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412(i) Plan

412(i) Plan

What Was a 412(i) Plan?

A 412(i) plan was a defined-benefit pension plan that was intended for small business owners in the U.S. It was classified as a tax-qualified pension plan, so any amount that the owner contributed to it could quickly be taken as a tax deduction by the company. Guaranteed annuities or a combination of annuities and life insurance were the main things that could fund a 412(i) plan. The 412(i) plan was supplanted by the 412(e)(3) plan after Dec. 31, 2007.

Understanding a 412(i) Plan

Remarkably, 412(i) plans were developed for small business owners who frequently found it challenging to invest in their company while attempting to put something aside for representatives' retirement. The 412(i) plan was unique in that it gave completely guaranteed retirement benefits.

An insurance company needed to sponsor the 412(i) plan, and just insurance products like annuities and life insurance policies could fund it. Contributions to it give the largest tax deduction conceivable.

An annuity is a financial product that an individual can purchase by means of a lump-sum payment or portions. The insurance company, thusly, pays the owner a fixed stream of payments sooner or later. Annuities are essentially utilized as an income stream for retired people.

Due to the large premiums that must be paid into the plan every year, a 412(i) plan was not great for all small business owners. The plan would in general benefit small businesses that were more settled and productive.

For instance, a startup that had gone through several rounds of funding would have been in a better position to make a 412(i) plan than one that was bootstrapped as well as had angel or seed funding.

These companies additionally frequently don't produce enough free cash flow (FCF) to put away reliably for representatives' retirement. All things considered, the founding team individuals frequently re-invest any profits or outside funding once more into their product or service to create new sales and make updates to their core offerings.

412(i) Plans and Compliance Issues

In August 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recognized 412(i) plans as being engaged with different types of rebelliousness. These likewise included abusive tax avoidance transaction issues. To assist organizations with 412(i) plans come into compliance, the IRS developed the accompanying survey. They inquired:

  • Do you have a 412(i) plan?
  • Assuming this is the case, how would you fund this plan? (i.e., annuities, insurance contracts, or a combination?)
  • What is the amount of the death benefit relative to the amount of retirement benefit for each plan participant?
  • Have you had a listed transaction under Revenue Ruling 2004-20? Assuming this is the case, have you documented Form 8886, Reportable Transaction Disclosure Statement?
  • At last, who sold the annuities as well as insurance contracts to the sponsor?

A survey of 329 plans yielded the accompanying:

  • 185 plans alluded for assessment
  • 139 plans considered to be "compliance adequate"
  • Three plans under "current assessment"
  • One plan noted as "compliance confirmed" (it was important to (mean no further contact)
  • One plan marked as not a 412(i) plan


Due to the maltreatments of the 412(i) plan bringing about tax avoidance schemes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) moved the 412(i) provisions to 412(e)(3), effective for plans beginning after Dec. 31, 2007. 412(e)(3) works in much the same way to 412(i), then again, actually it is exempt from the base funding rule. As per the IRS, the requirements for 412(e)(3) are as per the following:

  • Plans must be funded only by the purchase of a combination of annuities and life insurance contracts or individual annuities,
  • Plan contracts must accommodate level annual premium payments to be paid expanding not later than the retirement age for every individual participating in the plan, and starting with the date the individual turned into a participant in the plan (or, on account of an increase in benefits, initiating at the time such increase becomes effective),
  • Benefits given by the plan are equivalent to the benefits gave under each contract at normal retirement age under the plan and are guaranteed by an insurance carrier (licensed under the laws of a state to work with the plan) to the degree premiums have been paid,
  • Premiums payable under such contracts for the plan year, and all prior plan years, have been paid before lapse or there is a reinstatement of the policy,
  • No rights under such contracts have been subject to a security interest whenever during the plan year, and
  • No policy loans are outstanding whenever during the plan year


  • Due to tax avoidance schemes that were happening under 412(i), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) supplanted it with 412(e)(3).
  • A 412(i) plan was a defined-benefit pension plan that was intended for small business owners in the U.S.
  • Guaranteed annuities or a combination of annuities and life insurance were the main things that could fund the plan.
  • A 412(i) was a tax-qualified benefit plan, meaning the owner's contributions to the plan turned into a tax deduction for the company.