Opinion Letter Program for 403(b) Plans Set to Launch April 1

An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official said the agency has set April 1 as its target date for launching an opinion letter program for prototype and volume submitter 403(b) plans, BNA reported.
At the annual Washington Non-Profit Legal & Tax Conference, Jason Levine, an IRS employee plans tax law specialist, said the program launch will coincide with a redesign of the agency’s Web site information on 403(b) plans, according to BNA.

Levine said the opinion letter program for 403(b) prototype plans will review only plan documents and adoption agreements, and if a plan document and its investment documents contain conflicting provisions, the plan document “will control.” Levine also told attendees that the prototype and volume submitter plan rules will permit the use of vesting schedules based on tax code Section 411, and will also almost certainly contain provisions for church plans – issues brought up in comments to the IRS about the program (see “403(b) Prototype Likely to Allow for Vesting Schedules”).

Plan sponsors that failed to comply with a new requirement to adopt a written plan document by December 31 are ineligible to participate in a remedial amendment program that IRS announced in December (see “IRS Offers Assurance until 403(b) Prototype Program Begins”). Sponsors that missed the deadline will have to enroll in the IRS Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System program, which IRS is updating to include corrections procedures for plan document failures, Levine said, according to BNA.