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403(b) Pre-Approved Plan Program FAQs - Eligible Plan Sponsors

Who can sponsor a 403(b) prototype plan?

An entity can sponsor a 403(b) prototype plan if it both:

  1. Has an established place of business in the United States where it can be reached every business day; and
  2. Expects at least 30 eligible employers to adopt its 403(b) prototype plan basic plan document(s).

However, a church-related organization may sponsor a 403(b) prototype plan designed to be a 403(b)(9) retirement income account plan regardless of how many employers its expects to adopt the plan.


Who can sponsor a 403(b) volume submitter specimen plan?

An entity can sponsor a 403(b) volume submitter plan if it both:

  1. Has an established place of business in the United States where it can be reached every business day; and
  2. Expects at least 30 eligible employers to adopt its 403(b) volume submitter specimen document(s).

However, a church-related organization may sponsor a 403(b) volume submitter plan designed to be a 403(b)(9) retirement income account plan regardless of how many employers it expects to adopt the plan.


Who can be a prototype or volume submitter mass submitter?

An entity can be a mass submitter of either a prototype or volume submitter plan if it both:

  1. Has an established place of business in the United States where it can be reached during every business day; and
  2. Submits opinion or advisory letter applications on behalf of at least 30 prototype sponsors, or at least 30 volume submitter practitioners, each of which is sponsoring on a word-for-word identical basis the same basic plan document or specimen plan.

The 30-word-for-word-identical-adopter requirement only needs to be met for one plan of the mass submitter. After it is met for one plan, the mass submitter may submit additional applications for other prototype or volume submitter plans regardless of the number of word-for-word identical adopters of those other plans.

An entity can sponsor a plan of a mass submitter if it has an established place of business in the United States where it can be reached every business day and sponsors the plan as either:

  1. a word-for-word identical adopter or minor modifier of a mass submitter’s 403(b) prototype plan, or
  2. a word-for-word identical adopter of a mass submitter's 403(b) volume submitter plan.

To be a word-for-word identical adopter, the entity must sponsor a plan that is identical, on a word-for-word basis, to either a basic plan document or a specimen plan of a mass submitter.

To be a minor modifier, the entity must sponsor a plan that contains only minor changes from a basic plan document of a mass submitter, and the changes do not require the IRS to do an in-depth technical review to issue an opinion letter to the plan.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 20-Jun-2013