Prohibited transactions are transactions between the plan and a disqualified person that are prohibited by law. (However, see Exemption, below.) If you are a disqualified person who takes part in a prohibited transaction, you must pay a tax (discussed later).
Prohibited transactions generally include the following transactions.
- A transfer of plan income or assets to, or use of them by or for the benefit of, a disqualified person.
- Any act of a fiduciary by which he or she deals with plan income or assets in his or her own interest.
- The receipt of consideration by a fiduciary for his or her own account from any party dealing with the plan in a transaction that involves plan income or assets.
- Any of the following acts between the plan and a disqualified person.
- Selling, exchanging, or leasing property.
- Lending money or extending credit.
- Furnishing goods, services, or facilities.
Certain transactions are exempt from being treated as prohibited transactions. For example, a prohibited transaction does not take place if you are a disqualified person and receive any benefit to which you are entitled as a plan participant or beneficiary. However, the benefit must be figured and paid under the same terms as for all other participants and beneficiaries. For other transactions that are exempt, see section 4975 and the related regulations.taxmap/pubs/p560-020.htm#en_us_publink10009044
You are a disqualified person if you are any of the following.
- A fiduciary of the plan.
- A person providing services to the plan.
- An employer, any of whose employees are covered by the plan.
- An employee organization, any of whose members are covered by the plan.
- Any direct or indirect owner of 50% or more of any of the following.
- The combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote, or the total value of shares of all classes of stock of a corporation that is an employer or employee organization described in (3) or (4).
- The capital interest or profits interest of a partnership that is an employer or employee organization described in (3) or (4).
- The beneficial interest of a trust or unincorporated enterprise that is an employer or an employee organization described in (3) or (4).
- A member of the family of any individual described in (1), (2), (3), or (5). (A member of a family is the spouse, ancestor, lineal descendant, or any spouse of a lineal descendant.)
- A corporation, partnership, trust, or estate of which (or in which) any direct or indirect owner described in (1) through (5) holds 50% or more of any of the following.
- The combined voting power of all classes of stock entitled to vote or the total value of shares of all classes of stock of a corporation.
- The capital interest or profits interest of a partnership.
- The beneficial interest of a trust or estate.
- An officer, director (or an individual having powers or responsibilities similar to those of officers or directors), a 10% or more shareholder, or highly compensated employee (earning 10% or more of the yearly wages of an employer) of a person described in (3), (4), (5), or (7).
- A 10% or more (in capital or profits) partner or joint venturer of a person described in (3), (4), (5), or (7).
- Any disqualified person, as described in (1) through (9) above, who is a disqualified person with respect to any plan to which a section 501(c)(22) trust is permitted to make payments under section 4223 of ERISA.
The initial tax on a prohibited transaction is 15% of the amount involved for each year (or part of a year) in the taxable period. If the transaction is not corrected within the taxable period, an additional tax of 100% of the amount involved is imposed. For information on correcting the transaction, see Correcting a prohibited transaction, later.
Both taxes are payable by any disqualified person who participated in the transaction (other than a fiduciary acting only as such). If more than one person takes part in the transaction, each person can be jointly and severally liable for the entire tax.taxmap/pubs/p560-020.htm#en_us_publink10009046
The amount involved in a prohibited transaction is the greater of the following amounts.
- The money and fair market value of any property given.
- The money and fair market value of any property received.
If services are performed, the amount involved is any excess compensation given or received.taxmap/pubs/p560-020.htm#en_us_publink10009047
The taxable period starts on the transaction date and ends on the earliest of the following days.
- The day the IRS mails a notice of deficiency for the tax.
- The day the IRS assesses the tax.
- The day the correction of the transaction is completed.
Pay the 15% tax with Form 5330.taxmap/pubs/p560-020.htm#en_us_publink10009049
If you are a disqualified person who participated in a prohibited transaction, you can avoid the 100% tax by correcting the transaction as soon as possible. Correcting the transaction means undoing it as much as you can without putting the plan in a worse financial position than if you had acted under the highest fiduciary standards.taxmap/pubs/p560-020.htm#en_us_publink10009050
If the prohibited transaction is not corrected during the taxable period, you usually have an additional 90 days after the day the IRS mails a notice of deficiency for the 100% tax to correct the transaction. This correction period (the taxable period plus the 90 days) can be extended if either of the following occurs.
- The IRS grants reasonable time needed to correct the transaction.
- You petition the Tax Court.
If you correct the transaction within this period, the IRS will abate, credit, or refund the 100% tax.