The IRS today released an advance version of Announcement 2015-19, announcing that with respect to determination letters for individually designed employee plans:
Announcement 2015-19 [PDF 38 KB] provides that beginning January 1, 2017, a sponsor of an individually designed plan will be permitted to submit a determination letter application for a plan on initial plan qualification—that is, a plan for which a Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan, has not been filed or for which a Form 5300 has been filed but a determination letter was not issued with respect to the plan (regardless of when the plan was adopted) and for qualification upon plan termination.
Also, today’s guidance states that a plan sponsor will be allowed to submit a determination letter application in certain other limited circumstances (as to be determined by the IRS and Treasury).
The IRS stated that changes to the determination letter filing procedures will be reflected in an update to Rev. Proc. 2007-44 (that sets forth the procedures for issuing determination letters and describes the five-year remedial amendment cycle for individually designed plans) and in successor guidance to Rev. Proc. 2015-6.
Also, the IRS and Treasury intend to request comments periodically regarding the other limited circumstances under which a plan sponsor will be eligible to apply for a determination letter. Treasury and the IRS will identify those circumstances in published guidance on a periodic basis.
In connection with the modifications to the determination letter program described in today’s announcement, the IRS and Treasury Department are considering ways to make it easier for plan sponsors to comply with the qualified plan document requirements, for example:
Today’s announcement accordingly includes a request for comments, specifically concerning:
Comments are due by October 1, 2015.
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