SECTION 409. DEFERRED COMPENSATION, ANNUITIES, AND SIMILAR PAYMENTS.
(a) In this section, "payment" means a payment that a trustee may receive over a fixed number of years or during the life of one or more individuals because of services rendered or property transferred to the payer in exchange for future payments. The term includes a payment made in money or property from the payer's general assets or from a separate fund created by the payer, including a private or commercial annuity, an individual retirement account, and a pension, profit-sharing, stock-bonus, or stock-ownership plan.
(b) To the extent that a payment is characterized as interest or a dividend or a payment made in lieu of interest or a dividend, a trustee shall allocate it to income. The trustee shall allocate to principal the balance of the payment and any other payment received in the same accounting period that is not characterized as interest, a dividend, or an equivalent payment.
(c) If no part of a payment is characterized as interest, a dividend, or an equivalent payment, and all or part of the payment is required to be made, a trustee shall allocate to income 10 percent of the part that is required to be made during the accounting period and the balance to principal. If no part of a payment is required to be made or the payment received is the entire amount to which the trustee is entitled, the trustee shall allocate the entire payment to principal. For purposes of this subsection, a payment is not "required to be made" to the extent that it is made because the trustee exercises a right of withdrawal.
(d) If, to obtain an estate tax marital deduction for a trust, a trustee must allocate more of a payment to income than provided for by this section, the trustee shall allocate to income the additional amount necessary to obtain the marital deduction.
(e) This section does not apply to payments to which Section 410 applies.
Scope. Section 409 applies to amounts received under contractual arrangements that provide for payments to a third party beneficiary as a result of services rendered or property transferred to the payer. While the right to receive such payments is a liquidating asset of the kind described in Section 410 (i.e., "an asset whose value will diminish or terminate because the asset is expected to produce receipts for a period of limited duration"), these payment rights are covered separately in Section 409 because of their special characteristics.
Section 409 applies to receipts from all forms of annuities and deferred compensation arrangements, whether the payment will be received by the trust in a lump sum or in installments over a period of years. It applies to bonuses that may be received over two or three years and payments that may last for much longer periods, including payments from an individual retirement account (IRA), deferred compensation plan (whether qualified or not qualified for special federal income tax treatment), and insurance renewal commissions. It applies to a retirement plan to which the settlor has made contributions, just as it applies to an annuity policy that the settlor may have purchased individually, and it applies to variable annuities, deferred annuities, annuities issued by commercial insurance companies, and "private annuities" arising from the sale of property to another individual or entity in exchange for payments that are to be made for the life of one or more individuals. The section applies whether the payments begin when the payment right becomes subject to the trust or are deferred until a future date, and it applies whether payments are made in cash or in kind, such as employer stock (in-kind payments usually will be made in a single distribution that will be allocated to principal under the second sentence of subsection (c)).
The 1962 Act. Under Section 12 of the 1962 Act, receipts from "rights to receive payments on a contract for deferred compensation" are allocated to income each year in an amount "not in excess of 5% per year" of the property's inventory value. While "not in excess of 5%" suggests that the annual allocation may range from zero to 5% of the inventory value, in practice the rule is usually treated as prescribing a 5% allocation. The inventory value is usually the present value of all the future payments, and since the inventory value is determined as of the date on which the payment right becomes subject to the trust, the inventory value, and thus the amount of the annual income allocation, depends significantly on the applicable interest rate on the decedent's date of death. That rate may be much higher or lower than the average long-term interest rate. The amount determined under the 5% formula tends to become fixed and remain unchanged even though the amount received by the trust increases or decreases.
Allocations Under Section 409(b). Section 409(b) applies to plans whose terms characterize payments made under the plan as dividends, interest, or payments in lieu of dividends or interest. For example, some deferred compensation plans that hold debt obligations or stock of the plan's sponsor in an account for future delivery to the person rendering the services provide for the annual payment to that person of dividends received on the stock or interest received on the debt obligations. Other plans provide that the account of the person rendering the services shall be credited with "phantom" shares of stock and require an annual payment that is equivalent to the dividends that would be received on that number of shares if they were actually issued; or a plan may entitle the person rendering the services to receive a fixed dollar amount in the future and provide for the annual payment of interest on the deferred amount during the period prior to its payment. Under Section 409(b), payments of dividends, interest or payments in lieu of dividends or interest under plans of this type are allocated to income; all other payments received under these plans are allocated to principal.
Section 409(b) does not apply to an IRA or an arrangement with payment provisions similar to an IRA. IRAs and similar arrangements are subject to the provisions in Section 409(c).
Allocations Under Section 409(c). The focus of Section 409, for purposes of allocating payments received by a trust to or between principal and income, is on the payment right rather than on assets that may be held in a fund from which the payments are made. Thus, if an IRA holds a portfolio of marketable stocks and bonds, the amount received by the IRA as dividends and interest is not taken into account in determining the principal and income allocation except to the extent that the Internal Revenue Service may require them to be taken into account when the payment is received by a trust that qualifies for the estate tax marital deduction (a situation that is provided for in Section 409(d)). An IRA is subject to federal income tax rules that require payments to begin by a particular date and be made over a specific number of years or a period measured by the lives of one or more persons. The payment right of a trust that is named as a beneficiary of an IRA is not a right to receive particular items that are paid to the IRA, but is instead the right to receive an amount determined by dividing the value of the IRA by the remaining number of years in the payment period. This payment right is similar to the right to receive a unitrust amount, which is normally expressed as an amount equal to a percentage of the value of the unitrust assets without regard to dividends or interest that may be received by the unitrust.
An amount received from an IRA or a plan with a payment provision similar to that of an IRA is allocated under Section 409(c), which differentiates between payments that are required to be made and all other payments. To the extent that a payment is required to be made (either under federal income tax rules or, in the case of a plan that is not subject to those rules, under the terms of the plan), 10% of the amount received is allocated to income and the balance is allocated to principal. All other payments are allocated to principal because they represent a change in the form of a principal asset; Section 409 follows the rule in Section 404(2), which provides that money or property received from a change in the form of a principal asset be allocated to principal.
Section 409(c) produces an allocation to income that is similar to the allocation under the 1962 Act formula if the annual payments are the same throughout the payment period, and it is simpler to administer. The amount allocated to income under Section 409 is not dependent upon the interest rate that is used for valuation purposes when the decedent dies, and if the payments received by the trust increase or decrease from year to year because the fund from which the payment is made increases or decreases in value, the amount allocated to income will also increase or decrease.
Marital deduction requirements. When an IRA is payable to a QTIP marital deduction trust, the IRS treats the IRA as separate terminable interest property and requires that a QTIP election be made for it. In order to qualify for QTIP treatment, an IRS ruling states that all of the IRA's income must be distributed annually to the QTIP marital deduction trust and then must be allocated to trust income for distribution to the spouse. Rev. Rul. 89-89, 1989-2 C.B. 231. If an allocation to income under this Act of 10% of the required distribution from the IRA does not meet the requirement that all of the IRA's income be distributed from the trust to the spouse, the provision in subsection (d) requires the trustee to make a larger allocation to income to the extent necessary to qualify for the marital deduction. The requirement of Rev. Rul. 89-89 should also be satisfied if the IRA beneficiary designation permits the spouse to require the trustee to withdraw the necessary amount from the IRA and distribute it to her, even though the spouse never actually requires the trustee to do so. If such a provision is in the beneficiary designation, a distribution under subsection (d) should not be necessary.
Application of Section 104. Section 104(a) of this Act gives a trustee who is acting under the prudent investor rule the power to adjust from principal to income if, considering the portfolio as a whole and not just receipts from deferred compensation, the trustee determines that an adjustment is necessary. See Example (5) in the Comment following Section 104.