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Federal government plans and 401(a)


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I'm going to demonstrate a lot of ignorance but here's what I "think" the rules are:

1. Governmental plans are exempt from ERISA

2. State and local governmental plans can (and usually do) obtain a DL saying they are qualified under 401(a) so their employees have some certainty as to their tax consequences

If OK so far now to my question: do Federal government plans also have DLs or is there something somewhere that says they're 401(a) qualified?

Question is coming up under the new section 1411 Net Investment Income Tax where the regs are exempting distributions from plans qualified under 401(a).


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According to this Fact Sheet, "IRC 7701(j) states that the TSP [Federal Thrift Savings Plan] is to be treated as a trust described in 401(a)..."

I think this answers your question WRT the TSP, for the military, pub 525 says military pensions are reported as income on the pension income line of 1040, since there is no separate line for military retirement income presumably military plans are also treats as 401(a), though I don't have a specific cite for this.


I carry stuff uphill for others who get all the glory.

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I wonder what would happen if a participant asked to see a copy of the determination letter.

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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