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Joint operating Company 403b


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2 separate entities created a 501(c)(3) Joint operating company (JOC)- essentially a virtual merger with no transfer of assets-  there are no employees of the JOC - any expenses for the JOC are invoiced to the separate entities.  The separate entities share no common ownership.  the companies want to set up 1 plan and  align their other benefit programs, create efficiencies in management, finance, etc. 

Company A -  church 403b

Company B church 401(k)

My question is- Could the JOC sponsor a plan where the 2 separate entities are adopting employers? could the assets be merged into this plan? (i know the DoT hasn't ruled on the compliance requirements for church 401k/403b mergers resulting from PATH act, expected sometime this year) 

I think it is safer to keep both plans separate and align the plan design previsions across both plans. I would imagine that the JOC could be set up as a PEO and sponsor a plan but i think for simplicity keeping both plans separate is probably the most appropriate path - if anyone has any guidance on this issue or has worked with it in the past, that would be helpful - can provide more information as requested. 

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Not speaking to the merger question at this time, but why not have Church B adopt Church A's 403(b) plan and terminate the church B 401(k)? Eliminates the 5500 and puts both on one document.  At least freeze the 401(k) and have Church B adopt Church A's church plan.  Kepp it simple, etc.

Patricia Neal Jensen, JD

Vice President and Nonprofit Practice Leader

|Future Plan, an Ascensus Company

21031 Ventura Blvd., 12th Floor

Woodland Hills, CA 91364

E patricia.jensen@futureplan.com

P 949-325-6727

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Thanks Patricia- A couple of questions

Company A and Company B are still unrelated separate entities - they are not part of a controlled group, they  are not ASG's- the JOC that was created does not own either entity - to that extent - can these unrelated separate employers adopt a single plan? Wouldn't we need to do a MEP if they were to adopt a plan together? Happy to provide more information. thanks

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You will make this a MEP if they are unrelated and adopt the same plan but non-electing churches do not file 5500's  so what would be the problem?

Patricia Neal Jensen, JD

Vice President and Nonprofit Practice Leader

|Future Plan, an Ascensus Company

21031 Ventura Blvd., 12th Floor

Woodland Hills, CA 91364

E patricia.jensen@futureplan.com

P 949-325-6727

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