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August 30, 2017

New Pre-Approved 403(b) Retirement Plan Restatement Period is Now Open

Sponsors of 403(b) retirement plans received welcomed news from the IRS in 2013 that it would allow them to adopt a pre-approved 403(b) plan. This means that for the first time, employers can adopt a written 403(b) plan document that the IRS has reviewed and approved. While more than three years have passed since the IRS announced this change, the time to take advantage of this new opportunity by adopting a pre-approved 403(b) retirement plan document has finally arrived.

IRS Review of 403(b) Retirement Plans

Before the IRS issued this new pre-approved program, the IRS required all 403(b) plans to have a plan document in place by the end of 2009. The IRS, however, would not review or issue determination letters on those 403(b) plan documents. If you sponsor a 403(b) retirement plan and wish to amend and restate your plan as a pre-approved plan, the IRS has announced that you may now do so at any time before March 31, 2020.

Since the IRS does not review 403(b) plans for compliance with the complex requirements of the Internal Revenue Code outside of its new pre-approved plan program, the only way that an employer will have assurance that its 403(b) plan satisfies these requirements is to adopt a pre-approved plan. Adopting a pre-approved plan will also allow an employer to retroactively correct certain defects in its written 403(b) plan document.

What Is a Pre-Approved Plan?

Pre-approved plans generally fall into two categories: prototype and volume submitter. Prototype plans are required to have a basic plan document and an adoption agreement that enables the employer to choose among the offered plan design options. A volume submitter plan typically consists of one document with extensive options. The new 403(b) pre-approved plan program includes both prototype and volume submitter plans.

The pre-approved plan that Warner Norcross & Judd LLP sponsors is a volume submitter document with thousands of choices to allow for flexibility and customization. A prototype plan document generally offers a more limited number of choices. Prototype plans also often reflect the limitations of the recordkeeping system of the prototype sponsor, making it difficult to move to a new plan provider. For more information on the benefits of the Warner Norcross & Judd LLP volume submitter document, please review our online document.

Next Steps

If you would like to discuss adopting our volume submitter plan, please contact one of our retirement plan attorneys. If you are a current Warner Norcross client who has been using a 403(b) plan document drafted by our team, we will be in touch with you to discuss updating your plan. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us.

NOTICE. Although we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Also, we cannot treat unsolicited information as confidential. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you.

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