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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. For additional information, see PBGC’s procedures for guidance documents.

Title Issuance Date Agency Identifier Topics Summary Posted Date
Opinion Letter 75-11 1-14-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-11 Interest, Penalties PBGC is not authorized to waive interest charges on late premium payments. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-07 12-20-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-07 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Corporate transactions Addresses whether a withdrawal would take place if a corporation transfers all of its assets to one of its divisions and whether a withdrawal occurs in the event of a stock sale if contributions to the plan continue. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-26 8-24-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-26 Residual assets Addresses the distribution of residual assets to an employer. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 94-03 8-2-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses mass withdrawal generally, the effect of a "substantially all" mass withdrawal on the de minimis reduction and 20-year cap, and the meanings of "substantially all" and "agreement or arrangement". 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-27 12-17-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-27 Termination PBGC disapproves proposed plans that an employer wishes to adopt because they would effect an impermissible continuation of terminated plans for which guaranteed benefits are being paid. 3-5-2020
Opinion Letter 89-03 4-18-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-03 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal, Reallocation liability Addresses whether, based on an employer's date of withdrawal, that employer is subject to reallocation liability in the event of a mass withdrawal termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-28 2-24-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-28 Coverage Advises that defined contribution plans which defined benefit features may be subject to coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-114 10-1-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-114 Reportable events Elimination of a death benefit is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-02 1-31-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Pre-MPPAA withdrawals Addresses a question as to what constitutes a facility for purposes of determining what CBUs get excluded due to a pre-1980 closure of a facility. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 98-02 5-20-1998 PBGC Op Let 98-2 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan does not meet the Governmental plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-121 12-22-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-121 Reportable events The reduction in the number of plan participants is a reportable event. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 84-01 1-4-1984 PBGC Op Let 84-1 Premiums For a plan that is being divided into 18 plans, participants should not be double counted for the purpose of premiums. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-129 2-9-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-129 Residual assets Each participant is entitled to a share of the excess plan assets where the plan does not provide for return of excess assets to employer upon plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 96-03 7-8-1996 PBGC Op Let 96-3 Coverage, Governmental plan Plan does not meet the Governmental plan exemption from coverage. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-27 10-12-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-27 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, Dispute Resolution Addresses whether immediate payment of the outstanding amount of an employer's withdrawal liability can be required if any installment is not paid during the withdrawal liability dispute resolution process and before the arbitrator's final decision. PBGC adopted a rule addressing the issue. (See 29 CFR part 4219, Subpt C.) 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-89 8-7-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-89 Coverage, Individual account plan, Termination Conversion from a covered plan to an individual account plan is a termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 79-13 9-28-1979 PBGC Op Let 79-13 Coverage, Professional service employer plan A plan maintained by a clinical psychologist whose company provides marital and family counseling is a professional service employer plan. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 74-22 11-7-1974 PBGC Op Let 74-22 Coverage, Church plans Church plan status is determined by the IRS, must get an IRS ruling on church plan status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-13 4-12-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-13 Multiemployer, Employer Discusses the definition of “employer” in the context of withdrawal liability and how it applies to a group of trades or businesses under common control. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-31 12-12-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-31 Allocation of assets, Termination A proposed plan distribution must be in compliance with § 4044 regardless of whether the IRS has issued a determination letter regarding a plan termination. IRS cannot issue an exception to section 4044. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-09 6-9-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-9 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Optician is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 93-03 10-14-1993 PBGC Op Let 93-03 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability, sale of assets Addresses which of two limitations on withdrawal liability applies—one applicable to a dissolving or liquidating employer, the other applicable to an employer that sold its assets to an unrelated party—when an employer satisfies the prerequisites for both. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-21 1-24-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-21 Benefits, plan document PBGC will look to the terms of the plan documents in determining whether a benefit is nonforfeitable. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-90 10-6-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-90 Reportable events Transfer of plan assets to another plans is a reportable event. 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