- HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS ISSUE
- Part III
- Definition of Terms
- Numerical Finding List
- Finding List of Current Actions on Previously Published Items1
- How to get the Internal Revenue Bulletin
Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2020-14
March 30, 2020
These synopses are intended only as aids to the reader in identifying the subject matter covered. They may not be relied upon as authoritative interpretations.
This notice sets forth updates on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates for March 2020 used under § 417(e)(3)(D), the 24-month average segment rates applicable for March 2020, and the 30-year Treasury rates, as reflected by the application of § 430(h)(2)(C)(iv).
Acquiescence in result only to the holdings that (1) Medicaid waiver payments received as wages for the care of the taxpayers’ disabled adult children in their own home are not excludable from income under I.R.C. § 131; and (2) if such payments are treated as excludable from gross income pursuant to Notice 2014-7, 2014-4 I.R.B. 445, the payments nevertheless may be earned income for determining a taxpayer’s eligibility to receive the earned income credit (EIC) under I.R.C. § 32 and the additional child tax credit (ACTC) under I.R.C. § 24.
This notice provides that, due to the unprecedented public health emergency posed by COVID-19, and the need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of COVID-19, a health plan that otherwise satisfies the requirements to be a high deductible health plan (HDHP) under section 223(c)(2)(A) will not fail to be an HDHP merely because the health plan provides medical care services and items purchased related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19 prior to the satisfaction of the applicable minimum deductible. As a result, the individuals covered by such a plan will not fail to be eligible individuals under section 223(c)(1) merely because of the provision of those health benefits for testing and treatment of COVID-19.
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The Internal Revenue Bulletin is the authoritative instrument of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue for announcing official rulings and procedures of the Internal Revenue Service and for publishing Treasury Decisions, Executive Orders, Tax Conventions, legislation, court decisions, and other items of general interest. It is published weekly.
It is the policy of the Service to publish in the Bulletin all substantive rulings necessary to promote a uniform application of the tax laws, including all rulings that supersede, revoke, modify, or amend any of those previously published in the Bulletin. All published rulings apply retroactively unless otherwise indicated. Procedures relating solely to matters of internal management are not published; however, statements of internal practices and procedures that affect the rights and duties of taxpayers are published.
Revenue rulings represent the conclusions of the Service on the application of the law to the pivotal facts stated in the revenue ruling. In those based on positions taken in rulings to taxpayers or technical advice to Service field offices, identifying details and information of a confidential nature are deleted to prevent unwarranted invasions of privacy and to comply with statutory requirements.
Rulings and procedures reported in the Bulletin do not have the force and effect of Treasury Department Regulations, but they may be used as precedents. Unpublished rulings will not be relied on, used, or cited as precedents by Service personnel in the disposition of other cases. In applying published rulings and procedures, the effect of subsequent legislation, regulations, court decisions, rulings, and procedures must be considered, and Service personnel and others concerned are cautioned against reaching the same conclusions in other cases unless the facts and circumstances are substantially the same.
The Bulletin is divided into four parts as follows:
Part I.—1986 Code. This part includes rulings and decisions based on provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
Part II.—Treaties and Tax Legislation. This part is divided into two subparts as follows: Subpart A, Tax Conventions and Other Related Items, and Subpart B, Legislation and Related Committee Reports.
Part III.—Administrative, Procedural, and Miscellaneous. To the extent practicable, pertinent cross references to these subjects are contained in the other Parts and Subparts. Also included in this part are Bank Secrecy Act Administrative Rulings. Bank Secrecy Act Administrative Rulings are issued by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Assistant Secretary (Enforcement).
Part IV.—Items of General Interest. This part includes notices of proposed rulemakings, disbarment and suspension lists, and announcements.
The last Bulletin for each month includes a cumulative index for the matters published during the preceding months. These monthly indexes are cumulated on a semiannual basis, and are published in the last Bulletin of each semiannual period.
It is the policy of the Internal Revenue Service to announce at an early date whether it will follow the holdings in certain cases. An Action on Decision is the document making such an announcement. An Action on Decision will be issued at the discretion of the Service only on unappealed issues decided adverse to the government. Generally, an Action on Decision is issued where its guidance would be helpful to Service personnel working with the same or similar issues. Unlike a Treasury Regulation or a Revenue Ruling, an Action on Decision is not an affirmative statement of Service position. It is not intended to serve as public guidance and may not be cited as precedent.
Actions on Decisions shall be relied upon within the Service only as conclusions applying the law to the facts in the particular case at the time the Action on Decision was issued. Caution should be exercised in extending the recommendation of the Action on Decision to similar cases where the facts are different. Moreover, the recommendation in the Action on Decision may be superseded by new legislation, regulations, rulings, cases, or Actions on Decisions.
Prior to 1991, the Service published acquiescence or nonacquiescence only in certain regular Tax Court opinions. The Service has expanded its acquiescence program to include other civil tax cases where guidance is determined to be helpful. Accordingly, the Service now may acquiesce or nonacquiesce in the holdings of memorandum Tax Court opinions, as well as those of the United States District Courts, Claims Court, and Circuit Courts of Appeal. Regardless of the court deciding the case, the recommendation of any Action on Decision will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin.
The recommendation in every Action on Decision will be summarized as acquiescence, acquiescence in result only, or nonacquiescence. Both “acquiescence” and “acquiescence in result only” mean that the Service accepts the holding of the court in a case and that the Service will follow it in disposing of cases with the same controlling facts. However, “acquiescence” indicates neither approval nor disapproval of the reasons assigned by the court for its conclusions; whereas, “acquiescence in result only” indicates disagreement or concern with some or all of those reasons. “Nonacquiescence” signifies that, although no further review was sought, the Service does not agree with the holding of the court and, generally, will not follow the decision in disposing of cases involving other taxpayers. In reference to an opinion of a circuit court of appeals, a “nonacquiescence” indicates that the Service will not follow the holding on a nationwide basis. However, the Service will recognize the precedential impact of the opinion on cases arising within the venue of the deciding circuit.
The Commissioner does ACQUIESCE IN RESULT ONLY in the following decision:
Feigh v. Commissioner, 152 T.C. No. 15 (2019), T.C. Docket No. 20163-17.1
1 Acquiescence in result only to the holdings that (1) Medicaid waiver payments received as wages for the care of the taxpayers’ disabled adult children in their own home are not excludable from income under I.R.C. § 131; and (2) if such payments are treated as excludable from gross income pursuant to Notice 2014-7, 2014-4 I.R.B. 445, the payments nevertheless may be earned income for determining a taxpayer’s eligibility to receive the earned income credit (EIC) under I.R.C. § 32 and the additional child tax credit (ACTC) under I.R.C. § 24.
To facilitate the nation’s response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), this notice provides that, until further guidance is issued, a health plan that otherwise satisfies the requirements to be a high deductible health plan (HDHP) under section 223(c)(2)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) will not fail to be an HDHP under section 223(c)(2)(A) merely because the health plan provides health benefits associated with testing for and treatment of COVID-19 without a deductible, or with a deductible below the minimum deductible (self only or family) for an HDHP. Therefore, an individual covered by the HDHP will not be disqualified from being an eligible individual under section 223(c)(1) who may make tax-favored contributions to a health savings account (HSA).
Part of the response to COVID-19 is removing barriers to testing for and treatment of COVID-19. Due to the nature of this public health emergency, and to avoid administrative delays or financial disincentives that might otherwise impede testing for and treatment of COVID-19 for participants in HDHPs, this notice provides that all medical care services received and items purchased associated with testing for and treatment of COVID-19 that are provided by a health plan without a deductible, or with a deductible below the minimum annual deductible otherwise required under section 223(c)(2)(A) for an HDHP, will be disregarded for purposes of determining the status of the plan as an HDHP.
Section 223 of the Code permits eligible individuals to deduct contributions to HSAs.1 Among the requirements for an individual to qualify as an eligible individual under section 223(c)(1) is that the individual be covered under an HDHP and have no disqualifying health coverage. As defined in section 223(c)(2), an HDHP is a health plan that satisfies certain requirements, including requirements with respect to minimum deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses.
Due to the unprecedented public health emergency posed by COVID-19, and the need to eliminate potential administrative and financial barriers to testing for and treatment of COVID-19, a health plan that otherwise satisfies the requirements to be an HDHP under section 223(c)(2)(A) will not fail to be an HDHP merely because the health plan provides medical care services and items purchased related to testing for and treatment of COVID-19 prior to the satisfaction of the applicable minimum deductible. As a result, the individuals covered by such a plan will not fail to be eligible individuals under section 223(c)(1) merely because of the provision of those health benefits for testing and treatment of COVID-19.
This guidance does not modify previous guidance with respect to the requirements to be an HDHP in any manner other than with respect to the relief for testing for and treatment of COVID-19. Vaccinations continue to be considered preventive care under section 223(c)(2)(C) for purposes of determining whether a health plan is an HDHP.
This notice provides flexibility to HDHPs to provide health benefits for testing and treatment of COVID-19 without application of a deductible or cost sharing. Individuals participating in HDHPs or any other type of health plan should consult their particular health plan regarding the health benefits for testing and treatment of COVID-19 provided by the plan, including the potential application of any deductible or cost sharing.
The principal author of this notice is Jennifer Solomon of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes), though other Treasury Department and IRS officials participated in its development. For further information on the provisions of this notice, contact Jennifer Solomon at (202) 317-5500 (not a toll-free number).
This notice provides guidance on the corporate bond monthly yield curve, the corresponding spot segment rates used under § 417(e)(3), and the 24-month average segment rates under § 430(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, this notice provides guidance as to the interest rate on 30-year Treasury securities under § 417(e)(3)(A)(ii)(II) as in effect for plan years beginning before 2008 and the 30-year Treasury weighted average rate under § 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I).
Section 430 specifies the minimum funding requirements that apply to single-employer plans (except for CSEC plans under § 414(y)) pursuant to § 412. Section 430(h)(2) specifies the interest rates that must be used to determine a plan’s target normal cost and funding target. Under this provision, present value is generally determined using three 24-month average interest rates (“segment rates”), each of which applies to cash flows during specified periods. To the extent provided under § 430(h)(2)(C)(iv), these segment rates are adjusted by the applicable percentage of the 25-year average segment rates for the period ending September 30 of the year preceding the calendar year in which the plan year begins.2 However, an election may be made under § 430(h)(2)(D)(ii) to use the monthly yield curve in place of the segment rates.
Notice 2007-81, 2007-44 I.R.B. 899, provides guidelines for determining the monthly corporate bond yield curve, and the 24-month average corporate bond segment rates used to compute the target normal cost and the funding target. Consistent with the methodology specified in Notice 2007-81, the monthly corporate bond yield curve derived from February 2020 data is in Table 2020-2 at the end of this notice. The spot first, second, and third segment rates for the month of February 2020 are, respectively, 1.73, 2.72, and 3.35.
The 24-month average segment rates determined under § 430(h)(2)(C)(i) through (iii) must be adjusted pursuant to § 430(h)(2)(C)(iv) to be within the applicable minimum and maximum percentages of the corresponding 25-year average segment rates. For plan years beginning before 2021, the applicable minimum percentage is 90% and the applicable maximum percentage is 110%. The 25-year average segment rates for plan years beginning in 2019 and 2020 were published in Notice 2018-73, 2018-40 I.R.B. 526, and Notice 2019-51, 2019-41 I.R.B. 866, respectively.
The three 24-month average corporate bond segment rates applicable for March 2020 without adjustment for the 25-year average segment rate limits are as follows:
24-Month Average Segment Rates Without 25-Year Average Adjustment
|Applicable Month||First Segment||Second Segment||Third Segment|
Based on § 430(h)(2)(C)(iv), the 24-month averages applicable for March 2020, adjusted to be within the applicable minimum and maximum percentages of the corresponding 25-year average segment rates, are as follows:
Section 431 specifies the minimum funding requirements that apply to multiemployer plans pursuant to § 412. Section 431(c)(6)(B) specifies a minimum amount for the full-funding limitation described in § 431(c)(6)(A), based on the plan’s current liability. Section 431(c)(6)(E)(ii)(I) provides that the interest rate used to calculate current liability for this purpose must be no more than 5 percent above and no more than 10 percent below the weighted average of the rates of interest on 30-year Treasury securities during the four-year period ending on the last day before the beginning of the plan year. Notice 88-73, 1988-2 C.B. 383, provides guidelines for determining the weighted average interest rate. The rate of interest on 30-year Treasury securities for February 2020 is 1.97 percent. The Service determined this rate as the average of the daily determinations of yield on the 30-year Treasury bond maturing in November 2049 determined each day through February 12, 2020 and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond maturing in February 2050 determined each day for the balance of the month. For plan years beginning in March 2020, the weighted average of the rates of interest on 30-year Treasury securities and the permissible range of rates used to calculate current liability are as follows:
In general, the applicable interest rates under § 417(e)(3)(D) are segment rates computed without regard to a 24-month average. Notice 2007-81 provides guidelines for determining the minimum present value segment rates. Pursuant to that notice, the minimum present value segment rates determined for February 2020 are as follows:
The principal author of this notice is Tom Morgan of the Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, and Employment Taxes). However, other personnel from the IRS participated in the development of this guidance. For further information regarding this notice, contact Mr. Morgan at 202-317-6700 or Paul Stern at 202-317-8702 (not toll-free numbers).
1 Tax-favored contributions may also be made on behalf of eligible individuals by their employers. See Q&A 19 of Notice 2004-2 (2004-2 I.R.B. 269).
2 Pursuant to § 433(h)(3)(A), the 3rd segment rate determined under § 430(h)(2)(C) is used to determine the current liability of a CSEC plan (which is used to calculate the minimum amount of the full funding limitation under § 433(c)(7)(C)).
Table 2020-2 Monthly Yield Curve for February 2020 Derived from February 2020 Data
Revenue rulings and revenue procedures (hereinafter referred to as “rulings”) that have an effect on previous rulings use the following defined terms to describe the effect:
Amplified describes a situation where no change is being made in a prior published position, but the prior position is being extended to apply to a variation of the fact situation set forth therein. Thus, if an earlier ruling held that a principle applied to A, and the new ruling holds that the same principle also applies to B, the earlier ruling is amplified. (Compare with modified, below).
Clarified is used in those instances where the language in a prior ruling is being made clear because the language has caused, or may cause, some confusion. It is not used where a position in a prior ruling is being changed.
Distinguished describes a situation where a ruling mentions a previously published ruling and points out an essential difference between them.
Modified is used where the substance of a previously published position is being changed. Thus, if a prior ruling held that a principle applied to A but not to B, and the new ruling holds that it applies to both A and B, the prior ruling is modified because it corrects a published position. (Compare with amplified and clarified, above).
Obsoleted describes a previously published ruling that is not considered determinative with respect to future transactions. This term is most commonly used in a ruling that lists previously published rulings that are obsoleted because of changes in laws or regulations. A ruling may also be obsoleted because the substance has been included in regulations subsequently adopted.
Revoked describes situations where the position in the previously published ruling is not correct and the correct position is being stated in a new ruling.
Superseded describes a situation where the new ruling does nothing more than restate the substance and situation of a previously published ruling (or rulings). Thus, the term is used to republish under the 1986 Code and regulations the same position published under the 1939 Code and regulations. The term is also used when it is desired to republish in a single ruling a series of situations, names, etc., that were previously published over a period of time in separate rulings. If the new ruling does more than restate the substance of a prior ruling, a combination of terms is used. For example, modified and superseded describes a situation where the substance of a previously published ruling is being changed in part and is continued without change in part and it is desired to restate the valid portion of the previously published ruling in a new ruling that is self contained. In this case, the previously published ruling is first modified and then, as modified, is superseded.
Supplemented is used in situations in which a list, such as a list of the names of countries, is published in a ruling and that list is expanded by adding further names in subsequent rulings. After the original ruling has been supplemented several times, a new ruling may be published that includes the list in the original ruling and the additions, and supersedes all prior rulings in the series.
Suspended is used in rare situations to show that the previous published rulings will not be applied pending some future action such as the issuance of new or amended regulations, the outcome of cases in litigation, or the outcome of a Service study.
The following abbreviations in current use and formerly used will appear in material published in the Bulletin.
B.T.A.—Board of Tax Appeals.
CFR—Code of Federal Regulations.
Del. Order—Delegation Order.
DISC—Domestic International Sales Corporation.
ERISA—Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
FICA—Federal Insurance Contributions Act.
FISC—Foreign International Sales Company.
FPH—Foreign Personal Holding Company.
FUTA—Federal Unemployment Tax Act.
G.C.M.—Chief Counsel’s Memorandum.
I.R.B.—Internal Revenue Bulletin.
PHC—Personal Holding Company.
PO—Possession of the U.S.
PTE—Prohibited Transaction Exemption.
Pub. L.—Public Law.
REIT—Real Estate Investment Trust.
Rev. Proc.—Revenue Procedure.
Rev. Rul.—Revenue Ruling.
S.P.R.—Statement of Procedural Rules.
Stat.—Statutes at Large.
T.I.R.—Technical Information Release.
U.S.C.—United States Code.
1 A cumulative list of all revenue rulings, revenue procedures, Treasury decisions, etc., published in Internal Revenue Bulletins 2018–27 through 2018–52 is in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2018–52, dated December 27, 2018.
The Introduction at the beginning of this issue describes the purpose and content of this publication. The weekly Internal Revenue Bulletins are available at www.irs.gov/irb/.
If you have comments concerning the format or production of the Internal Revenue Bulletin or suggestions for improving it, we would be pleased to hear from you. You can email us your suggestions or comments through the IRS Internet Home Page www.irs.gov) or write to theInternal Revenue Service, Publishing Division, IRB Publishing Program Desk, 1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6230 Washington, DC 20224.