IRS Asks for Comments on Determination Letters for 2019

The agency ended its determination letter program effective in 2017, but said it will measure the need for exceptions in a variety of ways including annual input from the Employee Plans (EP) community.

In Notice 2018-24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requests comments on the potential expansion of the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans during the 2019 calendar year, beyond provision of determination letters for initial qualification and qualification upon plan termination.

Revenue Procedure 2016-37, provides that, effective January 1, 2017, the sponsor of an individually designed plan may submit a determination letter application only for initial plan qualification, for qualification upon plan termination, or if the IRS makes a special exception. In that notice, the IRS said it anticipates making exceptions based on program capacity to work on additional applications, and the need for rulings in certain areas. The agency said it will measure need in a variety of ways including annual input from the Employee Plans (EP) community.

Comments are requested on specific types of plans for which the Treasury Department and the IRS should consider accepting determination letter applications during calendar year 2019. Circumstances for consideration include, for example, significant law changes, new approaches to plan design, and the inability of certain types of plans to convert to pre-approved plan documents. 

The IRS says comments that suggest expanding the scope of the program for a particular type of plan should not merely state the type of plan, but should also specify the issues applicable to that type of plan that would justify review of that particular plan type under the determination letter program. Such issues may include specific plan features and special plan designs applicable to that type of plan, or unresolved questions of qualification in form with respect to that type of plan. 

Comments may be submitted in writing on or before June 4, 2018, per instructions provided in the notice.