Pre-approved plan submission procedures


IRC 401(a)

Plan sponsors can obtain IRS approval (“pre-approval”) of whether the form of defined contribution and defined benefit plans meet the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Sections 401, 403(a), 409, and 4975(e)(7). 

Application steps

Note: Beginning in summer 2024, Providers will be able to complete steps 1-3 on The IRS will issue a newsletter article when this option becomes available. Please continue to mail your applications until that time. Once becomes available, we’ll open a 30-day window where Providers may submit their application by mail or on After the 30-day window expires, we will only accept submissions on

  1. Complete the appropriate application forms
  2. Pay the appropriate user fee provided in Rev. Proc. 2024-4, Appendix A (updated annually)
  3. Mail your application and user fee

    Note: We request that you submit applications by thumb or flash drive instead of submitting large paper files. Save the documents in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  We also ask that you continue submitting paper checks and paper Forms 8717-A for your fees. In addition, please include a redline copy of your plan document for changes made since the last cycle. This will greatly assist in quicker review by the IRS.
  4. Wait for your application to be assigned to an IRS specialist for review
  5. Respond to any inquiries from the IRS specialist assigned to your case
  6. Interim notification – You may receive an interim notification stating that the plan appears to be compliant with the applicable qualification requirements. This notification is not an official opinion letter and it provides no qualification reliance. See Rev. Proc. 2023-37, section 17.02.
  7. Receive your official opinion letter from the IRS

Forms to submit using

Defined contribution plans (mass submitters and non-mass submitters)

Defined benefit plans (mass submitters and non-mass submitters)

Fourth six-year cycle defined contribution plan word-for-word identical providers and minor modifiers

Third six-year cycle defined benefit plan word-for-word identical providers

Third six-year cycle defined contribution plan word-for-word identical providers

All plans

Mailing addresses

Applications by regular mail:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Pre-Approved Plans Coordinator
Room 6-403, Group 7521
P.O. Box 2508
Cincinnati, OH 45201-2508

Applications shipped by express mail or a delivery service:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Pre-Approved Plans Coordinator
Room 6-403, Group 7521
550 Main Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-5203

What adopting employers must do

Adopting employers of pre-approved plans must adopt the plan within the two-year adoption period announced by IRS. Adopting employers generally do not apply for their own determination letters because they can rely on the pre-approved plan’s opinion letter. However, if an adopting employer makes changes to their plan, it may lose this reliance. In this instance, the employer could apply for a determination letter if they meet the requirements outlined in section 12 and 13 of Rev. Proc. 2024-4. Also, see Rev. Proc. 2017-41, Section 7, and Rev. Proc. 2023-37, section 12 for a discussion of employer reliance on a pre-approved plan.

Additional resources