Bill to Amend Rules for Church Plans Hits Hill
Legislation that would amend the rules for church plans in a variety of ways is now before both chambers of Congress. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) introduced the House version of The Church Plan Clarification Act of 2015, H.R. 4085, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the Senate version, S. 2308. The language in both versions is the same.
The measure would add language to Internal Revenue Code Section 414 regarding:
- the circumstances under which an organization that is otherwise eligible to participate in a church plan shall not be aggregated with another such organization and then, together with another organization, treated as a single employer for a plan year beginning in a taxable year;
- plan transfers and mergers; and
- investments by church plans in collective trusts.
The bill also addresses automatic contribution arrangements. Its language:
- contains a provision that would supersede any state law that prohibits or even restricts the inclusion of an automatic contribution arrangement in any church plan;
- provides that a plan sponsor, plan administrator or employer maintaining an automatic contribution arrangement shall, within a reasonable period before the first day of each plan year, provide to each participant to whom the arrangement applies notice of his or her rights and obligations;
- says that such a notice must be sufficiently accurate and comprehensive to apprise the participant of his or her rights and obligations, and be written so that the average participant can understand it; and
- provides that if a participant has not made an investment election regarding an automatic contribution arrangement, contributions to such an arrangement shall be invested in a default investment.
H.R. 4085 is before the House Ways and Means Committee; S. 2308 is before the Senate Finance Committee.