[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 170 (Wednesday, September 2, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53068-53070]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-21765]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Part 1

[REG-123640-15]
RIN 1545-BM86


Administration of Multiemployer Plan Participant Vote on an 
Approved Suspension of Benefits Under MPRA

AGENCY: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking by cross-reference to temporary 
regulations.

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SUMMARY: Temporary regulations relating to the administration of a 
multiemployer plan participant vote on an approved suspension of 
benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) are 
being issued in the Rules and Regulations section of this issue of the 
Federal Register. The text of those regulations also serves as the text 
of these proposed regulations.

DATES: Comments and requests for a public hearing must be received by 
November 2, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-123640-15), Room 
5205, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, 
Washington DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered Monday through 
Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-
123640-15), Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution 
Avenue NW., Washington, DC, or sent electronically via the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-123640-15).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Concerning the regulations, the 
Department of the Treasury MPRA guidance information line at (202) 622-
1559; concerning submission of comments, and the previously-scheduled 
hearing, Regina Johnson at (202) 317-6901 (not toll-free numbers).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collection of information contained in this notice of proposed

[[Page 53069]]

rulemaking has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget 
for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3507(d)) and approved under OMB control number 1545-2260.
    The collection of information in the paragraphs of these proposed 
regulations that cross-reference the temporary regulations that are 
being published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register is 
required for sponsor of a multiemployer defined benefit plan in 
critical and declining status to satisfy the criteria with respect to 
the required vote of plan participants and other eligible voters 
following approval of the plan sponsor's application for a suspension 
of benefits.
    Comments on the collection of information should be sent to the 
Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk Officer for the Department 
of the Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 
Washington, DC 20503, with copies to the Internal Revenue Service, 
Attn: IRS Reports Clearance Officer, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, Washington, DC 
20224. Comments on the collection of information should be received by 
November 2, 2015.
    Comments are specifically requested concerning:
    Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the 
proper performance of the functions of the IRS, including whether the 
information will have practical utility;
    The accuracy of the estimated burden associated with the proposed 
collection of information;
    How the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected may be enhanced;
    How the burden of complying with the proposed collections of 
information may be minimized, including through the application of 
automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology; and
    Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation, 
maintenance, and purchase of service to provide information.
    For the paragraphs of the proposed regulations that cross-reference 
the temporary regulations:
    Estimated total average annual reporting or recordkeeping burden: 
56 hours.
    Estimated average annual burden per recordkeeper: 2 hours.
    Estimated number of recordkeepers: 28.
    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid 
control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Books or records relating to a collection of information must be 
retained as long as their contents may become material in the 
administration of any internal revenue law. Generally, tax returns and 
tax return information are confidential, as required by 26 U.S.C. 6103.

Background and Explanation of Provisions

    Section 432(e)(9) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code), as amended 
by the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA), permits plan 
sponsors of certain multiemployer plans to reduce the plan benefits 
payable to participants and beneficiaries (referred to as a 
``suspension of benefits'') if specified conditions are satisfied. 
Under section 432(e)(9)(H), no suspension of benefits may take effect 
prior to a vote of the participants of the plan with respect to the 
suspension. Section 432(e)(9)(H) requires that the vote be administered 
by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Pension 
Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Secretary of Labor, within 30 days 
after approval of a suspension application.
    On June 19, 2015, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue 
Service published temporary regulations (TD 9723) under section 
432(e)(9) in the Federal Register (80 FR 35207) (June 2015 temporary 
regulations). The June 2015 temporary regulations provide general 
guidance regarding section 432(e)(9) and outline the requirements for a 
plan sponsor of a plan that is in critical and declining status to 
apply for a suspension of benefits and for the Treasury Department to 
begin processing such an application. A notice of proposed rulemaking 
cross-referencing the June 2015 temporary regulations (REG-102648-15) 
was also published in the same issue of the Federal Register (80 FR 
35262) (June 2015 proposed regulations). Both the June 2015 temporary 
and proposed regulations reflect consideration of comments received in 
response to the Request for Information on Suspensions of Benefits 
under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 published in the 
Federal Register on February 18, 2015 (80 FR 8578).
    A public hearing concerning the June 2015 proposed regulations is 
scheduled for September 10, 2015, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the 
Amphitheater of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade 
Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW., Washington, DC Persons who wish to 
present oral comments at that hearing regarding the June 2015 proposed 
regulations were required to submit written or electronic comments, 
including an outline of topics to be discussed, by August 18, 2015. 
Anyone who has submitted a timely request to speak at the September 10, 
2015, hearing is also permitted to discuss these proposed regulations 
at that hearing (without submitting a separate request to discuss these 
proposed regulations at that hearing).
    The June 2015 temporary and proposed regulations set forth many of 
the rules relating to the participant vote under section 432(e)(9)(H). 
However, neither the June 2015 temporary regulations nor the June 2015 
proposed regulations provide detailed guidance on how the Treasury 
Department would administer the vote.
    The temporary regulations in the Rules and Regulations section of 
this issue of the Federal Register (August 2015 temporary regulations) 
amend the Income Tax Regulations (26 CFR part 1) relating to the 
previously reserved paragraph in the June 2015 temporary and proposed 
regulations regarding the participant vote required under section 
432(e)(9)(H).
    The August 2015 temporary regulations specify that a participant 
vote requires the completion of three steps. First, a package of ballot 
materials is distributed to eligible voters. Second, the eligible 
voters cast their votes and the votes are collected and tabulated. 
Third, the Treasury Department (in consultation with the PBGC and Labor 
Department) determines whether a majority of the eligible voters has 
voted to reject the proposed suspension. The August 2015 temporary 
regulations also provide guidance regarding the statement in opposition 
to the proposed suspension and allow for the publication of a model 
ballot. The text of the August 2015 temporary regulations also serves 
as the text of these proposed regulations.

Special Analyses

    Certain IRS regulations, including this one, are exempt from the 
requirements of Executive Order 12866, as supplemented and reaffirmed 
by Executive Order 13563. Therefore, a regulatory impact assessment is 
not required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to 
these regulations.
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) requires 
an agency to consider whether the rules it proposes will have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
In this case,

[[Page 53070]]

the IRS and the Treasury Department believe that the regulations likely 
would not have a ``significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities.'' 5 U.S.C. 605. This certification is based on the 
fact that the number of small entities affected by this rule is 
unlikely to be substantial because it is unlikely that a substantial 
number of small multiemployer plans in critical and declining status 
will suspend benefits under section 432(e)(9). Pursuant to section 
7805(f) of the Code, this notice of proposed rulemaking has been 
submitted to the Chief Counsel of Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

Comments and Request for a Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, 
consideration will be given to any comments that are submitted timely 
to the Treasury Department and the IRS as prescribed in this preamble 
under the ``Addresses'' heading. The Treasury Department and the IRS 
request comments on all aspects of the proposed rules. All comments 
will be available for public inspection and copying at 
www.regulations.gov or upon request. Please Note: All comments will be 
made available to the public. Do not include any personally 
identifiable information (such as Social Security number, name, 
address, or other contact information) or confidential business 
information that you do not want publicly disclosed. All comments may 
be posted on the Internet and can be retrieved by most Internet search 
engines.
    If requested in writing by any person who timely submits written 
comments on these proposed regulations, a public hearing will be 
scheduled on the contents of this document. Comments and requests for a 
public hearing must be received by November 2, 2015. If a public 
hearing is scheduled, notice of the date, time, and place for the 
public hearing will be published in the Federal Register. Please see 
the ``Background and Explanation of Provisions'' heading for 
information regarding a public hearing scheduled for September 10, 
2015, concerning the June 2015 proposed regulations regarding the 
Suspension of Benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 
2014, during which individuals who have already requested to speak 
regarding those regulations may also address the substance of these 
proposed regulations.

Contact Information

    For general questions regarding these regulations, please contact 
the Department of the Treasury MPRA guidance information line at (202) 
622-1559 (not a toll-free number). For information regarding a specific 
application for a suspension of benefits, please contact the Department 
of the Treasury at (202) 622-1534 (not a toll-free number).

List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 1

    Income taxes, reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 1 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 1--INCOME TAXES

0
Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 1 continues to read in 
part as follows:

    Authority:  26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

0
Par. 2. Section 1.432(e)(9)-1(h) is amended by revising paragraph 
(h)(2) and adding paragraphs (h)(3)(iv) and (v) to read as follows:


Sec.  1.432(e)(9)-1  Benefit suspensions for multiemployer plans in 
critical and declining status.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (2) Participant vote. [The text of the proposed amendments to Sec.  
1.432(e)(9)-1(h)(2) is the same as Sec.  1.432(e)(9)-1T(h)(2) published 
elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (iv) Statement in opposition to the proposed suspension. [The text 
of the proposed amendments to Sec.  1.432(e)(9)-1(h)(3)(iv) is the same 
as Sec.  1.432(e)(9)-1T(h)(3)(iv) published elsewhere in this issue of 
the Federal Register.]
    (v) Model ballot. [The text of the proposed amendments to Sec.  
1.432(e)(9)-1(h)(3)(v) is the same as Sec.  1.432(e)(9)-1T(h)(3)(v) 
published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register.]
* * * * *

John M. Dalrymple,
Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2015-21765 Filed 8-31-15; 11:15 am]
BILLING CODE 4830-01-P