Update of the IRS Favorable Determination Letter Program: No Action Required by the 2018 Required Amendments List

Employee Benefits Alert

Firm Alert

Author(s) ,

As more fully described in our earlier newsletter, in Revenue Procedure 2016-37 the Internal Revenue System (IRS) made significant changes in the procedures governing the issuance of favorable determination letters to the sponsors of individually-designed plans. At that time, in connection with the modifications to the favorable determination letter program (other than for new or terminating plans), the IRS announced its intention to publish an annual Required Amendments List (RAL) to formally advise plan sponsors of the amendments necessary to maintain the qualification of their plans due to statutory or regulatory changes. Under the new regime, an applicable amendment appearing in the RAL generally must be adopted by the end of the second calendar year following the year in which the RAL is published.

The IRS has issued its 2018 RAL for individually-designed qualified retirement plans in Notice 2018-91. Therein, the IRS stated that no amendments are required. Therefore, no actions need to be taken by sponsors of individually-designed qualified retirement plans to maintain the qualification of their plan in response to any statutory or regulatory changes occurring during 2018. If any such amendments had been required, each plan sponsor would have had until December 31, 2020, to make the required changes in their plans.

Although no changes are required by the 2018 RAL, sponsors of individually-designed qualified retirement plans should continue to maintain and amend their plans carefully in the absence of the safety net for tax-qualification previously available under the determination letter program. Additionally, sponsors should remain cognizant of any required amendments that may be published in the coming years, such as the mandatory changes for plans permitting hardship distributions.

If you have any questions about the RAL or anything else regarding individually-designed tax-qualified retirement plans, please contact one of the attorneys in the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group at Bradley.