses partial withdrawals from a multiemployer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-111 9-16-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-111 Employer liability Asset purchaser assuming some plans was not a successor corporation for plans that it did not assume. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-02 2-14-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Reciprocity agreement Addresses (1) whether transfers of contributions between multiemployer plans under a reciprocity agreement are covered by rules on transfers of assets; and (2) whether a reciprocity agreement can create withdrawal liability obligations. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-04 5-3-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-4 Benefits A plan sponsor has no liability for the benefits in a terminated plan that were provided to plan participants through the distribution of irrevocable commitments purchased from an insurance company. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-15 6-20-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-15 Coverage, Professional service employer plan River pilot is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-2 2-21-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-2 Allocation of assets, Residual assets Whether the language in a plan document providing for the reversion of residual assets to the employer complies with the law. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-18 12-5-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-18 Coverage, tax qualification Plan that is tax-qualified under IRC 401(a) is covered by Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 96-02 7-8-1996 PBGC Op Let 96-2 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan does not meet the Governmental plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020