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ASC 715-30-20 includes a definition of a defined contribution plan.

Excerpt from ASC 715-30-20

Defined contribution plan: A plan that provides an individual account for each participant and provides benefits that are based on all of the following: amounts contributed to the participant’s account by the employer or employee; investment experience; and any forfeitures allocated to the account, less any administrative expenses charged to the plan.
b. Defined contribution postretirement plan—A plan that provides postretirement benefits in return for services rendered, provides an individual account for each plan participant, and specifies how contributions to the individual's account are to be determined rather than specifies the amount of benefits the individual is to receive.

A profit-sharing plan is a type of defined contribution plan in which, for example, an employer contributes 3% of the entity’s annual pre-tax income to a plan, which is allocated to participants in a manner specified in the plan. In a defined contribution plan, investment income and plan expenses are allocated based on participants' individual account balances. The retirement benefits a participant will receive depend on the amount contributed to the participant's account plus any allocated income or expense. Both pension and OPEB plans may be defined contribution plans. A 401(k) plan in which the employer provides a “matching” contribution is also an example of a defined contribution plan.
Some plans contain features of both defined contribution and defined benefit plans. Careful analysis of these plans is required. If, in substance, the plan provides a defined benefit, the accounting and disclosure requirements should be those required for a defined benefit plan. For example, in some plans there may be an unfunded account balance established for each plan participant. Thus, while the form of the plan may look like a defined contribution plan, the substance and employer's commitment may weigh more heavily on the side of a defined benefit plan.
Much of the guidance governing the accounting for pension and postretirement benefits was developed in the context of plan designs that were prevalent in the United States in the late 1980s (when the original guidance that has been codified in ASC 715 was developed) and some of the concepts in the Employee Income Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Thus, many times the distinction between a defined benefit plan and defined contribution plan are more difficult to apply to plan designs in non-US jurisdictions. See PEB 1.8 for a discussion of the accounting considerations related to certain plan designs more prevalent outside the US.
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