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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Opinion Letter 86-01 1-15-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-1 Plan termination; Valuation of plan benefits Discusses PBGC’s interpretation of the present value of the normal form of benefit provided by the plan payable at normal retirement age. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 82-12 4-7-1982 PBGC Op Let 82-12 Multiemployer, Mass Withdrawal PBGC must be given a multiemployer plan’s notice of merger. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 76-107 9-7-1975 PBGC Op Let 76-107 Termination, Allocation of assets Allocation of assets of terminating plan otherwise than in accordance with section 4044 is not allowed. Transfer of asset to a defined contribution plan requires that all participants be offered option for immediate receipt of their benefits. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 89-08 10-19-1989 PBGC Op Let 89-08 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses whether an employer may contractually modify its statutory withdrawal liability obligation to a multiemployer plan by assuming "additional liability", and the limitations of such a modification. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 86-05 3-6-1986 PBGC Op Let 86-05 Multiemployer, Allocation of assets Addresses the transfer of surplus assets to another trust after plan termination. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-14 6-20-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-14 Coverage, Professional service employer plan Forester is not a professional individual for purposes of the Professional Service Employer plan exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-22 9-22-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-22 Restoration Whether the facts of a plan’s intended termination provide that PBGC should restore the plan to its pre-termination date status. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 75-78 12-3-1975 PBGC Op Let 75-78 Premiums A plan that established itself and had its first plan year end on the same day must pay partial premiums for that plan year. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 80-04 4-2-1980 PBGC Op Let 80-4 Premiums Participant count is determined as of last day of previous plan year and may not be adjusted for changes that occur during the plan year. 2-28-2020