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Qualified Retirement Plan Requirements

A qualified plan must satisfy the Internal Revenue Code in both form and operation. This means that the provisions in the plan document must satisfy the requirements of the Code and that those plan provisions must be followed. The IRS administers a determination letter program that enables plan sponsors to get advance assurance as to the form of their retirement plan document. 

Establish Procedures

Employers should establish practices and procedures to ensure the plan is operated in accordance with the plan document so participants and beneficiaries receive their proper retirement benefits. Be aware that the law and regulations in the retirement plans area frequently changes. Make sure your plan document and determination letter, if applicable, are up to date.

When Changes Take Place

Please note that problems often arise from changes in personnel, procedures, payroll systems, or new service providers such as accountants, attorneys, actuaries or third-party plan administrators. Employers that have experienced any of these changes should give special scrutiny to operational requirements affected by the change. 

Assistance for Complicated Plans

There are some retirement plans that are designed for employers to set up with little effort or expense- such as the Payroll Deduction IRA, SIMPLE 401(k), or SIMPLE IRA. However, due to the complex IRS rules that other plans must follow to qualify, it is important that you or your plan administrator consult with the IRS and a tax professional or employee benefits attorney before implementing your retirement plan. For further information, consult your tax professional or an employee benefits attorney, or contact the IRS’s Telephone Assistance for Businesses toll-free at 1-800-829-4933.


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