Subscribe Now!
Free Daily News, Jobs, Webcasts, Discussions
Post and Distribute
Your Jobs
ARPA News
ARPA Webcasts

Featured Jobs

401(k) Implementation Manager

Human Interest
(Telecommute / San Francisco CA)

Human Interest logo

Director of 401(k) Implementation, Core

Human Interest
(Telecommute / Mill Valley CA)

Human Interest logo

DC Retirement Plan Administrator

The Nolan Company
(Telecommute / Overland Park KS)

The Nolan Company logo

Plan Document Specialist

Jocelyn Pension Consulting
(Telecommute / Boulder CO / San Rafael CA)

Jocelyn Pension Consulting logo

Employee Benefits/Health and Welfare Attorney

Miller Johnson
(Telecommute / Grand Rapids MI / Kalamazoo MI / Detroit MI)

Miller Johnson logo

Retirement Plan Consultant / Relationship Manager

Associated Pension Consultants
(Chico CA / Sacramento CA)

Associated Pension Consultants logo

401(k) Consultant

TPS Group
(Telecommute / North Haven CT)

TPS Group logo

Retirement Plan Administrator (Account Manager)

Kushner & Company
(Telecommute / Portage MI)

Kushner & Company logo

DB Retirement Plan Administrator

The Nolan Company
(Telecommute / Overland Park KS)

The Nolan Company logo

DC or DB Administrator

Farmer & Betts, Inc.
(Telecommute / Tacoma WA / Tualatin OR / Littleton CO)

Farmer & Betts, Inc. logo

DB/DC Administrator

Primark Benefits
(Telecommute / Burlingame CA)

Primark Benefits logo

Product Support Consultant

ftwilliam.com part of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory
(Telecommute)

ftwilliam.com part of Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory logo

Retirement Plan Administrator

My Benefits, LLC
(Telecommute / Daphne AL / Atlantic Beach FL)

My Benefits, LLC logo

Director of Finance

NYCDC of Carpenters Benefit Funds
(New York NY)

Retirement Plan Administrator

Bates & Company
(Telecommute / Winter Park FL)

Bates & Company logo

Retirement Plan Administrator

RSW & Associates
(CT / NJ / NY)

RSW & Associates logo

Free Newsletters

“BenefitsLink continues to be the most valuable resource we have at the firm.”

-- An attorney subscriber

Mobile App image LinkedIn icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon

BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Who's the Employer?

Answers are provided by S. Derrin Watson, JD, APM

Definition of Compensation in a Multiple Employer Plan

(Posted May 15, 2002)

Question 183: Your Multiple Employer Plan information has been great! You've covered how service is counted for someone in multiple locations and how the 415 limit is handled. For purposes of allocating the contribution, do you consider the compensation from each employer separately and, if so, how/when is the compensation limit factored in?

Answer: Good question. Let's look at the various issues that are affected by compensation:

  1. Determination of the 415 percentage limit

  2. Testing for nondiscrimination (including the ADP test)

  3. Determination of the 401(a)(17) compensation limit

  4. Determination of the deduction limit under 404
Now, we look at the basic scheme for handling multiple employer issues. IRC 413(c) lists several issues for which the employers cosponsoring the plan are aggregated, such as determination of years of service for participation. Other sections of the Code or regulations contain similar provisions (such as the regs under IRC 415, which treat the employers as one). Other than those specific issues, the employers are treated as separate entities. This applies for coverage testing, nondiscrimination, etc. In other words, if you can't find something saying the employers are aggregated, then they are not aggregated.

So, applying that principle to the four compensation issues we've identified, here's how it stacks up:

  1. Compensation from each employer is aggregated to determine compliance with the 415 percentage limit.

  2. Each employer tests for nondiscrimination separately, so each employer looks only at its own compensation.

  3. According to Treas. Reg. 1.401(a)(17)-1(b)(4), the employee has a separate $200,000 compensation limit for each employer.

  4. If the plan was established after 1988, deduction limits are computed separately for each employer, so each looks only at its own compensation. However, if the plan was established before 1989, then usually there is a single deduction limit and so compensation for 404 purposes is determined on an aggregate basis.
I plan to address multiple employer plans, with my usual copious examples , as a new chapter in the third edition of my book, Who's the Employer.


Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.


Copyright 1999-2017 S. Derrin Watson
Related links:

(restricted access)

(restricted access)

© 2021 BenefitsLink.com, Inc.