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IRS Changes Determination Letter Program for Individually Designed Plans

The IRS recently announced major changes to its determination letter program in Announcement 2015-19. Starting January 1, 2017, determination letter applications will only be accepted for newly created and for terminating individually designed plans (IDPs). At that time, the IRS will no longer accept applications from existing IDPs to determine the ongoing qualified status of the plan. Many plan sponsors use IDPs, as opposed to prototype or volume submitter plans, because they wish to have customized plan design features and provisions. Sponsors of IDPs have long been able to file an application with the IRS to request a determination that the plan as written is tax-qualified. After next year, such a determination will only be available to plan sponsors upon starting and terminating a plan.