A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that a multiemployer pension and annuity plan that fails to meet the requirements of ERISA and tax law cannot qualify as a tax-exempt labor organization. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress intended the Internal Revenue Code to be the final word in determining whether employer-provided pension plans qualify for tax-favored status.
The case, John F. Tupper vs. the United States of America, involved a dispute between a plumbers and pipe fitters' union pension fund and the IRS. The decision is a blow to Stichting Pensioenfonds Voor de Gezondheid, Geestelijke en Maatschappelijke Belangen, a Dutch pension fund that lost a similar case, and seeks a rehearing.