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Rules Governing Practice before IRS

Updated Retirement Plan Correction Procedures

Revenue Procedure 2016-51, released September 29, 2016:

Some key changes

  • Determination letter applications no longer permitted when applying the correction programs under EPCRS. The requirement for a plan sponsor to submit a determination letter application to the IRS when correcting qualification failures that include a plan amendment no longer applies.
  • Fees. Fees associated with the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) are now user fees and no longer set forth in the EPCRS revenue procedure. For VCP submissions made:
    • in 2016, refer to Rev. Proc. 2016-8 and Rev. Proc. 2013-12 to determine the applicable user fee.
    • after 2016, refer to the annual Employee Plans user fees revenue procedure to determine VCP user fees for that year.
  • SCP. Availability of Self-Correction Program (SCP) for significant failures has been modified to provide that, for qualified individually designed plans, a determination letter need not be current to satisfy the Favorable Letter requirement.

Audit CAP changes

  • Revised approach to determining Audit CAP sanctions.
  • A reasonable sanction is no longer a negotiated percentage of the maximum payment amount (MPA). Instead, auditors will review facts and circumstances and the MPA amount is simply one factor to consider. In addition, there are revised, additional factors that IRS considers.
  • Sanctions, generally, will not be less than the fees associated with VCP.
  • New factors used in determining sanctions for late amender failures will apply.
  • For late amender failures discovered by the IRS, while reviewing a determination letter application, a new approach to determining the applicable sanction will apply.

No partial refunds for certain Anonymous Submissions

The IRS will no longer refund half the paid user fee if there is disagreement over correction in Anonymous Submissions.


Several items in Rev. Proc. 2013-12 revised to update citations or cross-references.

Submit comments on recovery of overpayments

The IRS continues to solicit comments from the public on expanding EPCRS correction rules to provide additional guidance on the recovery or recoupment of overpayments. (See sections 2.05(2) and 17.)

Effective date

The revenue procedure is effective January 1, 2017. Plan sponsors may not elect to apply provisions before January 1, 2017. Rev. Proc. 2013-12, as modified by Rev. Proc. 2015-27 and Rev. Proc. 2015-28, are in effect for 2016.

EPCRS Revenue Procedures superseded

  • Rev. Proc. 2013-12 no longer applies as of January 1, 2017.
  • Provisions of Rev. Proc. 2015-27 and Rev. Proc. 2015-28 are part of the new EPCRS revenue procedure. As of January 1, 2017, the older revenue procedures no longer apply.