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Employee Plans News

Issue No. 2015-13, November 23, 2015

IRS Hearing Notice: Administration of Multiemployer Plan Participant Vote on an Approved Suspension of Benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) - notice of public hearing on proposed regulations for the administration of a multiemployer plan participant vote on an approved suspension of benefits under the MPRA. The public hearing is Friday, December 18, 2015, at 10 a.m; you must send outlines of discussion topics for the public hearing by Monday, November 30, 2015

Most retirees need to take required retirement plan distributions by Dec. 31 - reminder for taxpayers born before July 1, 1945: you generally must receive payments from your IRAs and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31

Register for December 8, 2015, 2 p.m. (Eastern) free webcast about the latest activities in Employee Plans Examinations

Form 2848 Instructions - To reduce undeliverable mail and allow us to reach you sooner, remember to include your firm’s name, floor, suite or room number in your address

Issue No. 2015-12, November 9, 2015

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Program Changes – Registration for the final ERPA Special Enrollment Examination (ERPA SEE) to become an ERPA is open now and closes on January 4, 2016.

Issue No. 2015-11, November 3, 2015

IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations - 401(k) contribution limit remains unchanged at $18,000 for 2016

Electronic filing for Form 8955-SSA – when can you seek a hardship waiver?

IRS webinars and video

  • Easy low-cost ways to start your small business retirement plan - Webinar - Learn about low-cost retirement plans; low-maintenance alternatives to traditional 401(k)s; points to consider in choosing a plan for your business; and resources for setting up and operating your plan, and avoiding plan mistakes (60 mins.)

  • Employee Plans Programs - Summer 2015 Updates - Webinar - Learn about processing changes for determination letters; new pre-approved plans (ESOPs and cash balance); Form 5500 Permanent Late Filer program; and other updates (60 mins.)

  • SEP and SIMPLE IRA Plans – Avoiding Pitfalls - Learn how to properly adopt and operate SEP and SIMPLE IRA plans; use the right compensation to calculate contributions; determine when employees participate in the plan; handle employees of related employers; and take steps to avoid errors. You can use the Audit button to watch for free (Nationwide Tax Forum, 50 mins.)

Issue No. 2015-10, September 30, 2015


Correct plan mistakes

IRAs and IRA-based plans

  • Beginning date for your first required minimum distribution from your IRA (including SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) is April 1 after the calendar year you turn 70½
  • Video on retirement plans discusses low-cost, low-maintenance IRA based plans

Defined benefit plans:

April 30, 2016, is the deadline for employers using pre-approved retirement plan documents to sign an updated version of their 401(k), profit-sharing or other defined contribution retirement plans

New look for Retirement Plans page - we’ve added categories that help you find what you're looking for

Issue No. 2015-9, July 31, 2015

The IRS and Treasury intend to amend the minimum distribution regulations for defined benefit plans to generally prohibit the replacement of ongoing annuity payments with a lump sum payment or any other form of accelerated payment.

Employee Plans email questions - Beginning October 1, Employee Plans will no longer accept technical questions through email or from Customer Account Services.

Changes to the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program - Starting in 2017, the IRS will eliminate the staggered remedial amendment cycles and limit the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans.

Issue No. 2015-8, July 27, 2015

Small businesses can get IRS penalty relief for unfiled retirement plan returns - take advantage of a low-cost penalty relief program to quickly come back into compliance

Welcome to Direct Pay! Use this secure service to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment from your checking or savings account

Defending Public Safety Employees' Retirement Act (P.L.114-26) broadens the definition of “qualified public safety employee” for employees exempt from the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from retirement plans, and adds federal defined contribution plans to this exemption

Trade Preferences Extension Act (P.L.114-27, Title VIII, Section 806) increases penalties for not filing information returns and payee statements on time, including Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.)

Issue No. 2015-7, June 23, 2015

Worksheets and explanations for the second Cycle E plan language

New VCP Submission Kit for correcting contribution failures for money purchase pension and target benefit plans

Determination letter review process for the second Cycle E and beyond

Penalty relief program for Form 5500-EZ late filers

Fix-It Guides updated

Suspension of benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014

Issue No. 2015-6, June 10, 2015

Issue No. 2015-5, May 6, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Changes to EP determination letter application processing – effective date depends on whether you file Form 5300, 5307 or 5310

New revenue procedures update the Correction Program

Form 5500-EZ late filer penalty relief – remember to file by June 2

Sponsoring a 403(b) plan – make sure you have your 501(c)(3) status or meet another eligibility requirement

Updated FAQs: multiple employer plans

Notice 2015-7 – the IRS and Treasury Department anticipate issuing proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 414(d) to define the term “governmental plan.” This notice describes the guidance under consideration, which would provide that employees of a public charter school may participate in a State or local retirement system if certain conditions are satisfied, and requests comments by May 11, 2015.

Issue No. 2015-4, April 1, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Plan sponsors
Keep documentation for hardship distributions and plan loans
Retirement plan distributions to foreign persons require withholding
Follow up on the plan corrections you agreed to in your VCP compliance statements  
DOL Corner – news from Department of Labor

Plan document help
Apply for a determination letter for your individually designed plan
Tips to expedite the determination letter process
FAQs on reference lists of changes in qualification requirements (new)
Updated 403(b) Listing of Required Modifications sample plan provisions help plan sponsors draft their plans

Tax Time Guide: still time to contribute to an IRA for 2014
IRA limits for contributions and deductions
April 1 deadline to take required retirement plan distributions for many retirees who turned 70 ½ in 2014

SEP Plan Fix-It Guide
Publication 3998, Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Publication 4284, SIMPLE IRA Plan Checksheet
Publication 4285, SEP Plan Checksheet
Publication 4286, SARSEP Checklist
Publication 4334, SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Businesses
Publication 4484, Choose a Retirement Plan for Employees of Tax Exempt and Government Entities
Publication 4587, Payroll Deduction IRAs   
Publication 4806, Profit Sharing Plans for Small Business

Issue 2015-3, March 25, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Defined benefit plans

Expanded annual actuarial certifications for multiemployer plans due March 31 for calendar year plans

Automatic approval for change in method due to takeovers of single-employer defined benefit plans

Issue 2015-2, February 27, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Correction options for 457(b) plans – EP Voluntary Compliance is not available for form errors

March webinars:

  • Highlights of the Second Cycle E Determination Letter Application Process – March 5, 2015, at 2 p.m. Eastern
  • Retirement Plan Loans to Participants – March 26, 2015, at 2 p.m. Eastern

my Social Security account – with it, your clients can get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S online


PBGC Insights

Publication 4484, Choose a Retirement Plan for Employees of Tax Exempt and Government Entities

Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefit (Instructions)

Issue 2015-1, February 2, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Reference lists of changes in plan qualification requirements - tools to help you keep your plan document up-to-date

Send your applications for 403(b) pre-approved plans to Cincinnati

Penalties may be waived for delinquent Forms 5500EZ and some Form 5500-series

EPCU projects

Forms and Pubs

Form 8606 - use to report: nondeductible contributions you made to traditional IRAs; nondeductible contributions to traditional IRAs; IRA distributions; and IRA conversions



  • Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. (Instructions)

Recent internal directives

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The Employee Plans News is a periodic IRS newsletter with retirement plan information for retirement plan practitioners.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 23-Nov-2015