Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Providers: Apply for an Opinion or Advisory Letter – Cycle 1


Apply after the end of the on-cycle submission period for Cycle 1 Pre-Approved 403(b) Plans

Sponsors can obtain IRS approval ("pre-approval") of whether the form a 403(b) pre-approved plan meets the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) (see Revenue Procedure 2013-22 for Cycle 1 plans and Rev. Proc. 2021-37 for Cycle 2 plans). 

An employer that adopts a sponsor's pre-approved 403(b) plan generally has assurance that its plan document complies with IRC Section 403(b).

Cycle 2: The submission period for 403(b) pre-approved plan providers to submit applications for an Opinion Letter for Cycle 2 is now open through May 1, 2023. 

When to apply

The on-cycle submission period for Cycle 1 applications under Rev. Proc. 2013-22 was open from June 28, 2013 through April 30, 2015. No further Cycle 1 applications will be accepted except for off-cycle applications for plans that are word-for-word identical or a minor modifier of a Mass Submitter’s Cycle 1 403(b) Pre-approved Plan. The IRS will continue to accept word-for-word and minor modifier applications until shortly before the issuance of Opinion Letters for the Cycle 2.

To be a word-for-word identical adopter, the entity must sponsor a plan that is identical, on a word-for-word basis, to either a basic plan document or a specimen plan of a mass submitter.

To be a minor modifier, the entity must sponsor a plan that contains only minor changes from a basic plan document or a specimen plan of a mass submitter, and the changes do not require the IRS to do an in-depth technical review to issue an opinion letter to the plan.

See Pre-Approved 403(b) Plan Providers: Apply for an Opinion Letter - Cycle 2 for additional information for Cycle 2 applications. The submission period for plan providers to submit on-cycle applications for a Cycle 2 Opinion Letter under Rev. Proc. 2021-37 begins May 2, 2022, and ends on May 1, 2023.

How to apply

Applications for word-for-word identical adopters or minor modifiers of mass submitter plans applications must be submitted to the IRS by the mass submitter on behalf of the adopter. The 403(b) pre-approved plan application must include all documents required under Rev. Proc. 2013-22 (as modified by Rev. Proc. 2014-28) and may include additional documents, as appropriate.

Application Steps

  1. Complete your application package
  2. Pay the user fee (by check or money order) provided in Appendix A.05 of Rev. Proc. 2022-4 Appendix A.05 (updated annually) that would apply if you were applying as a qualified plan under Rev. Proc. 2017-41.
  3. Mail your application package to:

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

Any request shipped by Express Mail or a delivery service should be sent to:

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

  1. Wait for your application to be assigned to an IRS employee for review
  2. Respond to any inquiries from the IRS employee assigned to your case
  3. Receive your official IRS opinion letter (prototype plans) or advisory letter (volume submitter plans) once the plan has been approved

Required items

Additional items

Additional resources