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IRS Extends Opinion Letter Deadline for Cycle 3 Pre-Approved Plans

The IRS has extended the deadline for submitting on-cycle applications for opinion letters for pre-approved DC plans for the third six-year remedial amendment cycle to Dec. 31, 2018. The original deadline was Oct. 1, 2018.

The three-month extension was announced Aug. 15 in Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2018-42, which modifies Rev. Proc. 2017-41.

The American Retirement Association had advocated for an extension of the deadline. In a June 26 comment letter to the IRS, the ARA had said that it greatly appreciated the direction the IRS took in Rev. Proc. 2017-41, which it said greatly enhanced the pre-approved plan document program. However, after careful analysis of the guidance, the ARA also requested clarifications and further enhancements to the program.

The ARA told the IRS that it was “an urgent matter” that the Cycle 3 DC submission deadline be extended. It said that “the October 1, 2018 deadline is fast approaching, and with the timing and scope of the LRMs and the Revenue Procedure, and the lack of the updated submission form, additional time is needed to properly complete these submissions.”

Rev. Proc. 2017-41 had modified the pre-approved letter program by combining the master and prototype and volume submitter programs into a new opinion letter program, under which providers of pre-approved plans may apply for new opinion letters once every six years. Rev. Proc. 2017-41 also set forth procedures by which qualified pre-approved plans could obtain opinion letters regarding the third (and subsequent) six-year remedial amendment cycles. And Rev. Proc. 2017-41 modified the on-cycle submission period for pre-approved DC plan providers to submit applications for opinion letters for the third six-year remedial amendment cycle; it was to begin on Oct. 2, 2017, and end on Oct. 1, 2018.

Rev. Proc. 2018-42 will appear in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2018-36, which will be published on Sept. 4, 2018.