Pre-Approved Plan Opinion and Advisory Letters - Revised Procedures
Revenue Procedure 2011-49 supersedes prior procedures (Revenue Procedure 2005-16) on opinion and advisory letters for pre-approved (master and prototype and volume submitter) defined contribution plans. The revised revenue procedure includes an extension for mass submitter plan sponsors and practitioners to apply for an opinion or advisory letter from October 31, 2011, to January 31, 2012.
Key changes include:
- Delivery of Amendments to Adopting Employers requires M&P sponsors and VS practitioners to provide interim amendments including their date of adoption to their adopting employers.
- Multiple Employer Plans may now participate in the M&P and VS program.
- National Sponsor Category has been deleted.
- VS practitioners may now amend a plan on behalf of an adopting employer without having to obtain a favorable determination letter for the amended plan.
- VS practitioners must submit separate specimen plans and applications for different categories of plans.
- Limitations and Conditions on Reliance are clarified for the types of employer plan modifications and amendments that would allow it to remain identical to a pre-approved M&P plan.
- Transferability is clarified to describe the circumstances under which a new entity may not rely on any letters issued to another M&P sponsor or a VS practitioner.
- Ineligible Plans for opinion or advisory letters:
- Forms and attachments to be revised:
- 4461, Application for Approval of Master or Prototype or Volume Submitter Defined Contribution Plans. Applicants should complete Part I, Items 1-9 and new Attachment 1.
- 4461-A, Application for Approval of Master or Prototype or Volume Submitter Defined Benefit Plans.
- 4461-B, Application for Approval of Master or Prototype or Volume Submitter Plans Mass Submitter Adopting Sponsor or Practitioner. All defined benefit plan applicants should complete Part I and an attachment (not yet released).
Continue to use current versions of the forms until the new forms are available.
- Certification requirement -- In addition to the required user fee, an M&P applicant must include a signed certification that the applicant has made all required amendments to retain the plan’s qualified status and communicated them to all adopting employers.
New Listing of Required Modifications
The IRS also issued new Listing of Required Modifications for defined contribution plans and plans with cash or deferred arrangements (CODA) to provide sample plan language for pre-approved retirement plans. These sample provisions may also be helpful in drafting individually designed plans.
New Submission Cycle
The IRS began accepting applications for opinion or advisory letters for pre-approved defined contribution plans for their second 6-year remedial amendment cycle on February 1, 2011.