General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Form 8950 must be filed as part of a VCP submission in order to request written approval from the IRS for correction of a qualified plan, 403(b) plan, SEP, SARSEP or SIMPLE IRA that has failed to comply with the applicable requirements of the IRC. VCP is part of the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), currently set forth in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, as modified by Rev. Proc. 2015–27 and Rev. Proc. 2015–28, which are available at Errors.

A VCP submission includes Form 8950, Form 8951, Compliance Fee for Application for Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) Under the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), and all of the other required items stated in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 11, as modified by Rev. Proc. 2015–27.

Types of Retirement Plans Eligible for Corrections

VCP is open to certain tax-favored retirement plans established under sections 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408(k), or 408(p). Under limited circumstances, the IRS may also consider submissions outside of EPCRS that involve section 457(b) plans on a provisional basis. Generally, such submissions are for section 457(b) plans sponsored by a governmental entity defined in section 414(d). See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 4.09, for details and limitations.

Eligibility Requirements for the Use of VCP

VCP is open to eligible retirement plans (see Types of Retirement Plans Eligible for Corrections above) that incurred any one of the following qualification failures: (a) Plan Document Failure; (b) Operational Failure; (c) Demographic Failure; or (d) Employer Eligibility Failure. VCP is also available for plan loans that did not comply with the requirements of section 72(p)(2). See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, sections 4.01, 5.01, 5.02, 6.07 and 6.11, for additional details. VCP is also available to terminated plans regardless of whether all plan assets have been distributed.

Correction under VCP is not available if the plan or plan sponsor is under examination. The Form 8950 and the VCP submission must be mailed to the IRS prior to the time the plan or plan sponsor is under examination, as defined in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 5.09. For purposes of VCP, a plan or plan sponsor will be considered to be under examination if any of the following situations apply:

  • The plan sponsor is under any type of examination conducted by IRS Employee Plans, including examination of a Form 5500 series return;

  • The plan sponsor is under any type of examination conducted by IRS Exempt Organizations;

  • The plan sponsor or a representative has received verbal or written notification from IRS Employee Plans or Exempt Organizations of an impending examination or of any impending referral for such examination;

  • The subject plan is currently under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS; or

  • Certain other situations specified in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 5.09.

VCP is not available to correct failures relating to the diversion or misuse of plan assets. VCP may not be available if the plan sponsor has engaged in abusive tax avoidance transactions. See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, sections 4.12 and 4.13. In particular cases, the IRS may decline to make VCP available in the interest of sound tax administration. See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 4.01(5).

Who May File

Form 8950 and accompanying VCP submission may only be filed by the following parties:

  • In general, an employer or plan sponsor, including a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. Generally, estates and/or beneficiaries may not file a submission under VCP.

  • For multiple employer or multiemployer plans, the plan administrator (rather than any contributing or adopting employer). The VCP submission must be for the plan, rather than a portion of the plan affecting any particular employer.

  • For group submissions, an eligible organization as defined in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 10.11, if the applicable conditions for group submissions have been met.

  • Anonymous submissions must be filed by an authorized representative. However, the representative must be designated on a power of attorney by the employer (or in the case of a multiple employer or multiemployer plan, the plan administrator) and must be willing to submit a signed Form 2848, if identifying information is ultimately submitted to the IRS. See Anonymous Submissions below.

  • For orphan plans, an authorized eligible party. See Orphan Plans below.

Orphan Plans

For VCP, orphan plan means any tax-favored retirement plan for which an eligible party (defined below) has determined that the plan sponsor (a) no longer exists, (b) cannot be located, or (c) is unable to maintain the plan. However, a retirement plan subject to Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is not an orphan plan if it is terminated pursuant to Department of Labor (DOL) Regulations section 2578.1 governing the termination of abandoned individual account plans.

An eligible party for an orphan plan is defined as one of the following:

  • A court-appointed representative with specific authority to terminate the plan and dispose of the plan’s assets;

  • In the case of an orphan plan under investigation by the DOL, a person or entity determined by the DOL to have accepted responsibility for terminating the plan and distributing the plan's assets; or

  • In the case of a qualified plan to which Title I of ERISA has never applied, a surviving spouse who is the sole beneficiary of a plan that provided benefits to a participant who was (i) the sole owner of the business that sponsored the plan and (ii) the only participant in the plan.

The applicant must include a written letter indicating that the submission concerns an orphan plan, and must provide documentation that establishes that they are an eligible party. See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, sections 5.03 and 11.10, as modified by Rev. Proc. 2015–27.

Anonymous Submissions

Taxpayers have the option of submitting a VCP submission on an anonymous basis. Form 8950 and all applicable VCP submission documents may be submitted on a redacted basis. However, once the IRS and the applicant agree on the correction methodology that would resolve the qualification failure that is the subject of the VCP submission, the identity of the plan sponsor and the plan must be disclosed to the IRS, along with a signed Form 2848 and applicable penalty of perjury statements. See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 10.10.

An anonymous submission and Form 8950 will not be processed unless the representative includes a signed statement indicating that the representative has been authorized by the plan sponsor, is able to legally represent the plan sponsor, and is willing to submit a signed Form 2848 if identifying information is ultimately submitted to the IRS. See Rev. Proc. 2013-12, sections 10.10, 11.07, and 11.08. Attach the following signed statement to Form 8950: 
Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I am an authorized representative of the plan sponsor who complies with the power of attorney requirements described in Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 11.07. I will submit an executed Form 2848 upon the disclosure of the identity of the plan sponsor to the IRS.

This must be a signed and dated statement that includes the representative’s title and printed name.

Group Submissions

For failures affecting a large number of individual plans, an eligible organization may make a group submission. The failures in the submission must result from a systemic error involving the eligible organization that affects at least 20 plans and that results in at least 20 plans implementing correction.

An eligible organization is defined as follows:

  • A sponsor (as defined in Rev. Proc. 2005-16, 2005-10 I.R.B. 674, section 4.07, Rev. Proc. 2011-49, 2011-44 I.R.B. 608, section 4.07, or Rev. Proc. 2015-36, 2015-27 I.R.B. 20, section 4.07) of a master and prototype plan;

  • A volume submitter practitioner (as defined in Rev. Proc. 2005-16, section 13.04, Rev. Proc. 2011-49, section 13.05, or Rev. Proc. 2015-36, section 13.05);

  • An insurance company or other entity that has issued annuity contracts or provides services relating to assets for 403(b) plans; or

  • An entity that provides its clients with administrative services relating to qualified plans, 403(b) plans, SEPs, SARSEPs, or SIMPLE IRAs.

For special rules and procedures that are applicable to group submissions, see Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 10.11.

Where to File

Send Form 8950, Form 8951 and the related VCP submission to:  

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

VCP submissions 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

How to Complete the Application

Form 8950, and any related determination letter application are screened to ensure completeness. An incomplete application may be returned to the applicant. It is important that an appropriate response be entered for each line (unless instructed otherwise). In completing Form 8950, 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, enter the appropriate number;

  • If a line provides a choice of boxes to check, check only one box unless instructed otherwise; and

  • If a line provides a box to check, written responses and attachments are not acceptable unless instructed otherwise.

What to File

Form 8950 must be accompanied by the following items:

  • The applicable compliance fee and Form 8951. Submit a separate check and Form 8951 for each Form 8950. Make checks payable to “United States Treasury.” In addition, include a photocopy of your check with your VCP submission;

  • All descriptions, information, documents, sample computations (if applicable), attachments, and representations required by Rev. Proc. 2013-12, section 11, as modified by Rev. Proc. 2015–27. In order to assist VCP applicants, the IRS encourages the use of Form 14568, Model VCP Submission Compliance Statement, including its supporting schedules reflected on Forms 14568-A through 14568-I. The Form 14568 series and IRS Letter 5265 (Acknowledgement Letter) are available in electronic format at Attachments and written explanations that are included with the submission should include the full name of the plan, employer identification number (EIN), and plan number. For assistance in determining what documents and attachments are needed in order to have a complete VCP submission, refer to the Procedural Requirements Checklist at the end of Form 8950.

Who Must Sign

Form 8950 must be signed by:

  • The employer (including a sole proprietor or partnership) maintaining a single-employer plan;

  • The plan administrator of a multiple employer plan or a multiemployer plan;

  • The eligible organization filing a group submission; or

  • The eligible person who is filing a VCP submission on behalf of an orphan plan.

An original signature is required.

An anonymous submission should not be signed. Instead, the authorized representative should attach a signed perjury statement. See Anonymous Submissions, above.

Note: Form 8950 may not be signed by an authorized representative designated on Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative.

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