By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.

Understanding the Role of the Governmental Authority in Qualified Settlement Funds

A view looking up at the front of a large courthouse building

Definition of Governmental Authority

According to IRS regulation §1.468B-1(c)(1) and (e), a Qualified Settlement Fund (“QSF”) is a specialized type of statutory trust established by a “governmental authority” to resolve claims arising from specific events such as breaches of contracts, torts, or violations of law pursuant to 26 CFR §1.468B-1. The term governmental authority is defined within the regulations as:

“…the United States, any state (including the District of Columbia), territory, possession, or political subdivision thereof, or any agency or instrumentality (including a court of law) of any of the foregoing…”

Thus, the governmental authority must issue its initial or preliminary approval (or order) to establish the QSF. Often overlooked is that the initial approval or order may be subject to review or revision. However, this does not detract from the validity of the QSF once the governmental authority gives its initial approval.
Note: So, called “Firmwide QSFs” mix unrelated claims in violation of the “related claims” requirement of §1.468B-1(c)(2) and therefore do not satisfy the qualification requirements to operate as a Qualified Settlement Fund. (See Firmwide QSFs - What Can Go Wrong? Part 1 and Part 2)

Retroactive Effect

A key provision within §1.468B-1(e) clarifies that the governmental authority’s order or approval has no retroactive effect. This part of the regulation means that a fund, account, or trust cannot be deemed a Qualified Settlement Fund before the date the approval is granted. The regulation ensures that the statutory establishment of a QSF follows a transparent chronological process and maintains accountability for the fund’s activities.
However, §1.468B-1(j) (2) provides a method for a QSF to be deemed coming into existence via a “relation-back rule” election as on the later of the date the fund, account, or trust meets the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of 1.468B-1 or January 1 of the calendar year in which all the requirements of paragraph (c) of 1.468B-1 are satisfied:

§1.468B-1(j) (2)
“Relation-back rule—(i) In general. If a fund, account, or trust meets the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section prior to the time it meets the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the transferor and administrator (as defined in §1.468B–2(k)(3)) may jointly elect (a relation-back election) to treat the fund, account, or trust as coming into existence as a qualified settlement fund on the later of the date the fund, account, or trust meets the requirements of paragraphs (c)(2) and (c)(3) of this section or January 1 of the calendar year in which all the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section are met. If a relation-back election is made, the assets held by the fund, account, or trust on the date the qualified settlement fund is treated as coming into existence are treated as transferred to the qualified settlement fund on that date.”


In conclusion, the governmental authority plays a pivotal role in establishing and regulating a QSF, but the approval can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming. QSF 360 provides a turnkey solution to establish a QSF with the necessary governmental authority approvals in as little as one business day, making the process quick and easy. The order or approval from the governmental authority serves as the definitive starting point for a QSF, ensuring that the Qualified Settlement Fund operates within the established regulatory framework.

Disclosure: This content is an overview. It is not a detailed analysis and offers no legal or tax opinion on which you should solely rely. Always seek the advice of competent legal and tax advisors to review your specific facts and circumstances before making any decisions or relying on the content herein.
Any opinions, views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Eastern Point Trust Company, its Affiliates, or their clients. The mere appearance of content does not constitute an endorsement by Eastern Point Trust Company (“EPTC”) or its Affiliates. The author’s opinions are based upon information they consider reliable, but neither EPTC nor its Affiliates, nor the company with which such author(s) are affiliated, warrant completeness, accuracy or disclosure of opposing interpretations.

EPTC and its Affiliates disclaim all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content herein, which is expressly provided as is, without warranties.
Article Archive

Get More Information

Your submission has been received.
A member of our team will be in touch with you soon.
Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Please see our Contact Us page for more options to connect with us.