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IRS.gov Website
Publication 571
taxmap/pubs/p571-003.htm#en_us_publink1000239618

Who Can Participate in a 403(b) Plan?(p3)

rule
Any eligible employee can participate in a 403(b) plan.
taxmap/pubs/p571-003.htm#en_us_publink1000239619

Eligible employees.(p3)

rule
The following employees are eligible to participate in a 403(b) plan.
taxmap/pubs/p571-003.htm#en_us_publink1000239620
Ministers.(p3)
The following ministers are eligible employees for whom a 403(b) account can be established.
  1. Ministers employed by section 501(c)(3) organizations.
  2. Self-employed ministers. A self-employed minister is treated as employed by a tax-exempt organization that is a qualified employer.
  3. Ministers (chaplains) who meet both of the following requirements.
    1. They are employed by organizations that are not section 501(c)(3) organizations.
    2. They function as ministers in their day-to-day professional responsibilities with their employers.
Throughout this publication, the term chaplain will be used to mean ministers described in the third category in the list above.
taxmap/pubs/p571-003.htm#en_us_publink1000239621

Example.(p3)

A minister employed as a chaplain by a state-run prison and a chaplain in the United States Armed Forces are eligible employees because their employers are not section 501(c)(3) organizations and they are employed as ministers.