New Pre-Approved Defined Contribution Plan Adopters – Now Have Until May 1, 2017


The IRS has extended the deadline from Sunday, April 30, 2017, to Monday, May 1, 2017, for certain employers to adopt a defined contribution pre-approved plan and apply for a determination letter, if permissible.

Notice 2016-3 previously extended the deadline from April 30, 2016, to April 30, 2017,  to help employers who wanted to convert their existing individually designed plan into a current defined contribution pre-approved plan based on the 2010 Cumulative List.

You’re eligible for this extension if you adopt a plan after January 1, 2016, other than one that is a modification and restatement of a defined contribution pre-approved plan you maintained before January 1, 2016. The extension allows you until May 1, 2017, to:

  1. Adopt a current defined contribution pre-approved plan.
  2. Apply for a determination letter, if permissible.

If you qualify for the extension and to file Form 5307, Application for Determination for Adopters of Modified Volume Submitter Plans (instructions), please include a statement in the cover letter that your submission package:

  • restates the plan as a current defined contribution pre-approved plan, and
  • qualifies for the Notice 2016-3 extension.

Plan sponsors can file for a favorable determination letter until the extended May 1, 2017, deadline.

In Announcement 2011-82, the IRS stated that Form 5307 submissions would only be accepted by adopters of Volume Submitter (VS) plans that modify the VS specimen plan terms and only if the modifications are not so extensive as to cause the plan to be treated as an individually designed plan (Revenue Procedure 2016-6, Section 9).

Generally, an adopting employer that hasn’t made any changes or has only made specified minor changes to their plan document can rely on the opinion or advisory letter for the pre-approved plan. Examples of minor changes include:

  • Changing the effective date of a provision
  • Adopting IRS model or sample amendments
  • Adopting an interim or discretionary amendment according to Revenue Procedure 2015-36, Section 21

Adopters of VS plans that haven’t made changes to their pre-approved VS specimen plan and adopters of a master & prototype (M&P) plan can’t submit a Form 5307 for a word-for-word adoption of a defined contribution pre-approved plan. These employers may rely on the advisory or opinion letter issued for the version of the VS or M&P plan they adopted (Revenue Procedure 2016-6, Section 9).