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Changes to the EP Determination Process Begin in 2015

We’ve made changes to the determination letter program for retirement plans. The revised procedures generally apply to Form 5300 series determination letter applications received after February 1, 2015 (see Effective Dates by Form Type). These changes will improve the program’s efficiency and consistency.

These application processing procedures are described in Revenue Procedure 2015-6, section 6.13.

IRS review for procedural completeness

Your application must include all required documents and information. If you don’t supply missing information within 30 days, your application will be closed.

  1. Initial review for completeness - To be considered complete, your submission must include all information and documents required by Revenue Procedure 2015-6, including the Form 5300 series application and Procedural Requirements Checklist.
  2. Procedural Requirements Checklist is now mandatory - You must include the checklist on the last pages of your submission form. This is no longer optional.
  3. 30 days to submit missing information - If you don’t include all required information and documents with your application, we will send you a List of Missing Items. You will have 30 days to submit the required items.
  4. If you don’t respond within 30 days - If you don’t respond by sending all the required items by the deadline:
    • Your deficient application will be closed;
    • The IRS will not return any submitted documents from the application; and
    • The user fee you paid will be forfeited.

IRS review for technical deficiencies

Applications that are procedurally complete will proceed for a technical review. The reviewer may ask you for additional information or documents.

  1. Response time for additional requests – We’ll give you a time period for sending us any additional items we request.
  2. Grace period before your application is closed - If you don’t submit all the items we requested during that time period, we’ll notify you that you have an additional set period of time to submit the required items. This is your grace period before your application is closed.
  3. If you don’t respond within the provided time - If you don’t submit all of the requested items by the end of the grace period:
    • Your deficient application will be closed;
    • The IRS will not return any submitted documents from the application; and
    • The user fee you paid will be forfeited.

What if my deficient application is closed?

If your deficient application is closed and either the final response deadline or the postmark date of the submitted response occurs before the end of the plan sponsor’s remedial amendment cycle, you will be given a set period of time to submit a new on-cycle application, with a new user fee.

However, if your deficient application is closed and both the final request deadline and the postmark date of any part of your response to that final request occur after the end of the plan’s remedial amendment cycle, the remedial amendment cycle will not be extended. When the case is closed, you will receive a final disposition letter.

Effective July 21, 2015, through December 31, 2016, the IRS will no longer accept off-cycle determination letter applications (Rev. Proc. 2007-44, section 14), except for determination letter applications for:

  • new plans (Rev. Proc. 2007-44, section 14.02(2)), and
  • terminating plans.

New plan amendment reference lists

You’ll be able to check your plan’s interim amendments against our new reference lists. Use the lists to track where particular law changes from the cumulative list applicable to your plan are reflected in the plan document. Each reference list contains the items from the cumulative list that were first added that year. For example, the 2015 reference list contains items that were new on the 2015 Cumulative List.

Determination letter applications - We encourage you to include completed reference lists with your application, as this will help expedite the review process. Submission of reference lists is not mandatory.

Example: Your individually designed plan’s five-year cycle is Cycle E and your determination letter application is due February 1, 2016. Your plan will be reviewed based on the 2014 Cumulative List. You would complete the five reference lists for the five years of your remedial amendment cycle (i.e., the reference lists for the 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 Cumulative Lists).

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