Determination Letters for Individually Designed Retirement Plans FAQs


Generally, an individually designed plan is a retirement plan drafted to be used by only one employer. An IRS determination letter expresses an opinion on the qualified status of the plan document. For more information on the benefits of a favorable determination letter and how to apply, see:

These frequently asked questions and answers provide general information and should not be cited as legal authority. 

What form should I file to request a determination letter?


See Apply for a Determination Letter - Individually Designed Plans for specific procedures and other items you must submit.

What are the user fees for determination letters?

User fees for retirement plan determination letters are updated annually. See the user fee Web page for a link to the current amounts.

Is a restated document required when submitting an individually designed plan for review?

Yes, a restated document is generally required for an individually designed plan’s determination letter submission.  For Form 5300 applications submitted after December 31, 2017, the plan should be restated to comply with the applicable Required Amendments List and it should incorporate all previously adopted amendments. A terminating plan submitted for review (with Form 5310) does not need to be restated. See Apply for a Determination Letter for details.

Must I submit a redlined copy of the plan document highlighting changes?

No, you’re not required to submit a redlined document for an individually designed plan.

Where do I file my application or request for a letter?

Applications for individual determination letters should be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EP Determination Letters
7940 Kentucky Drive
TE/GE Stop MS 31A Team 105
Florence, KY 41042

How can I prevent delays in the processing of my application?

To ensure a complete submission, please use the procedural requirements checklist on the last page of Forms 5300, 5307 and 5310. Also, see Tips to avoid processing delays with your determination letter application.

How do I get assistance?

What happens to my application once it is received?

Your determination letter application will go through several layers of review.

Must I keep copies of determination letter applications and related information that were submitted to IRS?

Yes, it's very important to retain copies of the information you submitted to the IRS, including:

  • Applications
  • Forms
  • Cover letters
  • Other correspondence
  • Other information and plan data

You must keep this documentation to preserve reliance on your determination letter.

See Publication 794, Favorable Determination LetterPDF, for a detailed discussion of the significance of a favorable determination letter.

How can I get a copy of my prior determination letter?

For instructions on how to obtain a copy of a prior letter, see Determination Letters – Need a Copy or Correction?

How can I request a corrected letter? 

See Determination Letters – Need a Copy or Correction?

What form do I file to notify the IRS of a plan merger, consolidation, spin-off, transfer of assets or QSLOB?

You must file Form 5310-A, Notice of Plan Merger or Consolidation, Spin-off, or Transfer of Plan Assets or Liabilities; Notice of Qualified Separate Lines of BusinessPDF, not later than 30 days before merger, consolidation or transfer of assets and liabilities. See the form instructions to Form 5310-APDF for a detailed description of these terms (for example, spin-off and merger).

Send your completed Form 5310-A to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EP Determination Letters
7940 Kentucky Drive
TE/GE Stop MS 31A Team 105
Florence, KY 41042

Note: A determination letter will not be issued for this type of form.

When two or more plans are merged, how many Form 5300 applications are necessary?

Only one Form 5300 application needs to be submitted for the surviving plan.

At the time of merger, what should be the qualification status of the merging plans?

Merging plans must have been timely amended for all applicable laws prior to the date of the merger.

What plan documents of the merging plans, if any, should be included in the application for the surviving plan?

For each plan merged out of existence, include a copy of the prior determination letter for all the plans, if available. If a prior determination letter is not available, an explanation must be included with the application, and the applicant must include a copy of the prior plan document (and adoption agreement with the opinion or advisory letter for the plan, if applicable)), the opinion or advisory letter for the plan, if applicable, and all amendments necessary to verify that each plan was amended timely through the date of the merger. Additionally, for each plan involved in a merger the applicant must provide all signed and dated plan amendments (including interim amendments, if applicable) adopted or effective subsequent to the most recent determination letter issued with respect to the plan the latest determination letter received by the plan sponsor with, if necessary, copies of the applicable signed and dated interim amendments, plus a signed and dated copy of the latest plan document. Submission of these documents will expedite the determination process.

Will a determination letter include a reference to amendments for merger plans that are included in a determination letter application?

All merger-related amendments must be included with the determination letter application, but the IRS determination letter will not address or rule on the merger.