Employee Benefits-IRS Asks For Comments on Scope of Determination Letter Program For Individually Designed Plans During Calendar Year 2019

In Notice 2018-24 (the “Notice”), the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) requests comments on the potential expansion of the scope of the determination letter program for individually designed plans during the 2019 calendar year, beyond provision of determination letters for initial qualification and qualification upon plan termination.  Here is what the IRS says:

INTRODUCTION:  In reviewing comments submitted in response to this Notice, the Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury Department”) and the IRS will consider the factors regarding the scope of the determination letter program set forth in section 4.03(3) of Revenue Procedure 2016-37, 2016-29 I.R.B. 136.  The Treasury Department and the IRS will issue guidance if they identify any additional types of plans for which plan sponsors may request determination letters during the 2019 calendar year.

BACKGROUND:  Revenue Procedure 2016-37 sets forth procedures for issuing determination letters and describes an extension of the remedial amendment period for individually designed plans.  Effective January 1, 2017, the sponsor of an individually designed plan may submit a determination letter application only for initial plan qualification, for qualification upon plan termination, and in certain other limited circumstances identified in subsequent published guidance.  Section 4.03(3) of Rev. Proc. 2016-37 provides that the Treasury Department and the IRS will consider each year whether to accept determination letter applications for individually designed plans in specified circumstances other than for initial qualification and qualification upon plan termination.

REQUEST FOR COMMENTS:  Comments are requested on specific types of plans for which the Treasury Department and the IRS should consider accepting determination letter applications during calendar year 2019 in circumstances other than for initial qualification and qualification upon plan termination.  As provided in section 4.03(3) of Rev. Proc. 2016-37, circumstances for consideration include, for example, significant law changes, new approaches to plan design, and the inability of certain types of plans to convert to pre-approved plan documents. Comments that suggest expanding the scope of the program for a particular type of plan should not merely state the type of plan, but should also specify the issues applicable to that type of plan that would justify review of that particular plan type under the determination letter program.  Such issues may include specific plan features and special plan designs applicable to that type of plan, or unresolved questions of qualification in form with respect to that type of plan.

SUBMITTING COMMENTS:  Comments may be submitted in writing on or before June 4, 2018.  Comments should be mailed to Internal Revenue Service, CC:PA:LPD:PR (Notice 2018-24), Room 5203, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044, or sent electronically to notice.comments@irscounsel.treas.gov.  Please include “Notice 2018-24” in the subject line of any electronic communications.  Alternatively, comments may be hand delivered Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to CC:PA:LPD:PR (Notice 2018-24), Courier’s Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.  All comments will be available for public inspection and copying.