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Rules Governing Practice before IRS

How to Complete Form 5300, line 3(m) and Submit a Procedurally Complete Determination Letter Application

To submit a procedurally complete determination letter application, plan sponsors should:

  • List all amendments they adopted and that were required during the plan’s remedial amendment cycle (RAC) in which the application is submitted on Form 5300, line 3(m) table.
  • Include all required interim amendments and the restated plan document containing those amendments with the application.

Otherwise, the determinations specialist will request the amendments or restatement before reviewing the plan documents. Please ensure that the amendment dates on Form 5300 match the dates of amendments submitted.

The annual IRS Revenue Procedure for issuing determination letters on the qualified status of pension, profit-sharing, stock bonus, annuity, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) states that the plan, and all interim and other plan amendments adopted or effective during the plan's current remedial amendment cycle must be included in the application package along with a copy of the restated plan and trust instrument (Rev. Proc. 2016-6, Section 7.04).


A plan’s determination letter application for its first cycle cumulative list included a plan restatement containing amendments for:

  • Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (HEART)
  • Worker, Retiree, Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA)
  • Diversification requirements under Internal Revenue Code Section 401(a)(35)

These provisions were adopted and effective during the first cycle. However, although these amendments were in the restatement, the plan may not rely on this favorable determination letter because these amendments aren’t required until the plan’s second cycle. Because these amendments are on the second cycle cumulative list, the plan’s second cycle application must contain these amendments or it’s considered incomplete.

To avoid processing delays, please include all required attachments, and properly complete Form 5300. In addition to the plan amendments, please include all the required attachments. This includes submitting the Procedural Checklist attachment to the Form 5300 itself. Make sure you properly fill out Form 5300. For example, make sure you check:

  • “N/A” or use “N/A” for questions that are clearly not applicable on your Form 5300 application.
  • The Power of Attorney boxes on Form 2848.

Rev. Proc. 2016-37 ended the RAC system and replaced it with a new approach to the remedial amendment period effective January 1, 2017.

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