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Guidance Document Database

The documents listed below are PBGC’s guidance documents. 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.

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 Datesort ascending Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
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 85-24 10-3-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-24 Multiemployer, Termination, annuities PBGC will not insure annuities purchased by a terminated multiemployer plan and PBGC is not authorized to pay benefits when a non-insolvent multiemployer plan terminates. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-23 9-12-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-23 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Provides that a multiemployer plan may not declare an employer to be in default during the statutory 90-day period within which the employer may request review of a withdrawal liability assessment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-22 9-11-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-22 Multiemployer, Reciprocity agreement Addresses whether a reciprocity agreement operates to impose on certain employers and defined contribution pension plans the minimum contribution requirements or the withdrawal liability provisions of the law. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-21 8-26-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-21 Termination, Implementation Guidelines Implementation Guidelines do not apply to split-up of pension plan, with subsequent termination of one plan and reversion of excess assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-20 8-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-20 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Addresses bond waivers and withdrawal liability and how regulations do not apply to the liquidation bond upon seller’s liquidation. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-18 7-24-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-18 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Corrects opinion letter 85-1 and addresses calculation of withdrawal liability installment payments other than on a quarterly schedule. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-17 6-10-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-17 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses whether a seller and purchaser can retroactively bring a sale of assets within the coverage of the law by posting an appropriate bond and by amending the sales contract. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-16 6-3-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-16 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Partial Withdrawal Addresses whether or not an 18-month contribution holiday is a partial withdrawal. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-15 5-31-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-15 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets, Avoidance transactions Addresses whether the rule against transactions with a principal purpose to avoid withdrawal liability can apply when a transaction meets the sale of assets exception requirements. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-12 5-28-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-12 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the special partial withdrawal rule for the retail food industry, and the meaning of “retail food industry.” 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-14 5-28-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-14 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Joint employers Addresses the joint employer doctrine under the National Labor Relations Act and whether a company that leased employees from an outsourcing firm that was a contributing employer to a multiemployer plan, and that was required to contribute to the plan as a "joint employer" with the outsourcing firm, would be subject to withdrawal liability if its obligation to contribute permanently ceased. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-13 5-28-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-13 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Partial Withdrawal Addresses the calculation of partial withdrawal liability and why the allocation fraction uses a ratio of contribution base units as opposed to contributions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-11 5-14-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-11 Asset reversion, Termination A split-up of one plan and the termination of another is not subject to the asset reversion implementation guidelines; PBGC recognizes the termination and reestablishment of a plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-09 4-5-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-9 Allocation of assets, Residual assets, Termination The purchase of participating group annuity contracts to satisfy all accrued benefits with a termination/reestablishment transaction of a plan is permissible. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-08 4-2-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-8 Reportable events, Employer liability, Successor liability The described spin-off is a reportable event and sales transaction principles apply to the spin-off and transfer transactions. 2-28-2020
The Effect of The Deficit Reduction Act on The Withdrawal Liability Provisions of The Multiemployer Act 3-6-1985 PBGC Multiemployer Bulletin, 3/6/1985 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Clarifies that any multiemployer plan that is not amended to adopt a non-presumptive allocation method is required to allocate unfunded vested benefits using the presumptive method. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-07 3-4-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-7 Allocation of assets, Residual assets Termination is not subject to the spin-off/termination requirements of the implementation guidelines involving asset reversions since no assets will revert to the plan sponsor. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-06 2-1-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-6 Premiums Each plan of an employer is obligated to pay premiums to PBGC when an individual participant actively earns service credit in multiple plans of the employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-05 1-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-05 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Construction industry Addresses whether the construction industry exception to withdrawal applies where a contractor terminates its CBA, its employees do not perform any more work for which the contractor was previously required to make contributions, but the contractor subcontracts for the performance of such work. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-03 1-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the exclusion of employee contributions in withdrawal liability allocation fractions. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-04 1-30-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-04 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses how to reduce withdrawal liability for liability already assessed for a previous partial withdrawal. PBGC subsequently adopted a rule addressing the issue. (See 29 CFR part 4206.) 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 85-02 1-14-1985 PBGC Op Let 85-2 Plans covered A restated plan document created an aggregate of single plans and not a single pension plan, with a valid allocation of assets among those separate plans. 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 84-09 12-27-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-09 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Provides guidance on the meaning of "employer" with respect to withdrawals from multiemployer pension plans; focuses on the garment industry and in particular, the work done by the contractor and the jobber/manufacturer. 2-28-2020