Apply for a Determination Letter - Quality Assurance Review


The role of the Quality Assurance Staff (QAS) is to measure the quality of work done on Employee Plans determination cases. They perform a quality assurance review to ensure that consistency and quality are maintained in the determination letter application review and development process. The QAS consists of a manager and a centralized determination letter application review team.

General review process

After all necessary additional information is secured by a technical screener or specialist, a determination letter is prepared and the case is submitted to the group manager. However, a case may be returned to the specialist if further development is warranted. If no further development is needed, the group manager then approves the case for closing.

QAS review

All cases approved by a group manager for closing are subject to a random sampling or mandatory quality assurance review by QAS before the determination letter is issued.

Once a case is received by the QAS, an assignment letter is issued to the plan sponsor (and a copy is sent to the person with Power of Attorney) providing the reviewer's name and phone number.

If the QAS discovers additional issues after reviewing the case, they may return the case to the specialist to resolve the issues before issuing a determination letter. This may delay the case closing process. Otherwise once the QAS’ review of the plan is complete, and all issues have been addressed and resolved, they will issue a determination letter for the plan.

Mandatory review

The following cases are subject to a mandatory quality assurance review:

  • Foreign plans
  • Proposed adverse determination letters
  • Termination cases with reversions of more than $5,000,000
  • Termination cases with over 1,000 participants
  • Technical advice requests
  • Cases in which interested party comments are received

Appeals and withdrawal

If certain requirements are not satisfied, the IRS may propose an adverse or unfavorable determination letter. If an adverse or unfavorable determination letter is proposed, the submitter's options are:

  1. Appeals - The appeals process is available when the IRS and the taxpayer cannot resolve issues and the IRS proposes an adverse determination letter. See:

  2. Technical Advice - A technical advice request is a request for guidance about a procedural or technical issue. The Office of Associate Chief Counsel, Tax Exempt and Government Entities, provides a response in the form of a memorandum to the individual taxpayer. Technical advice requests help IRS personnel resolve complex issues and help establish and maintain consistent holdings throughout the IRS.

    Generally, the IRS will determine when a taxpayer should request technical advice, but the taxpayer may also request that an issue be forwarded for technical advice. A request for technical advice is encouraged on any technical or procedural questions that cannot be resolved on the basis of law, regulations, or a clearly applicable revenue ruling or other published precedent.

    Some determination letter requests involve issues that are subject to mandatory technical advice. These issues are listed in the annual revenue procedure covering technical advice:
  1. Withdrawal - The applicant's request for a determination letter may be withdrawn by a written request at any time prior to the issuance of a final adverse letter. Withdrawal of the application will not result in an adverse letter. However, user fees are non-refundable. Also, an information referral may be made to EP Examinations to consider an audit of the plan.

Additional resources: