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Apply for a Determination Letter - Individually Designed Plans

An individually designed plan is a retirement plan that has not been pre-approved by the IRS, and is drafted to meet the specific needs of a single employer or multi-employer group.

When to apply

You may submit an application if your individually designed plan is:

  • A plan seeking an initial determination letter
  • A terminating plan
  • A Cycle E plan submitted prior to February 1, 2016
  • A Cycle A plan submitted between February 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017
  • A plan for which an application is required by the IRS (as part of your VCP submission, for example)
  • A plan that meets certain circumstances to be announced in IRS guidance

The IRS intends to eliminate the five-year remedial amendment cycles starting in 2017. See Announcement 2015-19.

Effective July 21, 2015, we are no longer accepting off-cycle determination letter applications for amended individually designed plans.

How to apply - procedures and forms

These procedures generally apply to Form 5300 series determination letter applications submitted on or after February 1, 2015, starting with Cycle E2. See Effective Dates by Form Type.

1.  Amend your plan for all applicable changes on your cycle’s Cumulative List

2.  Fill out and submit the appropriate forms and documents with your application package. Review Revenue Procedure 2016-6 for details.

  • Form 8717- User Fee for Employee Plan Determination, Opinion, and Advisory Letter Request, or, if you paid through, a copy of your payment confirmation

  • Application form. One of the following forms, including its Procedural Requirements Checklist:
    • Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan
    • Form 5310, Application for Determination for Terminating Plan
    • Form 5307, Application for Determination for Adopters of Modified Volume Submitter Plans

Save time with fax: Include an employer fax number on line 1(h) so we can fax requests for additional information needed to process your application. This reduces mailing delays and the possible closure of your submission as incomplete and forfeiture of your user fee.

  • Power of Attorney form. One of the following forms, if you have a representative:
    • Form 2848 - Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
    • Form 8821 - Tax Information Authorization

Check the right boxes: To authorize your representatives to receive notices and communications on your behalf, you must check the box on line 2 of Form 2848 and/or box 5(a) on Form 8821 for each authorized representative. If you fail to check this box, the IRS is not authorized to contact your representative about your submission.

Save time with fax: Include the representative’s fax number on line 2 of Form 2848 or 8821 so we can fax information requests to your representative. This reduces mailing delays and the possible closure of your submission as incomplete and forfeiture of your user fee.

  • Plan document. A copy of your plan document, updated for the current cumulative list, and trust document. If the plan is terminating, the plan document should be updated for any changes in the law effective as of the date of termination.

  • Amendments. Copies of interim and discretionary amendments adopted or effective in the current RAC, plus other supporting documents.

  • Reference lists. Complete and submit reference lists for each of the five years of your plan’s RAC. The reference lists are optional tools to assist you in updating your plan.

  • Prior letter or prior plan. If the plan has previously received a favorable determination letter from the IRS, include a copy of the letter.

If the plan has not previously received a favorable determination letter, submit prior plan documents, adoption agreements and amendments to show compliance with the prior RAC. For additional guidance, see Internal Revenue Manual (09-23-2014), Determining the Scope/Verifying Plan Law.

3.  Pay the appropriate user fee. If you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for a user fee exemption.

4.  Mail your application to the appropriate address

Where to mail your application

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EP/EO Determination Letters
Stop 31
P.O. Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012–0192.

For express mail or a delivery service:

Internal Revenue Service
Attention: EP/EO Determination Letters
Stop 31
201 West Rivercenter Blvd.
Attn: Extracting Stop 31
Covington, KY 41011.

Determination letter review process

Additional resources

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 06-Oct-2016