IRS Updates Information About Adopting Pre-Approved Plan Documents

New FAQs offer information about when retirement plan sponsors can adopt pre-approved plans and when determination letters are issued.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has updated its Pre-Approved Retirement Plan Adopting Employers FAQs (frequently asked questions).

The web page provides information for retirement plan sponsors that have individually designed retirement plan documents but want to adopt a pre-approved prototype or volume submitter plan document. The IRS says April 30, 2020, is the deadline to adopt a pre-approved defined benefit plan restated for items on the 2012 Cumulative List. April 30, 2017, was the extended deadline to adopt a pre-approved defined contribution plan restated for items on the 2010 Cumulative List. This extended deadline applied to individually designed plan sponsors switching to a pre-approved plan on or after January 1, 2016, and allowed them to apply for a determination letter by that date if otherwise permissible.

April 30, 2016, was the date by which an employer that maintained a pre-approved defined contribution plan prior to January 1, 2016, was required to adopt a new version of the plan (restated to reflect items on the 2010 Cumulative List). According to the FAQs, an employer may adopt a pre-approved plan at any time during the applicable defined contribution (DC) or defined benefit (DB) plan six-year remedial amendment cycle as stated in Revenue Procedure 2016-37.

Revenue Procedure 2016-37 officially ended the IRS’ determination letter program. Now there are only certain circumstances for which a retirement plan sponsor may apply for a determination letter—a guarantee from the agency that the plan document complies with applicable laws and regulations as to form.