(b)lines Ask the Experts – Can a 403(a) Plan Be Merged With a 403(b)?

Can 403(a) plans be merged into 403(b) plans or can they only be merged into other 403(a) plans?”

Michael A. Webb, vice president, Cammack Retirement Group, answers:  

Before the Experts answer your question, we want to provide a bit of a refresher as to what 403(a) plans are precisely, since we suspect that much of our audience would not be familiar with such a plan. As discussed in an Ask the Experts column from last year, a 403(a) plan is essentially a 401(a) plan funded by annuity contracts instead of a trust.

Now that we have the background out of the way, let’s answer your question. With the exception of church plans, plans of different types (e.g. 401(a) and 403(b)) may not be merged with one another, though plans of the same type (e.g. two 403(b) plans) may generally be merged with one another.

Though there is little in the way of guidance in the area of 403(a) plans, since they are not common, it is likely that 403(a) plans could not be merged with 403(b) plans, either. If you wished to eliminate the 403(a) plan, it would appear that the only possible way to do so would be to terminate the plan, as opposed to merging it out of existence.

Thank you for your question!


NOTE: This feature is to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.  

Do YOU have a question for the Experts? If so, we would love to hear from you! Simply forward your question to rmoore@assetinternational.com with Subject: Ask the Experts, and the Experts will do their best to answer your question in a future Ask the Experts column.