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Average Benefit Test

Last Updated March 21, 2009


Test used to determine whether minimum coverage requirements are satisfied under a qualified plan (qualified retirement plan)

A plan satisfies the average benefit test for the year , if it satisfies both the nondiscriminatory classification test of §1.410(b)-4 and the average benefit percentage test of §1.410(b)-5 for the plan year.

Referring Cite

IRC § 410(b)(2), Treas. Reg. §1.410(b)-2(b)(3),Treas. Reg. § 1.410(b)-4, Treas. Reg. §1.410(b)-5

Additional Helpful Information

  • The average benefit test can be used as an alternative to passing coverage testing, when the plan fails the ratio test
  • The requirements of the nondiscriminatory classification test are addressed in line IV.b.(l) of Worksheet 5 or in line V.b.(i) of Worksheet 5A
  • The average benefit percentage test is satisfied if the average benefit percentage of the plan for the plan year is at least 70 percent. This determination is made on the basis of benefits provided not only under the plan, but also under other plans of the employer that are in the plan's "testing group”
  • A plan's average benefit percentage is determined by first calculating individual employee benefit percentages, then determining averages of these percentages for the group of NHCEs and the group of HCEs, and finally dividing the average determined for the NHCE group by the average determined for the HCE group. If the result is at least 0.70, the average benefit percentage test is satisfied.
  • The testing group consists of the plan for which the demonstration is submitted and every other plan of the employer that could be permissively aggregated with the plan under the rules described in Part III of Worksheet 5 or Part IV of Worksheet 5A. In determining whether plans could be permissively aggregated with for this purpose, the following special rules apply.