List of Pre-Approved Plans

These lists include Pre-Approved, Master and Prototype (M&P) and Volume Submitter (VS) plans that were submitted to the IRS for opinion or advisory letters:

Defined Contribution Plans

  • Third six-year cycle list (PDF) for defined contribution plans submitted from October 2, 2017, to December 31, 2018, covering the 2017 Cumulative List.  Note that with the issuance of Rev. Proc. 2017-41, M&P and VS plans were combined into a single opinion letter program for Pre-approved plans where the types of plans are reflected as either standardized or nonstandardized.

The list will be updated periodically. It includes:

  1. the name of the Pre-approved Plan Provider
  2. the file folder number (FFN) assigned to each plan
  3. the plan type of each plan submitted
  4. a letter serial number (LSN) and date. Please note that virtually all of the opinion letters will be issued at the same time, thus at the date this list is initially issued it will not contain any LSNs or dates.

Defined Benefit Plans

  • Second six-year cycle (PPA) (PDF) list of defined benefit plans submitted from February 1, 2013, to October 30, 2015, based on the 2012 Cumulative List. The term "PPA” refers to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, Pub. L. 109-280.

The list will be updated periodically and includes:

  1. the name of the M&P sponsor or VS practitioner
  2. the file folder number (FFN) assigned to each plan
  3. the plan type of each plan submitted
  4. a letter serial number (LSN) and date. Please note that virtually all of the opinion and advisory letters were issued at the same time.

The PPA list contains the M&P and VS plans that were submitted to the Service for opinion or advisory letters beginning February 1, 2013 in accordance with Revenue Procedure 2011-49 as later modified and superseded by Revenue Procedure 2015-36, which was subsequently modified by Revenue Procedure 2018-21. Adopting employers using these pre-approved plan documents to restate a plan for PPA are required to adopt their plan by April 30, 2020.  See Announcement 2018-05.

Defined Contribution Plans

The list will be updated periodically. It includes:

  1. the name of the M&P sponsor or VS practitioner
  2. the file folder number (FFN) assigned to each plan
  3. the plan type of each plan submitted
  4. a letter serial number (LSN) and date. Please note that virtually all of the opinion and advisory letters were issued at the same time.

Generally, adopting employers used these pre-approved plan documents to restate a plan for PPA beginning on April 1, 2014 through April 30, 2016.  Adopting employers could also apply for an individual determination letter, if eligible, beginning May 1, 2014 and ending April 30, 2016. See Announcement 2014-16 .  However, this deadline was extended to April 30, 2017 for any newly approved pre-approved defined contribution plan first adopted on or after January 1, 2016.  See Revenue Procedure 2016-37.

See also:

Determining the type of plan

The third digit of the FFN indicates the type of plan being approved.  A number 7 indicates a third cycle pre-approved plan.  To determine whether a third cycle plan is standardized or nonstandardized you will need to focus on the plan type column of the list.  For previous cycles the numbers 2 or 3 respectively denote a standardized or nonstandardized M&P plan; a 5 or 6 depicts a volume submitter plan.

How to use the list

Step 1 - An adopting employer of a pre-approved plan can verify that the plan can be used to restate for the applicable Cumulative List by determining if the name of the pre-approved plan provider, M&P plan sponsor, or VS practitioner is on the list. If the name does not appear on the list, the adopting employer should contact its pre-approved plan provider/sponsor/practitioner to determine why its name is not on the list since the adopting employer may not be able to use the plan to restate for the applicable Cumulative List, (i.e. 2017 List for Defined Contribution (DC) plans or 2012 List for Defined Benefit (DB) plans).

Step 2 - Determine if the pre-approved plan adopted by the employer has received an opinion or advisory letter. If so, the employer should adopt the approved plan, or take other action as provided in section 19 of Revenue Procedure 2016-37, within the time-period described in Step 3, below. If the list does not indicate that a letter has been issued, the application for the opinion or advisory letter could still be pending (i.e., almost all the letters for pre-approved plans were issued at the same time, but there may be some applications still pending). Sponsors receiving a late letter will not be entitled to any extension of the 2-year window for employers to adopt the pre-approved plan.

Step 3 - The date by which the employer must adopt an approved second-cycle M&P or VS plan, or a third cycle pre-approved plan, is the end of the 2-year window announced by the IRS.  See discussion of deadlines at Pre-approved Retirement Plans - Adopting Employer.

Lists of plans for prior cycles

EGTRRA

The EGTRRA lists contain the M&P and VS plans that were submitted to the Service for EGTRRA opinion or advisory letters beginning February 1, 2007 (for DB plans) or February 17, 2005 (for DC plans), in accordance with filing procedures under Revenue Procedure 2005-16. The term "EGTRRA" refers to the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, Pub. L. 107-16.

Adopting employers using these pre-approved plan documents to restate a plan for EGTRRA were required to adopt their plans generally by April 30, 2010 (Announcement 2008-23), if a DC plan, or by April 30, 2012 (Announcement 2010-20), if a DB plan.

GUST

The GUST list contains the M&P and VS defined benefit and defined contribution plans that were submitted to the Service for EGTRRA opinion or advisory letters by December 31, 2000, the deadline for filing under of Revenue Procedure 2000-20, as modified by Notice 2001-42.

An employer who adopted, or certified its intent to adopt, a timely-submitted M&P plan or VS specimen plan by the end of the 2001 plan year (December 31, 2001, for calendar-year plans) had until the later of December 31, 2002, or 12 months after the date of the last opinion or advisory letter issued to the M&P plan sponsor or VS practitioner to adopt the GUST amended plan. See Announcement 2001-12 for more information.

The term "GUST" refers to the following legislation:

  • the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, Pub. L. 103-465
  • the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-353
  • the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, Pub. L. 104-188
  • the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, Pub. L. 105-34
  • the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, Pub. L. 105-206
  • the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-554

Additional resources: