General Instructions

Purpose of Form

File Form 5310 to request a DL as to the qualified status (under section 401(a) or section 403(a)) of a pension, profit-sharing, or other deferred compensation plan upon plan termination.

Type of Plan

  • A defined contribution (DC) plan is a plan that provides an individual account for each participant and for benefits based only on:

    1. The amount contributed to the participant's account, and

    2. Any income, expenses, gains and losses, and any forfeitures of accounts of other participants that may be allocated to the participant's account.

  • A defined benefit (DB) plan is any plan that is not a DC plan.

Who May File

This form may be filed by any of the following:

  • Any plan sponsor or administrator of any pension, profit-sharing, or other deferred compensation plan (other than a multi-employer plan covered under Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation insurance) may file this form to ask the IRS to make a determination on the plan's qualification status at the time of the plan's termination.

Use Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan, instead of Form 5310 if the plan sponsor or administrator is filing for a determination but will continue to maintain the trust after termination.

Who May Not File

This form may not be filed for:

  • A multi-employer plan covered by PBGC insurance.

  • A request on a determination on the plan's qualification status for a partial termination.

  • A member of an affiliated service group (ASG). A plan sponsor who is not certain if they are a member of an ASG should not file Form 5310.


    In the above cases, use Form 5300 instead of Form 5310.

  • An application that is not filed in connection with the plan termination.


    An application is deemed to be filed in connection with plan termination if it is filed no later than the later of 1 year from the effective date of termination or 1 year from the date on which the action terminating the plan is adopted. The application cannot be filed later than 12 months from the date of distribution of substantially all plan assets in connection with the termination of the plan.

Where To File

File Form 5310 at the address indicated below:

Internal Revenue Service 
P.O. Box 12192 
Covington, KY 41012-0192

Requests shipped by express mail or a delivery service should be sent to:

Internal Revenue Service 
201 West Rivercenter Blvd. 
Attn: Extracting Stop 312 
Covington, KY 41011

Private Delivery Services.   You can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the “timely mailing as timely filing/paying” rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following:
  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service.

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First. 

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

  For the IRS mailing address to use if you are using a private delivery service, go to and enter “private delivery service” in the search box.

  The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

How To Complete the Application

The application must be completed and signed by the employer, plan administrator, or authorized representative.


Stamped signatures are not acceptable.

Incomplete applications may be returned to the applicant. It is important that an appropriate response be entered for each line item unless instructed otherwise. When completing the application, pay careful attention to the following:

  • N/A (not applicable) is accepted as a response only if an N/A block is provided.

  • If a number is requested, a number must be entered.

  • If an item provides a choice of boxes to mark, mark only one box unless instructed otherwise.

  • If an item provides a box to mark, written responses are not acceptable.

  • The IRS may require additional information.

  • The application has formatted fields that will limit the number of characters entered per field.

  • All data should be entered in Courier 10 point font to expedite processing.

  • Alpha characters should be entered in all capital letters.

  • Enter spaces between any words. Spaces do count as characters.

  • All date fields are entered as an eight digit field (MM/DD/YYYY).

  • Any attachment should refer to the form and line item.


Rev. Proc. 2013-6 publishes the guidance under which the DL program is administered. It is updated annually and can be found in the I.R.B.

What To File

All applications must contain an original signature and be accompanied by the following:


Payments for sanction fees, compliance fees, etc. should be submitted on separate checks.

  1. A completed Form 5310.

  2. A Form 8717, User Fee for Employee Plan Determination Letter Request, and if applicable a check for the appropriate user fee. Submit a separate check for each application. Make checks payable to the “United States Treasury.

  3. A copy of the plan's last DL, if applicable.

  4. A copy of the opinion or advisory letter for the pre-approved plan, and/or adoption agreement and all required attachments and statements.

  5. A copy of all amendments made since the last cumulative list listed on the last DL or plan document, if applicable.

  6. A copy of any compliance statement(s) or closing agreement(s) regarding this plan made after the last DL.

  7. A statement explaining how the amendments affect or change this plan or any other plan maintained by the employer.

  8. Copies of all records of actions taken to terminate the plan.

  9. Form 6088, Distributable Benefits from Employee Pension Benefit Plans, for all DB plans or underfunded DC plans.


    A multiple-employer plan must submit a Form 6088 for each employer who has adopted the plan.


A terminating plan generally does not have to be restated. However, the Service has the discretion to request copies of any amendments during its review of a terminating plan. A plan that terminates after the effective date of a change in law, but prior to the date that amendments are otherwise required, must be amended to comply with the applicable provisions of law from the date on which such provisions become effective with respect to the plan. The plan must be amended in connection with the plan termination to comply with those provisions of law that become effective with respect to the plan or before the date of plan termination, including any amendments made after the date of termination that were required in order to obtain a favorable DL. See also instructions to line 3f.


Do not use staples (except to attach the check to Form 8717), paper clips, binders, or sticky notes. Do not punch holes in the documents.

See Procedural Requirements Checklist of this form to ensure that your package is complete before submitting it.

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