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Employee Plans News

Issue 2017-4, April 18, 2017

Date to adopt a pre-approved defined contribution plan extended to May 1, 2017.

IRS asking for your comments on Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plans, by June 6, 2017.

Memo directs EP staff to review cash balance defined benefit plans’ benefit formulas using the Definitely Determinable Benefits Issue Snapshot (TE/GE-04-0417-0014).

Issue Snapshots and Memo

Now available

  • Form 8955-SSA (2016), Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits
  • Form 5500-EZ (2016), Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan

Issue 2017-3, March 21, 2017

Use guidelines to substantiate 403(b) plan safe-harbor hardship distributions (TE/GE-04-0317-0010)

Avoid overpaying user fees for your Voluntary Correction Program submission

Register for EP and EO sessions at the 2017 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums

Follow SIMPLE IRA withdrawal and transfer rules

Be aware of dangerous W-2 Phishing Scam Evolving; Targeting Schools, Restaurants, Hospitals, Tribal Groups and Others (IR-2017-20)

Read Publication 721 (2016), Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits to prepare 2016 tax returns

Contribute to an IRA for 2016; you have until April 18, 2017 (IR-2017-60)


Issue 2017-2, March 2, 2017

The Operational Compliance List identifies changes in plan qualification requirements effective in a calendar year to help sponsors and practitioners keep plans compliant

403(b) plan sponsors may self-correct violations of the IRC Section 403(b) written plan rules by March 31, 2020

Revenue Ruling 2017-05 contains the covered compensation tables for the 2017 plan year

401(k) plans:

IRA/retirement plan YouTube videos:

Updated:


Issue 2017-1, February 6, 2017

Determination Letter Program

403(b) Plans

Proposed Regulations

Saver’s Credit helps low-and-moderate-income workers save for retirement (IR-2016-171)

Updated Forms and Publications


Issue 2016-13, December 16, 2016

FIRE Production System, used to electronically file certain forms. including Form 8955-SSA, will be down until January 16, 2017, for yearly updates

Additional instructions for Forms 8950 and 14568-B for Voluntary Compliance Program submissions beginning January 1, 2017

Procedures for Puerto Rico plan sponsors to make an ERISA Section 1022(i)(2) Election to qualify under the Internal Revenue Code

IRS Tax Calendar for Businesses and Self-Employed recorded webinar to learn how to track federal tax due dates, customize the online tax calendar, get reminders and more

Notice 2016-67, Applicability of IRC Section 411(b)(5)(B)(i) to Implicit Interest Pension Equity Plans

Updated Publications

Taxpayer Security Reminders


Issue 2016-12, November 4, 2016

IRS announces 2017 pension plan limitations
Read the 2017 limits on contributing to employer-sponsored retirement plans and IRAs

New SIMPLE IRA Plan Listing of Required Modifications and Information Package [9-2016]
Sample plan language that satisfies specific Code requirements, as amended by the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (Pub. L. 114-113)

Presentation recordings now available for:

Retirement plans can make loans, hardship distributions to victims of Hurricane Matthew (IR-2016-138)

EP determination applications for Pension Equity Plans (IRS Field Directive) – explains how to apply IRC Section 411(b)(1)(G) accrued benefit rules

Issue Snapshots on retirement plan topics
Excess deferrals, change in vesting schedule, hardship distributions and safe harbor notice requirements are just a few on this list

Updated Fix-It Guides – help you find, fix, and avoid common mistakes in your:


Issue 2016-11, October 12, 2016

Updated procedures for correcting plan errors – highlights of the new Revenue Procedure for the Employee Plans Compliance Reso

Extension of temporary nondiscrimination relief for closed defined benefit plans through 2017 under certain conditions (Notice 2016-57)

Deadline extended to Dec. 5 to submit comments on Form 5500 Modernization Proposals

IRS Compliance Questions on the 2015 and 2016 Form 5500-Series Returns – list of questions plan sponsors don’t need to answer for the 2015 and 2016 plan years

Updated IRS Checklists for retirement plan documents – used by IRS employees to review plans that apply for determination letter during the third Cycle A, due January 31, 2017

Employee Plans Compliance Unit (EPCU) projects:

  • SIMPLE IRA Plans - Eligible Sponsors asked for information from sponsors who appeared to have more than 100 employees earning $5,000 or more.
  • Partial Termination in plans that have a 20% or more decrease in participation and must fully vest affected employees.
  • Ineligible Employer – 403(b) Project - designed  to educate IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations whose tax-exempt status had been automatically revoked per IRC Section 6033(j) to ensure an employer eligibility failure had not occurred in the sponsoring of an IRC Section 403(b) plan

Issue 2016-10, September 20, 2016

Submit comments on or before Dec. 15 on how plan sponsors can more easily comply with qualified plan documents requirements, especially in light of the changes to the determination letter program (Announcement 2016-32)

Voluntary Correction Program

  • Check out the Voluntary Correction Program to fix your plan
  • Use VCP submission kit if you didn’t adopt an updated pre-approved defined contribution plan for the Pension Protection Act of 2006 by April 30, 2016
  • Correct by plan amendment under VCP if you made hardship distributions but your plan didn’t allow them
  • Fix plan compensation errors when you didn’t follow your plan definition of compensation

Hardship Distributions

  • Understand the rules for hardship distributions
  • Correct these common hardship distribution errors
  • Permit loans, hardship distributions to Louisiana flood victims (News Release IR-2016-115)

Issue 2016-9, August 26, 2016

New 60-day waiver helps IRA, retirement plan rollovers

  • News release (IR-2016-113) - new procedure helps people making IRA and retirement plan rollovers
  • Accepting late rollover contributions - plans and IRAs can now accept late rollover contributions from individuals who self-certify they qualify for a 60-day rollover waiver
  • FAQs - waivers of the 60-day rollover requirement (updated for Rev. Proc. 2016-47)

Understanding the Universal Availability Rules in a 403(b) Retirement Plan - Webinar (May 19, 2016) - recording now posted

Updated

  • Simplified Employee Pension Plan Fix-it-Guide - tips on how to find, fix, and avoid common mistakes

  • User Fee Forms (revised 9-2016) - Specific user fee amounts no longer listed on either Form 8717 or 8717-A, now entered on line 5

    • Form 8717, User Fee for Employee Plan Determination Letter Request
    • Form 8717-A, User Fee for Employee Plan Opinion or Advisory Letter Request

Issue 2016-8, July 29, 2016

Clarifications to Instructions for Forms 5500 and 5500-SF – explains how to respond to Lines 4l of Schedules H and I for Form5500, and line 10f of Form 5500-SF.

Complete discontinuance of contributions can occur unless they are “recurring and substantial” for a profit sharing/401(k) plan

Correct plan required minimum distribution mistakes using the Voluntary Correction Program

IRS Compliance Statement – what you have to do after you get your statement

Plan amendments are required for termination – review the newly posted 2015 Termination Focus Report


Issue No. 2016-7, July 13, 2016

New revenue procedure discusses when plan sponsors must amend an individually designed plan for new law and may request a determination letter

After-tax amounts of designated Roth account distributions are allocated first to direct rollovers rather than pro rata to distributions to multiple destinations (Treas. Regs. 1.402A-1)

Deferred compensation plans of state, local government and other tax-exempt organizations – proposed rules for determining when amounts deferred are included in income (REG-147197-07)

Defined benefit plan determination letter applications – include new information in the cover letter

Draft Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan - simplifies information plan sponsors must provide


Issue No. 2016-6, May 18, 2016

Register for upcoming free webcasts:

Learn about retirement plans:

  • 2016 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums - Employee Plans and Exempt Organizations will participate in forums being held in five cities starting in July
  • Read EP Issue Snapshots - research summaries about various retirement plan topics, including the 403(b) written plan requirement, automatic contributions in church plans and expanded rollover options for SIMPLE IRA plans

Correct plan failures:

Learn recent guidance:

Disaster relief for retirement plan and IRAs – determine when certain retirement plan and IRA deadlines may be extended for affected taxpayers


Issue No. 2016-5, April 4, 2016

April 30, 2016 deadline for employers using a pre-approved 401(k), profit-sharing or other defined contribution retirement plans to sign an updated version

Correcting missed plan deadlines - new option for financial institutions or service providers who offer pre-approved plans to request a closing agreement for their plan sponsors who miss the April 30, 2016, adoption deadline

2016-2017 Priority Guidance Plan - submit recommendations by May 16, 2016, to possibly include in the Plan (Notice 2016-26)

Plan designs using short service - ensure plan contributions or benefits don’t discriminate in favor of highly compensated employees

2015 Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan (instructions)

457(b) plans:

Recorded webinars:

IRS Tax Tips:


Issue No. 2016-4, March 23, 2016

Financial advisors: are assets in your client’s one-participant plans more than $250,000?

Multiemployer Annual Actuarial Certifications: don’t resend to confirm submission

Normal retirement age in multiemployer plans – interim guidance for how a plan with a normal retirement age that’s earlier than age 62, but not earlier than age 55, may satisfy the facts and circumstances test


Issue No. 2016-3, February 29, 2016

2015 Form 5500 - new IRS compliance questions don’t need to be completed.

Mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) plans and notices – new guidance helps plan sponsors comply with the safe harbor plan and notice rules (Notice 2016-6)

2015 Reference List – helps you update your plan for new items on the 2015 Cumulative List of Changes in Plan Qualification Requirements

Publication 721 (01/2016), Tax Guide to U.S. Civil Service Retirement Benefits


Issue No. 2016-2, February 3, 2016

Determinations

Revisions to the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program:
(Notice 2016-3) will update Revenue Procedure 2007-44 and:

  • allow controlled groups and affiliated service groups that previously made a Cycle A election to submit determination letter applications during the third Cycle A submission period
    (February 1, 2016 - January 31, 2017);
  • revoke any expiration dates on determination letters issued prior to January 4, 2016; and
  • extend the period from April 30, 2016, to April 30, 2017, during which certain employers may establish or adopt a defined contribution pre-approved plan on or after January 1, 2016, and may, if eligible, apply for a determination letter.

New Guidance

Treatment of same-sex marriages – additional guidance for retirement plans (Notice 2015-86)

Deadline for adoption of discretionary plan amendments – interim guidance for EP Determinations and Examinations employees (TEGE-07-1215-0026)

Updated Forms and Publications

2015 Form 5500-EZ, Annual Return of One-Participant (Owners and Their Spouses) Retirement Plan (instructions)

Publication 560 (01/2016), Retirement Plans for Small Business (SEP, SIMPLE, and Qualified Plans)

Publication 590-A (01/2016), Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

2016 Form 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, Etc.

2016 Form 5498, IRA Contribution Information

2016 instructions for Forms 5498 and 1099-R, Distributions from Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, Etc., and IRA Contribution Information

Corrected mailing address for Form 5308, Request for Change in Plan/Trust Year (Under section 412(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code):

Internal Revenue Service
Attn:  EP Letter Rulings
Stop 31
P.O. Box 12192
Covington, KY 41012-0192

Disaster relief for retirement plan and IRAs – determine when certain retirement plan and IRA deadlines may be extended for affected taxpayers


Issue No. 2016-1, January 8, 2016

IRS FIRE System (electronic filing for Form 8955-SSA and other information returns) is down for scheduled maintenance until Jan. 19

New Guidance:

Updated Forms:

Updated Publications:

  • Publication 571 (01/2016), Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans (403(b) Plans) For Employees of Public Schools and Certain Tax-Exempt Organizations
  • Publication 575 (01/2016), Pension and Annuity Income
  • Publication 590-B (01/2016), Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

Issue No. 2015-14, December 21, 2015

2015 Cumulative List explains the changes in plan qualification requirements for retirement plans (Notice 2015-84)

Year-end IRA reminders

IRS compliance questions on the 2015 Form 5500-series returns

Form 5500 automatic extension to file has been changed back to 2½ months for 2016 and later calendar year plan filings. Section 32104 of the FAST Act (P.L. 114-94, HR 22 Dec. 4, 2015) has repealed the earlier automatic extension of 3 ½ months for filing Form 5500. Therefore, plans will only have a 2 ½ month automatic extension to file Form 5500 for 2016 and later calendar plan year filings.


Issue No. 2015-13, November 23, 2015

IRS Hearing Notice: Administration of Multiemployer Plan Participant Vote on an Approved Suspension of Benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 (MPRA) - notice of public hearing on proposed regulations for the administration of a multiemployer plan participant vote on an approved suspension of benefits under the MPRA. The public hearing is Friday, December 18, 2015, at 10 a.m; you must send outlines of discussion topics for the public hearing by Monday, November 30, 2015

Most retirees need to take required retirement plan distributions by Dec. 31 - reminder for taxpayers born before July 1, 1945: you generally must receive payments from your IRAs and workplace retirement plans by Dec. 31

Register for December 8, 2015, 2 p.m. (Eastern) free webcast about the latest activities in Employee Plans Examinations

Form 2848 Instructions - To reduce undeliverable mail and allow us to reach you sooner, remember to include your firm’s name, floor, suite or room number in your address


Issue No. 2015-12, November 9, 2015

Enrolled Retirement Plan Agent (ERPA) Program Changes – Registration for the final ERPA Special Enrollment Examination (ERPA SEE) to become an ERPA is open now and closes on January 4, 2016.


Issue No. 2015-11, November 3, 2015

IRS Announces 2016 Pension Plan Limitations - 401(k) contribution limit remains unchanged at $18,000 for 2016

Electronic filing for Form 8955-SSA – when can you seek a hardship waiver?

IRS webinars and video

  • Easy low-cost ways to start your small business retirement plan - Webinar - Learn about low-cost retirement plans; low-maintenance alternatives to traditional 401(k)s; points to consider in choosing a plan for your business; and resources for setting up and operating your plan, and avoiding plan mistakes (60 mins.)

  • Employee Plans Programs - Summer 2015 Updates - Webinar - Learn about processing changes for determination letters; new pre-approved plans (ESOPs and cash balance); Form 5500 Permanent Late Filer program; and other updates (60 mins.)

  • SEP and SIMPLE IRA Plans – Avoiding Pitfalls - Learn how to properly adopt and operate SEP and SIMPLE IRA plans; use the right compensation to calculate contributions; determine when employees participate in the plan; handle employees of related employers; and take steps to avoid errors. You can use the Audit button to watch for free (Nationwide Tax Forum, 50 mins.)

Issue No. 2015-10, September 30, 2015

Forms

  • Draft of 2015 Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separate Participants with Deferred Vested Benefits (August 7, 2015)
  • Form 5500 automatic extension to file extends to November 15 for 2016 and later calendar year plan filings (P.L. 114-41, HR 3236, July 31, 2015)
  • Procedures to request waiver of electronic filing of Forms 8955-SSA and 5500EZ based on undue economic hardship (Rev. Proc. 2015-47)
  • Revised Forms 8950 and 8951- Sponsors may use prior versions of these Voluntary Correction Program forms until January 1, 2016

Correct plan mistakes

IRAs and IRA-based plans

  • Beginning date for your first required minimum distribution from your IRA (including SEP and SIMPLE IRAs) is April 1 after the calendar year you turn 70½
  • Video on retirement plans discusses low-cost, low-maintenance IRA based plans

Defined benefit plans:

April 30, 2016, is the deadline for employers using pre-approved retirement plan documents to sign an updated version of their 401(k), profit-sharing or other defined contribution retirement plans

New look for Retirement Plans page - we’ve added categories that help you find what you're looking for


Issue No. 2015-9, July 31, 2015

The IRS and Treasury intend to amend the minimum distribution regulations for defined benefit plans to generally prohibit the replacement of ongoing annuity payments with a lump sum payment or any other form of accelerated payment.

Employee Plans email questions - Beginning October 1, Employee Plans will no longer accept technical questions through email or from Customer Account Services.

Changes to the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program - Starting in 2017, the IRS will eliminate the staggered remedial amendment cycles and limit the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans.


Issue No. 2015-8, July 27, 2015

Small businesses can get IRS penalty relief for unfiled retirement plan returns - take advantage of a low-cost penalty relief program to quickly come back into compliance

Welcome to Direct Pay! Use this secure service to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment from your checking or savings account

Defending Public Safety Employees' Retirement Act (P.L.114-26) broadens the definition of “qualified public safety employee” for employees exempt from the 10 percent additional tax on early distributions from retirement plans, and adds federal defined contribution plans to this exemption

Trade Preferences Extension Act (P.L.114-27, Title VIII, Section 806) increases penalties for not filing information returns and payee statements on time, including Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc.)


Issue No. 2015-7, June 23, 2015

Worksheets and explanations for the second Cycle E plan language

New VCP Submission Kit for correcting contribution failures for money purchase pension and target benefit plans

Determination letter review process for the second Cycle E and beyond

Penalty relief program for Form 5500-EZ late filers

Fix-It Guides updated

Suspension of benefits under the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014


Issue No. 2015-6, June 10, 2015


Issue No. 2015-5, May 6, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Changes to EP determination letter application processing – effective date depends on whether you file Form 5300, 5307 or 5310

New revenue procedures update the Correction Program

Form 5500-EZ late filer penalty relief – remember to file by June 2

Sponsoring a 403(b) plan – make sure you have your 501(c)(3) status or meet another eligibility requirement

Updated FAQs: multiple employer plans

Notice 2015-7 – the IRS and Treasury Department anticipate issuing proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code Section 414(d) to define the term “governmental plan.” This notice describes the guidance under consideration, which would provide that employees of a public charter school may participate in a State or local retirement system if certain conditions are satisfied, and requests comments by May 11, 2015.


Issue No. 2015-4, April 1, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Plan sponsors
Keep documentation for hardship distributions and plan loans
Retirement plan distributions to foreign persons require withholding
Follow up on the plan corrections you agreed to in your VCP compliance statements  
DOL Corner – news from Department of Labor

Plan document help
Apply for a determination letter for your individually designed plan
Tips to expedite the determination letter process
FAQs on reference lists of changes in qualification requirements (new)
Updated 403(b) Listing of Required Modifications sample plan provisions help plan sponsors draft their plans

IRAs
Tax Time Guide: still time to contribute to an IRA for 2014
IRA limits for contributions and deductions
April 1 deadline to take required retirement plan distributions for many retirees who turned 70 ½ in 2014

Updated
SEP Plan Fix-It Guide
Publication 3998, Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Publication 4284, SIMPLE IRA Plan Checksheet
Publication 4285, SEP Plan Checksheet
Publication 4286, SARSEP Checklist
Publication 4334, SIMPLE IRA Plans for Small Businesses
Publication 4484, Choose a Retirement Plan for Employees of Tax Exempt and Government Entities
Publication 4587, Payroll Deduction IRAs   
Publication 4806, Profit Sharing Plans for Small Business


Issue 2015-3, March 25, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Defined benefit plans

Expanded annual actuarial certifications for multiemployer plans due March 31 for calendar year plans

Automatic approval for change in method due to takeovers of single-employer defined benefit plans


Issue 2015-2, February 27, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Correction options for 457(b) plans – EP Voluntary Compliance is not available for form errors

March webinars:

  • Highlights of the Second Cycle E Determination Letter Application Process – March 5, 2015, at 2 p.m. Eastern
  • Retirement Plan Loans to Participants – March 26, 2015, at 2 p.m. Eastern

my Social Security account – with it, your clients can get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S online

Updated:

PBGC Insights

Publication 4484, Choose a Retirement Plan for Employees of Tax Exempt and Government Entities

Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefit (Instructions)


Issue 2015-1, February 2, 2015

Print version of newsletter (.pdf)

Reference lists of changes in plan qualification requirements - tools to help you keep your plan document up-to-date

Send your applications for 403(b) pre-approved plans to Cincinnati

Penalties may be waived for delinquent Forms 5500EZ and some Form 5500-series

EPCU projects

Forms and Pubs

Form 8606 - use to report: nondeductible contributions you made to traditional IRAs; nondeductible contributions to traditional IRAs; IRA distributions; and IRA conversions

New:

Updated:

  • Form 1099-R, Distributions From Pensions, Annuities, Retirement or Profit-Sharing Plans, IRAs, Insurance Contracts, etc. (Instructions)

Recent internal directives

  • Realignment of Technical Work between the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division (TE/GE) and Office of Associate Chief Counsel (Tax Exempt and Government Entities) (Jan. 7, 2015)

Limit your search results on IRS.gov to the Retirement Plans Web pages: click on Advanced, enter your search terms in the “Find results” fields, and type “http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans” in the “Domain” field


The Employee Plans News is a periodic IRS newsletter with retirement plan information for retirement plan practitioners.

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 18-Apr-2017