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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 92-02 4-22-1992 PBGC Op Let 92-02 Multiemployer, Withdrawal Liability Addresses the distinction between a non-binding estimated withdrawal liability assessment for informational purposes and an "actual" withdrawal liability assessment. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-149 7-6-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-149 Coverage Plan covered by Railroad Retirement Act financed by contributions required under the Act is not covered by title IV. 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 76-118 11-8-1976 PBGC Op Let 76-118 Coverage, tax qualification Once a plan is determined to be qualified by IRS, it is qualified for purposes of Title IV until qualification is revoked. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 81-03 3-4-1981 PBGC Op Let 81-3 Coverage, Tribal plan, Governmental plan Tribal plan meets the Governmental plan coverage exemption. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 94-01 7-26-1994 PBGC Op Let 94-1 Premiums, Interest Discusses the method used by PBGC to calculate interest on premium underpayments. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 77-159 8-15-1977 PBGC Op Let 77-159 Allocation of assets An annuity contract owned by a pension plan is the plan asset, not the assets held by the insurer under the contract. Because benefits payable under the annuity contract are revocable upon termination, assets held under the contract are included in the value of the contract. 2-28-2020
Opinion Letter 78-20 9-14-1978 PBGC Op Let 78-20 Benefit guarantee PBGC guarantees basis plan benefits only and does not guarantee the payment of non-basic plan benefits.  2-28-2020