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403(b) Voluntary Retirement Saving Plan

403(b) Tax Sheltered Annuity Plan

What is a 403(b) Plan?

A 403(b) Plan is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan permitted by Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code.  This Code Section allows those employed by certain employers to participate in a tax-deferred retirement savings plan. The IRS defines 403(b) qualified employers to include public school systems.

Eligibility

Active Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) employees are eligible to make voluntary retirement contributions to the 403(b) Plan (sometimes referred to as a tax-sheltered annuity) through payroll deduction.

  • The minimum contribution to the APS 403(b) is $7.50 per pay period or $180 per year.  
  • The maximum contribution is set by the IRS, and is usually adjusted annually. 
  • All APS employees, whether full-time, part-time or on an hourly status are eligible to participate in the 403(b) Plan.   

Sometimes employees have questions about which retirement savings plan will be best for them, or what investment fund vendor they should select. However, these are not areas that anyone at APS has expertise in. Questions of that nature need to be researched by the employee; some of our employees elect to work with an independent financial advisor to address those questions.

For 2021, the maximum annual contribution to a 403(b) Plan for employees under age 50 is $19,500.  The maximum is $26,000 for employees age 50 or over.

Plan Administration

A third-party administrator, TCG Administrators (TCG), manages the 403(b) Plan for APS.  The APS plan includes approximately 35 different investment fund vendors for employees to select from; several of those investment fund vendors also offer the Roth 403(b) option.

Note: APS employees who work more than 25% of the time (.25 full-time equivalents) are required by state mandate to contribute to the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (NMERB) pension plan. The NMERB plan is a Defined Benefit Plan.

Both you, as the employee, and APS, as the employer, contribute a percentage (established by the New Mexico State Legislature) towards your NMERB plan.  APS is contributing to your NMERB plan, therefore there is no APS match or contribution to the 403(b) Plan.   

Enrollment and Payroll Contributions

To enroll in the 403(b) Plan

If you elect to enroll in the 403(b) Plan, you will first need to select an investment fund vendor and complete any necessary paperwork (or on-line or in-person enrollment) with that vendor. 

To locate the list of investment fund vendors for the APS 403(b) Plan:

Visit the Albuquerque Public Schools 403(b) Plan Administration page to find the Plan Description, Vendor List, Forms, and Frequently Asked Questions.

Review the list of 403(b) plan investment fund vendors and complete any necessary research to decide on the vendor you would like to use for your 403(b) plan. Contact that vendor and open a 403(b) account with them. (Some vendors offer online enrollment, others offer phone enrollment, and some you will need to meet with one of their representatives (virtually or in person) to open an account.)

To set up payroll contributions to your 403(b):

Do not take this step until you have an account open with your selected investment fund vendor. (If you set up contributions before your account is open, your 403(b) contributions will have to be returned to APS to be refunded to you.) 

  1. Go to www.tcgservices.com 
  2. Click on “Enroll” (top right on the menu bar)
  3. Enter “Albuquerque Public Schools” in the search box, and then click “Search”
  4. Click the orange “Enroll” button
  5. Scroll down and locate your investment fund vendor from the list of APS 403(b) vendors. After you have contacted that vendor and have a 403(b) account established with that firm, click the “Enroll Now” button next to the vendor name.
  6. You will now need to set up your payroll contribution account with TCG Administrators.
    • Enter your Social Security Number (without dashes) and click “Next”
    • Set up a username, password and security questions, then enter your personal information and click “Next”
    • Check the appropriate box to indicate whether you want a pretax deferral or a Roth (after-tax) deferral. (Note: only some of the investment fund vendors offer a Roth option. Refer to the list of investment fund vendors; the vendors that offer the Roth option are indicated with a double asterisk **.)
    • Indicate your contribution amount (per pay period deferral amount)
    • Click the Authorization checkbox at the bottom of the screen to proceed and then click “Submit”
    • Review and confirm that all information is correct, including your investment fund vendor name, type of deferral (pre-tax or Roth) and per paycheck deferral amount. Click “Submit” or “Back” if you need to make corrections.
    • Your six-digit Confirmation Number will be displayed. If you do not receive a confirmation number, the election was not finalized.
You may also call TCG Administrators at (800) 943-9179 and they will assist you by phone. 

Enrollment Periods

You may enroll in the 403(b) Plan at any time during the year, and your contributions will start with the first paycheck of the month following the date the APS Employee Benefits Department receives the notification of your enrollment.  (TCG Administrators will notify APS of your enrollment.) 

  • Payroll Department deadlines for summer payroll and prior to winter break may impact this date.
  • Contributions for the 403(b) Plan are taken out of two paychecks per month. 
  • There are no contributions deducted from the third paycheck of any month.

Change an Existing Plan

To make a change to your existing 403(b) Plan

To change the amount of your contribution to your 403(b) Plan (to any amount, including $0), you will notify our third-party administrator, TCG Administrators.

These instructions apply if you are currently contributing to the APS 403(b) Plan but have never used the TCG website before.  If you have used the TCG website before, you will enter the unique username and password that you already created.
  1. Visit the Group Retirement Plan Portal Login page.
  2. Click “New User” (small font at the top left in the box), and then enter the APS Plan Password: albuq403.
  3. Enter your Social Security Number, without dashes.
  4. Enter the default password: your date of birth in MMDDYYYY format.
    If this doesn’t work, it means you previously had a username and password for the TCG website. Call TCG at (800) 943-9179 to re-set your login credentials.
  5. The system will prompt you to create a unique Username and Password.
  6. Enter your contact information and click “Next”.
  7.  Select Manage Account from the menu bar and then Manage Investments.  Your current investment fund vendor(s) will show on the screen. 
  8. Click Change Election"
  9. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether you are making a pre-tax or Roth (post tax) deferral change 

  10. Scroll down to your investment fund vendor and enter your new contribution amount (per pay period deferral amount) in the white box to the right.
  11. Click the Authorization checkbox at the bottom of the screen to proceed with your change
  12. Review and confirm that all information is correct, including your investment fund vendor name and new per paycheck deferral amount.  Click “Submit” or "Back" if you need to make corrections. 
  13. Your six-digit Confirmation Number will be displayed.  If you do not receive a confirmation email, the election was not finalized.

You may also change your contribution amount by calling TCG at (800) 943-9179.

Enrollment Period

You may make changes to your 403(b) contributions at any time during the year. The change will start with the first paycheck of the month following the date the APS Employee Benefits Department receives the notification of the change.  (TCG Administrators will notify APS of your new contribution amount.) 

Note:  Payroll Department deadlines for summer payroll and prior to winter break may impact this start date.  

Request a distribution, loan or roll-over

To request a distribution, loan or roll-over from your 403(b) Plan

If you have not already done so, please contact your current investment fund vendor to determine what paperwork they need you to complete, and then complete that paperwork. 

Distribution Form

In addition to completing the paperwork from your investment fund vendor, the TCG Administrators 403(b) Distribution Form is also required to request a distribution or roll-over from your 403(b) Plan.

Download the 403(b) Distribution Form (PDF)

  • Fill out the Request Form.
  • Rollover rules, notices, options, contact information are on pages 4-10.

Completing the form

  • Section A – Your name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and contact information; Albuquerque Public Schools is the employer to which the request applies.
  • Section B – The reason for your request (which continue onto the second page of the form)
  • Section C – This applies to the investment fund vendor where you currently have your funds: The vendor name, your contract/policy number with them, and their contact information.
    • Most investment fund vendors require that their paperwork be signed. The authorized signatory for Albuquerque Public Schools is TCG Administrators. 
    • If your investment fund vendor requires original signatures that will be indicated on their forms: you will need to mail all the paperwork to TCG instead of faxing it.
    • If you want TCG to send you a copy of the signed forms: indicate that on the form and include the address or fax number for the copy to be sent. 
  • Section D – Your signature and the date

Additional Details

  • For many distributions, TCG requires a copy of your most recent account statement from your investment fund vendor; this request is included in the important instructions on the top of the fourth page of the Distribution Form. 
  • Fax or mail all pages of your investment fund vendor’s paperwork, the first three pages of the TCG Administrators Distribution Form, and any required supporting documentation (refer to the fourth page of the form), to TCG Administrators.  The address and fax number for TCG Administrators is on the distribution form; they are located in Austin, Texas.
  • In many situations, you can fax your paperwork to TCG Administrators.  There is a Fax Cover Sheet on their website. (It is in the same location on their website as the distribution form.  See the instructions above for locating that form.)

Once they receive your paperwork, TCG Administrators will determine if you meet the IRS requirements that apply to the distribution, roll-over or loan that you are requesting.  If so, they will sign-off on your investment fund vendor’s form and send the form to the vendor (and a copy to you if you requested that in Section C).

If there is any information that is missing from your submission, TCG will contact you at the Contact Phone or Contact Email you indicated in Section A of the distribution form.

For Questions or More Information

Contact Employee Benefits:

For general questions about the 403(b) Plan, or more information about when your contributions will start, contact Ann Johnson, APS Employee Benefits, at (505) 889-4821 or ann.johnson@aps.edu

Contact TCG Administrators:

To enroll for payroll deductions, change your contribution amount, reset your login credentials, or questions about the distribution form, contact TCG Administrators by phone at (800) 943-9179 or visit the TCG Administrators Website.

Related TCG Links: