EP Examination Process Guide


The Employee Plans Examination Process Guide clarifies the steps in the examination process and introduces resources for retirement plan compliance.

  • Section 1 - Overview of EP Examinations
    A general explanation of the EP Examination process from the initial contact through final conclusion. It explains general examination techniques and procedures used to conduct examinations of qualified retirement plans.
  • Section 2 - Compliance Monitoring Procedures
    Resources to help plan sponsors determine if their plan is in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and regulations. It includes links to examination guidelines used by EP agents in performing audits. It helps you identify compliance risks and recurring plan issues, and links you information on the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), including the Self-Correction Program (SCP) and the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP).
  • Section 3 - Initiation of an Examination
    A general explanation and examples of the techniques and procedures used to select EP examinations, contact taxpayers and their representatives, schedule appointments, and request initial information. This section also contains a description of your rights as a taxpayer to be informed of the EP examination process.
  • Section 4 - Communications During Examination
    This section of the Guide provides a general explanation of the techniques and procedures used during an EP examination to effectively communicate with taxpayers and their representatives. There are also examples of communications involving compliance issues that may occur during examinations.
  • Section 5 - Audit Guidelines
    IRS guidance, forms and other information applicable to EP examinations.
  • Section 6 - Resolution of Issues and Closing the Examination
    Resources and procedures available to a plan sponsor or authorized representative and EP revenue agents for resolving issues and closing an examination. Includes links to information on the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), including the Audit Closing Agreement Program (Audit CAP).
  • Section 7 - Appeals
    The process of appealing issues that cannot be resolved with the EP agent or through informal means. Discusses the status of the plan while under appeals and any applicable statute of limitations.
  • Section 8 - Customer Education and Outreach
    Educational materials, retirement forms and publications, customer account services, and other helpful information for plan participants, plan sponsors and representatives.
  • Section 9 - Participant Notices
    Information on the notices participants should receive from a qualified retirement plan. Includes (1) notices triggered by a participant event, such as when a participant stops working; and (2) notices triggered by a plan event, such as when the plan is terminated. Includes links to other government agencies involved with retirement plan regulation including the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
  • Section 10 – International Issues Affecting Retirement Plans
    International issues, including international tax compliance by large corporations and high-wealth individuals, are an IRS-wide priority. The Office of Employee Plans is focused on addressing existing abuse and preventing abuse going forward.
  • Section 11 - Feedback
    How to submit comments and suggestions about Employee Plans Examinations and this process guide.