(a) Creation of remedy
In a case of actual controversy involving—
(1) a determination by the Secretary with respect to the initial qualification or continuing qualification of a retirement plan under subchapter D of chapter 1, or
(2) a failure by the Secretary to make a determination with respect to—
(A) such initial qualification, or
(B) such continuing qualification if the controversy arises from a plan amendment or plan termination,
upon the filing of an appropriate pleading, the Tax Court may make a declaration with respect to such initial qualification or continuing qualification. Any such declaration shall have the force and effect of a decision of the Tax Court and shall be reviewable as such. For purposes of this section, a determination with respect to a continuing qualification includes any revocation of or other change in a qualification.
A pleading may be filed under this section only by a petitioner who is the employer, the plan administrator, an employee who has qualified under regulations prescribed by the Secretary as an interested party for purposes of pursuing administrative remedies within the Internal Revenue Service, or the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
For purposes of this section, the filing of a pleading by any petitioner may be held by the Tax Court to be premature, unless the petitioner establishes to the satisfaction of the court that he has complied with the requirements prescribed by regulations of the Secretary with respect to notice to other interested parties of the filing of the request for a determination referred to in subsection (a).
(3) Exhaustion of administrative remedies
The Tax Court shall not issue a declaratory judgment or decree under this section in any proceeding unless it determines that the petitioner has exhausted administrative remedies available to him within the Internal Revenue Service. A petitioner shall not be deemed to have exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to a failure by the Secretary to make a determination with respect to initial qualification or continuing qualification of a retirement plan before the expiration of 270 days after the request for such determination was made.
(4) Plan put into effect
No proceeding may be maintained under this section unless the plan (and, in the case of a controversy involving the continuing qualification of the plan because of an amendment to the plan, the amendment) with respect to which a decision of the Tax Court is sought has been put into effect before the filing of the pleading. A plan or amendment shall not be treated as not being in effect merely because under the plan the funds contributed to the plan may be refunded if the plan (or the plan as so amended) is found to be not qualified.
(5) Time for bringing action
If the Secretary sends by certified or registered mail notice of his determination with respect to the qualification of the plan to the persons referred to in paragraph (1) (or, in the case of employees referred to in paragraph (1), to any individual designated under regulations prescribed by the Secretary as a representative of such employee), no proceeding may be initiated under this section by any person unless the pleading is filed before the ninety-first day after the day after such notice is mailed to such person (or to his designated representative, in the case of an employee).
(c) Retirement plan
For purposes of this section, the term “retirement plan” means—
(1) a pension, profit-sharing, or stock bonus plan described in section 401(a) or a trust which is part of such a plan, or
(2) an annuity plan described in section 403(a).
(d) Cross reference
For provisions concerning intervention by Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Secretary of Labor in actions brought under this section and right of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to bring action, see section 3001(c) of subtitle A of title III of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
(Added Pub. L. 93–406, title II, §1041(a), Sept. 2, 1974, 88 Stat. 949; amended Pub. L. 94–455, title X, §1042(d)(2)(C), title XIII, §1306(b)(3), title XIX, §§1906(a)(48), (b)(13)(A), Oct. 4, 1976, 90 Stat. 1639, 1719, 1831, 1834; Pub. L. 95–600, title III, §336(b)(2)(A), title VII, §701(dd)(1), Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2842, 2924; Pub. L. 98–369, div. A, title IV, §491(d)(52), July 18, 1984, 98 Stat. 852; Pub. L. 99– 4, title XVIII, §1899A(59), Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2962.)
References in Text
Section 3001(c) of subtitle A of title III of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, referred to in subsec. (d), is classified to section 1201(c) of Title 29, Labor.
1986—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 99– 4 substituted “plan, or” for “plan,, or”.
1984—Subsec. (c)(3). Pub. L. 98–369 struck out par. (3) which included a bond purchase plan described in section 405(a) within the term “retirement plan”.
1978—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 95–600, §701(dd)(1), inserted provision relating to revocation of qualification.
Subsecs. (c) to (e). Pub. L. 95–600, §336(b)(2)(A), redesignated subsecs. (d) and (e) as (c) and (d), respectively. Former subsec. (c), which authorized the chief judge to assign proceedings under this section or section 7428 to be heard by the commissioners of the court, was struck out.
1976—Pub. L. 94–455, §1042(d)(2)(C), inserted “relating to qualification of certain retirement plans” after “Declaratory judgments” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 94–455, §§1906(a)(48), (b)(13)(A), struck out “or his delegate” after “Secretary” wherever appearing, and “United States” after “appropriate pleading, the” in provisions following par. (2).
Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 94–455, §1906(b)(13)(A), struck out in pars. (1) to (3) and (5), “or his delegate” after “Secretary” wherever appearing.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 94–455, §1306(b)(3), substituted “this section or section 7428” for “this section”.
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 98–369 applicable to obligations issued after Dec. 31, 1983, see section 491(f)(1) of Pub. L. 98–369, set out as a note under section 62 of this title.
Effective Date of 1978 Amendment
Amendment by section 336(b)(2)(A) of Pub. L. 95–600 applicable to requests for determinations made after Dec. 31, 1978, see section 336(d) of Pub. L. 95–600, set out as an Effective Date note under section 7478 of this title.
Section 701(dd)(3) of Pub. L. 95–600, as amended by Pub. L. 99– 4, §2, Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2095, provided that: “The amendments made by paragraphs (1) and (2) [amending this section and section 7428 of this title] shall take effect as if included in section 7476 or 7428 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 [formerly I.R.C. 1954] (as the case may be) at the respective times such sections were added to such Code.”
Effective Date of 1976 Amendment
Amendment by section 1042(d)(2)(C) of Pub. L. 94–455 applicable to pleadings filed with the Tax Court after Oct. 4, 1976, but only with respect to transfers beginning after Oct. 9, 1975, see section 1042(e)(1) of Pub. L. 94–455, set out as a note under section 367 of this title.
Amendment by section 1306(b)(3) of Pub. L. 94–455 applicable with respect to pleadings filed with the United States Tax Court, the district court of the United States for the District of Columbia, or the United States Court of Claims more than 6 months after Oct. 4, 1976 but only with respect to determinations (or requests for determinations) made after Jan. 1, 1976, see section 1306(c) of Pub. L. 94–455, set out as an Effective Date note under section 7428 of this title.
Amendment by section 1906(a)(48), (b)(13)(A) of Pub. L. 94–455 effective on first day of first month which begins more than 90 days after Oct. 4, 1976, see section 1906(d)(1) of Pub. L. 94–455, set out as a note under section 6013 of this title.
Section 1041(d) of Pub. L. 93–406 provided that: “The amendments made by this section [enacting this section and amending sections 74 , 7459, and 7482 of this title] shall apply to pleadings filed more than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Sept. 2, 1974].”