Employee Benefits-IRS Issues Notice Containing Revisions to the Employee Plans Determination Letter Program Regarding Cycle A Elections And Other Matters

According to Notice 2016-03 (the “Notice”), in anticipation of the elimination, effective January 1, 2017, of the 5-year remedial amendment cycle system for individually designed plans under the Employee Plans determination letter program, the IRS says the following:

Determination Letter Applications. Rev. Proc. 2007-44 will be modified to provide that controlled groups and affiliated service groups that maintain more than one plan are permitted to submit determination letter applications during the Cycle A submission period beginning February 1, 2016, and ending January 31, 2017, provided that a prior Cycle A election with respect to the controlled group or affiliated service group had been made by January 31, 2012 (the last day of the previous Cycle A submission period).

Expiration Date For Determination Letters. Rev. Proc. 2007-44 will be modified to provide that expiration dates included in determination letters issued prior to January 4, 2016, are no longer operative. Future guidance will clarify the extent to which an employer may rely on a determination letter after a subsequent change in law or plan amendment.

Adoption Of Pre-Approved Defined Contribution Plans. Rev. Proc. 2007-44 will be modified to provide that the deadline for an employer to adopt a current defined contribution pre-approved plan and to apply for a determination letter, if otherwise permissible, is extended from April 30, 2016, to April 30, 2017, with respect to any defined contribution pre-approved plan adopted on or after January 1, 2016 (other than a plan that is adopted as a modification and restatement of a defined contribution pre-approved plan that had been maintained by the employer prior to January 1, 2016). This extension will facilitate a plan sponsor’s ability to convert an existing individually designed plan into a current defined contribution pre-approved plan.

For these purposes, a “current defined contribution pre-approved plan” is one that was approved based on the 2010 Cumulative List. An employer that had adopted a defined contribution pre-approved plan prior to January 1, 2016, continues to have until April 30, 2016, to adopt a modification and restatement of the defined contribution pre-approved plan within the current 6-year remedial amendment cycle for defined contribution plans and to apply for a determination letter, if permissible.