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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 Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Datesort descending
Opinion Letter 76-63 5-6-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-63 Coverage, tax qualification Plan is a pay as you go plan. Plan is not tax qualified and thus is not covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-01 1-14-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-1 Termination, annuities Once irrevocable commitments are purchased, PBGC no longer guarantees the benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-14 4-20-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-14 Multiemployer, Unfunded vested benefits Addresses the contribution periods used in calculating an employer’s allocable share of a multiemployer plan’s unfunded vested benefits for the last plan year ending before April 29, 1980. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 92-03 5-1-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-03 Multiemployer, Asset Sale Exception Addresses the bond requirement under section 4204 in the event the seller liquidates or distributes its assets subsequent to the sale. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-20 9-2-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-20 Multiemployer, Partial Withdrawal Addresses whether a partial withdrawal occurs when an employer that operates two terminals in a metropolitan area, each under a separate collective bargaining agreement requiring contributions to the same multiemployer plan, closes one terminal but continues to perform the work of the closed terminal through the remaining terminal and other outlying terminals. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-08 3-24-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-8 Employer, Controlled groups Addresses the proper method for determining withdrawal liability when the liable employer is a group of trades or businesses under common control within the meaning of section 4001. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-145 5-24-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-145 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Employer providing consulting services in bio-mechanics, forensic physics, traffic reconstruction, injury analysis, and automotive and traffic safety is a Professional Services Employer and is exempt under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-37 12-9-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-37 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Employer Addresses the definition of employer in the context of building cleaners at an office building. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-12 1-27-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-12 Individual account plan Amendment of a plan from a defined benefit plans to an individual account plan results in the plan’s termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-10 4-10-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-10 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Joint employers Addresses calculation of withdrawal liability for a "joint employer” that is no longer required to contribute. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-56 4-21-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-56 Coverage Plan must be communicated to eligible participants to be tax qualified and a Title IV covered plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-03 1-8-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-3 Termination, Allocation of assets Plan administrator must allocate assets to participant receiving early retirement benefits and may not allocate assets to participants whose benefit claims had been fully satisfied prior to termination of plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-25 11-8-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-25 Coverage, Nonresident aliens Plan of Canadian company with mostly Canadian participants is not covered under Title IV. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-04 4-20-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-4 Benefit guarantee Benefits which became vested solely on account of termination are not guaranteed. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-9 4-30-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-9 Successor liability Asset purchaser assuming some pension plans not successor corporation to the seller with respect to plans left with the seller; purchaser is liable for plans it assumed; liability to PBGC is not limited by any agreement between seller and purchaser as to the amount of liability purchaser was willing to assume. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-05 8-1-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-05 Multiemployer, Termination, Withdrawal Liability This opinion letter addresses whether an QPSAs and other benefits are nonforfeitable after termination of a multiemployer plan such that they should be considered in determining withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 94-02 7-26-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-02 Multiemployer, Premiums, Interest, Penalties Whether interest and penalties assessed by PBGC for the late payment of premiums respecting a multiemployer plan can be paid from plan assets. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 90-02 4-20-1990 PBGC Op Let 90-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses (1) the calculation of annual withdrawal liability payments where an employer contributes to a multiemployer plan under multiple collective bargaining agreements requiring different contribution rates (the "contract-by-contract" approach); (2) using the contract-by-contract approach to calculate an employer's required contribution rate following plan termination by amendment; (3) whether alternate interest rates may be used to calculate the value of benefits under the plan following a mass withdrawal; (4) the correction of prior errors in valuation when calculating withdrawal liability. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 83-07 3-21-1983 PBGC Op Let 83-07 Multiemployer, Expenses Addresses a request to use employer contributions, PBGC financial assistance, and other monies received by a plan to pay union dues for retirees and beneficiaries. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-10 6-9-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-10 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Food broker is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-25 10-31-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-25 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan is a Governmental plan; water authority created by statute; board appt by town's council, funded by water assessments, fund pays for plan including deficits upon termination, participants are water authority's employees 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-52 4-14-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-52 Sale of division, Reportable events Sale of divisions resulting in more than 20% reduction in number of plan participants is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-08 12-23-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-8 Premiums, tax qualification A plan is covered for purposes of premium payments on the later of the date of establishment or the effective date. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 91-06 8-19-1991 PBGC Op Let 91-06 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses trustees’ ability to adopt alternative withdrawal liability rules under ERISA sections 4219 and 4224 that modify an employer's withdrawal liability payment terms to take into account an employer's financial condition. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-40 3-19-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-40 One plan Discusses four plans in one plan document with one trust. Sale of a unit and separation of the unit’s assets from the master trust is not a reportable event, nor a termination of one of the plans. 2-28-2020