After months of consideration and correspondence, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has decided to decline to rule on the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi's (PERS') private letter ruling request about recent revisions to Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, which is their prerogative under federal law. (Click here to view the IRS' written response.)
PERS leadership, representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, outside tax counsel, and the PERS Board will consider the System's next steps going forward, and I anticipate this matter possibly being an agenda item for discussion at the regularly scheduled committee or board meetings in late June.
Our retirees and members are important to us, and, as fiduciaries, we must always act in the best interest of the System. Thank you.
-Ray Higgins, PERS executive director
In November 2018 and January 2019, Mississippi’s Attorney
General issued opinions regarding PERS retirees serving in the Mississippi
Legislature and continuing to receive benefits. In response to these opinions, PERS
Board of Trustees approved initial adoption in April 2019 of revisions to PERS
Board Regulation 34, Reemployment after Retirement, to allow PERS
retirees to serve in the state Legislature while continuing to receive benefit
payments under certain conditions. These revisions were officially adopted
by the Board at their December 17 meeting.
To confirm whether the revised regulation
complies with IRS requirements for maintaining the System’s qualified tax
status, the proposed regulation was submitted (prior to final adoption) to the
IRS this summer with a request for issuance of a private letter ruling.
Maintaining the plan’s qualified status pertains to federal tax law and is very
important to both the System and individual members.