Retirement Plan Participant Notices - When the Plan is Intended to be an IRC 401(k) or (m) Safe Harbor Plan


When the plan is intended to be an IRC section 401(k) or (m) safe harbor plan, an annual notice must be provided to all employees eligible to participate in the plan.

Annual Safe Harbor Notice

Description: The notice is a plain language document that describes the employee’s rights and obligations under the plan. IRC Section 401(k)(12)(D) and Treasury Regulation Section 1.401(k)-3(d).

What it should contain: The notice must contain the following:

  • the safe harbor matching or non-elective formula used in the plan;
  • level of matching contributions, if any, other contributions under the plan, and the conditions under which they will be made;
  • the type and amount of compensation that may be deferred;
  • the method of making deferrals under the plan;
  • the periods available for making elections;
  • the withdrawal and vesting provisions applicable to contributions under the plan; and
  • how to obtain additional information about the plan.

Timing: Notice must be given not less than 30 days or more than 90 days before the beginning of the plan year.

Who is responsible for sending it: The administrator of the plan.

Additional resources: 


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