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Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) - 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire Project

Welcome to the 401(k) Compliance Check Questionnaire Project Page! Here you can find everything you need to know about the project and to complete the Questionnaire.


401(k) plans represent the largest retirement plan market segment and have a significant impact on the health of the private retirement system in America. These plans have far surpassed defined benefit pension plans as the preferred retirement vehicle for the majority of employers. Employee Plans Examinations, previously conducted a baseline study of 79 market segments, and the findings indicated that 401(k) plans are by far the most non-compliant plan type in the retirement plan universe. Since these plans make up over 60% of the retirement plan universe, it is important to the future of the private retirement system that these plans maintain the highest level of compliance possible.


The project process

A team from all different areas of Employee Plans worked to develop this comprehensive questionnaire. We contacted a random sample of 1,200 401(k) plan sponsors that filed a Form 5500 for the 2007 plan year. Plan sponsors who received a letter completed the Questionnaire by accessing an easy-to-use website. The Questionnaire categories are:

  • Demographics
  • 401(k) plan participation
  • Employer and employee contributions
  • Top heavy and nondiscrimination rules
  • Distributions and plan loans
  • Other plan operations
  • Automatic contribution arrangements
  • Designated Roth features
  • IRS voluntary compliance programs
  • Plan administration

The information gathered from the Questionnaire will ultimately result in a report published by the IRS describing the responses and identifying those areas where additional education, guidance, and outreach is needed; and how we can focus our enforcement efforts to address and/or avoid non-compliance related to these plans.

This contact is a compliance check. A compliance check is not an audit or investigation under section 7605(b) of the Internal Revenue Code or an audit under section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978, however, failure to complete the Questionnaire will result in further enforcement action. If you have any questions regarding your specific compliance check questionnaire, please contact the Internal Revenue Service promptly at the phone number provided on the letter.

If you have questions

Please feel free to e-mail us and we will be glad to answer any questions you have about the project. Please include "401(k) Plan Questionnaire" in the Subject line.


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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 07-Nov-2013