Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) - Multiemployer Validation Project

Compliance contact letters were sent to approximately 700 plan sponsors who it appears may have filed Form 5500 returns with incorrectly checked boxes, or errors that may have caused them to be misclassified. For example, a return may have indicated that it was a defined benefit multiemployer plan while the plan's name was "XYZ 401(k) plan." 

As of this point, the majority of the responses fell into one of the following categories:

  • Plan is a Single Employer Defined Contribution Plan (DCP).
  • Plan is a Defined Benefit Plan (DBP) but not a multiemployer plan.
  • Plan is not a multiemployer plan. We will review all Form 5500 returns to ensure they are properly filed for all years.
  • Plan is a DB multiemployer plan subject to PPA 2006 and has failed to file a certification or has an issue with the certification that prevented the IRS from associating it with our files.

What actions do I need to take?

Please provide the information requested in the letter. You may also furnish any other documents, clarifying or supplemental materials that you believe will be helpful for us to review. You should make every effort to answer the letter as accurately as possible by the due date. If you need additional time, make sure to contact the person whose name is listed on the letter for an extension before the due date. Failure to provide the information requested could result in further action or examination of your tax return.

The majority of sponsors who were contacted to date have responded and these inquiries have been resolved, with a closing letter being issued. A follow-up letter will be sent out to the non-responders.


IRC Section 432 was added to the code by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). PPA required multiemployer defined benefit plans to submit an annual actuarial certification from the actuary no later than 90 days after the end of the plan year. The certification includes information regarding whether the plan is in Endangered status, Critical status, or Neither Endangered or Critical status. The certification also should contain a statement regarding the scheduled progress they are making in meeting the requirements of their funding improvement or rehabilitation plan.

The Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) opened the project to determine whether there is compliance with regard to these provisions. If the plan is not in compliance with the requirements of IRC Section 432, examinations, referrals to other agencies, or other corrective action may then be pursued.

If You Have Questions

Please feel free to e-mail us and we will be glad to answer questions you have about the project and how it relates to your situation.  Please include the words “Multiemployer Certification” in the Subject line. We regret that we cannot respond to technical questions unrelated to your compliance check.


Common questions and answers about the Multiemployer Defined Benefit Actuarial Zone Certification Project.

Additional resources