IRC 403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuity Plans – Written Program


403(b) final regulations required a written program by January 1, 2009. Notice 2009-3 extended the deadline to December 31, 2009, if the plan sponsor:

  • adopted a written plan intended to satisfy the requirements of IRC Section 403(b) (including the final regulations) effective as of January 1, 2009;
  • operated the plan in accordance with a reasonable interpretation of IRC Section 403(b), considering the final regulations during 2009; and
  • corrected the plan operation to match the written program before the end of 2009, placing the participants in the same position they would have been in if the program had been adopted on January 1. The correction should be based on the general principles in Section 6 of Revenue Procedure 2019-19. See Correcting Plan Errors.

A 403(b) written program does not need to be a single plan document, but may bundle several documents that may include mandatory and optional provisions.

The employer is responsible for ensuring it operates the plan according to the written program. The employer should establish information sharing procedures with all plan vendors so the plan meets all legal requirements.

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