EP Examination Process Guide - Section 2 - Compliance Monitoring Procedures - Encouragement of Compliance Procedures and Self-Examinations

Examination tips, audit techniques, check-ups, publications and other guidance useful in determining if your plan is in compliance with the Code and regulations.

Examinations Tips: Review this Employee Plans CPE chapter for the following examination tips:

  • Distributions
    Items to review when examining plan distributions.
  • Eligibility & Coverage
    Items to review when examining a plan for eligibility and coverage.
  • IRC Section 401(k)
    Items to review when examining an IRC section 401(k) plan.
  • IRC Section 415(c)
    Items to review when examining a plan for IRC section 415(c).
  • Joint & Survivor Annuity
    Items to review when conducting the joint and survivor annuity portion of the examination.
  • Value of Plan Assets
    Items to review when determining the value of plan assets.
  • Vesting
    Items to review when examining a plan for vesting.

Audit Techniques:

  • Audit Techniques
    Audit techniques for top heavy plans, prohibited transactions, plan terminations, ESOPs and S Corporations. Sampling techniques and workpaper development is also included.
  • Audit Techniques - Defined Benefit Plans
    Audit Techniques for defined benefit plans, including actuarial assumptions, deductible limits under IRC section 404, changes in benefit structure and full funding limitation.
  • Overview of Audit Steps - 401(k) Plans
    An overview of the audit steps for an IRC section 401(k) examination using automated workpapers, including compensation, distributions, Actual Deferral Percentage (ADP)/Actual Contribution Percentage (ACP) testing and limitations.


  • Publication 571- Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans (403(b) Plans)
    This publication can help you better understand the tax rules that apply to an IRC section 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plan.

Other Guidance:

  • Leveraged & Non-Leveraged ESOPs
    Guidance pertaining to the examination of leveraged and non-leveraged ESOPs.
  • IRC Section 404 Deductibility Rules
    A review of the basic IRC section 404 deductibility rules.
  • IRC Section 72(p)
    A review of the IRC section 72(p) final regulations and their impact on participant loans. (Revenue Ruling 2002-62 provides guidance on what constitutes a series of substantially equal periodic payments from an individual account.)
  • Check-Up for Your Retirement Plan
    Three-step approach designed to help business owners properly operate their retirement plans.
  • SEPs and SARSEPs
    An overview of the applicable law, audit techniques and a review of issues uncovered during the examination of SEPs and SARSEPs.
  • Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) Section 4.72.13 (Part 1 and Part 2)
    This section of the IRM provides guidance for revenue agents on how to examine a plan described in IRC section 403. (These guidelines reflect changes to the Code made by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 ("EGTRRA" ) and the technical corrections made thereto. For examinations of years beginning prior to January 1, 2002, please consult prior examination guidelines for enforcement of laws then in effect.)