Governmental Plans under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a)


Under Internal Revenue Code Section 414(d), a governmental plan is an IRC Section 401(a) retirement plan established and maintained for the employees of:

  • the United States or its agency or instrumentality;
  • a state or political subdivision, or its agency or instrumentality; or
  • an Indian tribal government or its subdivision, or its agency or instrumentality (participants must substantially perform services essential to governmental functions rather than commercial activities.)

Other types of governmental plans include:

  • 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans;
  • 457 deferred compensation plans;
  • Certain grandfathered 401(k) plans adopted by a governmental entity before May 6, 1986.

Recent developments
Published guidance, determination letter rules and other developments affecting governmental plans

Apply for a determination letter
How and why to request a determination as to whether the form of a governmental plan document satisfies applicable tax qualification requirements 

Correct plan errors
Find, fix and avoid mistakes in governmental plans

Additional resources
Governmental plans updates, FAQs, and guidance under consideration