IRS expands retirement plan Determination Letter Program and Self- Correction Program

Written on May 06, 2019

The IRS has announced the expansion of areas for issuing determination letters for certain retirement plans. Revenue Procedure 2019-20 (PDF) details the addition of two areas for which retirement plan sponsors may now request determination letters.

In addition, through recently issued guidance, the IRS is also making it easier for plan administrators to correct plan errors.

Highlights of these changes:

Determination Letter Program

The Treasury Department and the IRS received numerous requests to expand the determination letter program. Revenue Procedure 2019-20 expands the determination letter program for two specific categories:

  • Statutory Hybrid Plans – plan sponsors may submit determination letter applications for statutory hybrid plans for the 12-month period beginning Sept. 1, 2019, and ending Aug. 31, 2020.

  • Plan Mergers – plan sponsors may submit determination letter applications for certain merged plans on an ongoing basis.

As provided in prior guidance, plan sponsors will continue to be able to submit a determination letter application for initial plan qualification and for qualification upon plan termination. 

Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System

The IRS on April 19 issued Revenue Procedure 2019-19 (PDF), which expands the Self-Correction Program for retirement plans to enable plan sponsors to fix certain plan document and operational failures (including plan loan issues) without having to file a Voluntary Correction Program submission with the IRS.

Starting April 19, the Self-Correction Program permits the self-correction of certain plan document failures, provides correction options and possible relief from deemed distributions associated with certain failures involving plan loans made to participants, and provides additional opportunities for correcting certain operational failures by plan amendment.

The IRS provides three correction programs for employee plans:

  • Self-Correction Program (SCP) – permits plan sponsors to correct certain plan failures without contacting the IRS or paying a user fee.

  • Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) – allows plan sponsors to correct failures not eligible for self-correction or to obtain the IRS’s written agreement that specified failures were properly corrected.

Audit Closing Agreement Program – enables plan sponsors to resolve failures discovered during an IRS audit.

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