Tips for Expediting the Determination, Opinion and Advisory Letter Process
Follow these tips to help speed up the processing of determination letter applications.
Board of Director Resolution
Include a copy of the resolution or other appropriate documentation formally terminating the plan. The date of the resolution must precede the date of termination.
Forms 5300 and 5307
Include a cover letter in addition to all other submission materials to alert us to significant and relevant information for the plan being submitted, including:
- whether the application is being filed on or off-cycle,
- any unique circumstances such as a “special ruling request” or urgent business needs for which expedited treatment is requested,
- whether the plan is part of a controlled or affiliated service group or multiple employer plan arrangement, or being submitted with a related plan (include the tax identification and plan numbers), and
- if the plan was involved in a merger or consolidation of plan assets.
Use the current version of all applicable forms and ensure that the forms are properly completed, signed, and dated.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Use the employer identification number of the plan sponsor and not the associated trust.
Proper user fee
Submit the appropriate fee based on the current user fee schedule. If you’re eligible for user fee exemption, sign and date the certification on Form 8717, User Fee for Employee Plan Determination, Opinion, and Advisory Letter Request. Stamped signatures are not acceptable.
Prior determination letter
Include the last favorable determination letter issued to the plan sponsor. If the plan has never received a prior determination letter, send signed and dated copies of all prior plan documents. For adopters of pre-approved plans using adoption agreements, include only the agreements and applicable opinion/approval letters. See the EP Determinations Quality Assurance Bulletin (Sept. 8, 2006) for additional guidance. Also, include the plan’s current Form 8905, Certification of Intent to Adopt a Pre-approved Plan, if applicable.
Include a copy of the plan, adoption agreement and all amendments since the last determination letter. Include interim and discretionary amendments unless you adopted a pre-approved plan which has a current opinion/advisory letter. Ensure that the copies you submit include execution dates and signatures.
- The plan document must be restated for all current guidance on the applicable Cumulative List associated with the filing. You can use the Alert Guidelines to help you verify that your plan is updated.
- Provide a detailed list that identifies the plan language and sections that have been modified by amendment(s);
- Submit all required interim amendments, including evidence of adoption and/or execution of the amendments.
- If you adopted a volume submitter plan, please send the most recently approved version of the volume submitter document. If it uses an adoption agreement, also include a copy of the associated plan.
Pre-approved plan adopters
If you adopted a pre-approved plan, include the appropriate approval letter for the plan documents and write the letter number from the prior approval letter on the plan document.
- Include the plan’s current Form 8905, Certification of Intent to Adopt a Pre-approved Plan, if applicable.
- If you adopted a volume submitter document that uses an adoption agreement, please include a copy of the associated plan. Also, include the most recently approved version of the volume submitter document.
- Volume submitter modifications - Include either a list of modifications (items added, deleted or modified) to the volume submitter specimen plan identifying the plan sections affected, or a certification that the plan submitted is word-for-word identical to the specimen plan.
- Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative for volume submitters - identify the volume submitter practitioner in Part I, line 2 (Representative) and include the practitioner’s signature in Part II (Declaration of Representative). See instructions.
Other supplemental documents
Include all other pertinent documents, such as merger agreements, compliance statements or collective bargaining agreements referenced in the plan document. Identify and explain changes to plan sponsorship, plan name, employer identification number (EIN), and any other plan changes that have occurred since the prior favorable determination letter was issued, if applicable.
Attachments relating to application questions
Some questions on the application require supplemental explanatory information, such as a controlled group statement for employers maintaining plans on behalf of a controlled group of affiliated employers. Please include all required supplemental material.
Notice to interested parties
If you answer "yes" to the "Notice to Interested Parties" question on the application form, you do not have to send a copy of the notice with your application.
Multiple plan information (Form 5307, line 9)
If you answered “yes,” please include a statement listing the name, type, form and number of the plan; whether each plan has received a determination letter or has a pending application; and whether there are paired plans. If applicable, indicate the serial number of the letter issued for the paired plan.
- Determination, Opinion and Advisory Letters
- Apply for a determination letter - individually designed plans