Blogging Employee Benefits

October 17, 2006

Past Imperfect Blooper

Filed under: IRS, Regulations — Fuguerre @ 8:47 pm

If this one doesn’t at least tempt a smile, you’re probably taking our work way too seriously.

But I must confess, not only did this one elude me completely, but I didn’t even catch it now at first, not until I had it brought to my attention today over morning cappuccino. Admit it, this is the first you’ve heard of this too. What I’d like to know is who out there pointed it out to the IRS, and how many of there were you.

In the September 21 Federal Register, the IRS corrected bloopers found in its August final regulations on the 411(d)(6) anti-cutback rule. Among the mistakes, which the correction observes “may prove to be misleading and are in need of clarification,” one key sentence of 1.411(d)-3(a)(3) is corrected to read as follows –

However, such an amendment does not violate section 411(d)(6) to the extent it applies with respect to benefits that accrue after the applicable amendment date.

The original version of the final regulations, published August 9, had that sentence as follows –

However, such an amendment does not violate section 411(d)(6) to the extent it applies with respect to benefits that accrued prior to the applicable amendment date.

Oops. Interesting bit of “clarification.” Run 411(d)(6) by me again, please. But hey, that slipped by me too, back when I posted on the final regs here, not to mention several dozen times since then when I’ve discussed Heinz with clients. Besides, we all knew what the agency meant. Like, no legitimate counsel would try to sneak in a quick loophole amendment in on this blooper, one would certainly expect. (Or if we wish to extend the clarification to the ridiculously obvious, the fact that the IRS correction is only explicitly stated as being retroactive to August 9, 2006, should not persuade anyone to try to find any false relief with respect to certain pre-8/9/2006 applicability expressed in the original final regulation. Quite obviously this particular amendment does apply to the past!)

So it gets a quick little chuckle, then I’m back to juggling to keep my own future separate and distinct from its past.

1 Comment »

  1. I noticed the day of publication of the final regs and contacted the drafter (albeit indirectly through a former colleague who is now at the Service because the phones weren’t working correctly due to the flood at the main IRS building in DC).

    Comment by Keith Kost — October 18, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

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