Section 403(b) retirement plan rules finalized

The Treasury Department and the IRS have released final regulations related to retirement savings arrangements sponsored by public schools and charitable organizations, often referred to as "section 403(b) plans."

These regulations are the first comprehensive section 403(b) regulations since 1964. The regulations incorporate numerous changes to the arrangements, including changes in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974(ERISA), the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 (SBJPA), the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001(EGTRRA), and the Pension Protection Act of 2006(PPA).

The final regulations reflect the major effect of changes to section 403(b) under SBJPA, EGTRRA,, and PPA, which has been to diminish the extent to which section 403(b) arrangements differ from other arrangements that include tax deferred salary reduction contributions, such as section 401(k) plans and governmental plans under section 457(b) of the tax code.

The regulations generally apply for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2008. You can read the complete regulations.