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Pre-approved 403(b) Plans – Effective Date Addendum

An adopting employer’s reliance on a pre-approved 403(b) plan’s opinion or advisory letter is not affected simply because the employer uses an effective date addendum - a list of effective dates for certain plan provisions different from the plan’s general effective date - if the addendum:

  • lists dates that accurately reflect the plan operation, and
  • complies with the scope of the plan’s letter.


Employers may adopt pre-approved 403(b) retirement plans from March 2017 to, March 31, 2020 (Revenue Procedure 2017-18). Employers may adopt these plans as restatements to correct any form defects from January 1, 2010.

Generally, the overall effective date for 403(b) pre-approved plans are plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2010. This raises an issue for adopting employers who want to use a pre-approved plan with:

  • certain provisions that were not in effect for the plan for the entire restatement period (effective date of the pre-approved plan to the adoption date), or
  • options that have changed during the restatement period.

To address this issue, adopting employers may use an effective date addendum to depict plan operational changes that have occurred at different points in time, which otherwise wouldn’t be accurately reflected by the plan’s general effective date.

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