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2018 Required Amendments List Identifies No Qualification Changes Affecting 401(k) Plans



IRS Notice 2018-91 (Nov. 21, 2018)

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The IRS has issued its 2018 Required Amendments List (RA List) for qualified retirement plans and, for the third consecutive year, the RA List identifies no qualification changes affecting 401(k) plans. RA Lists are issued annually to identify changes in the Code’s qualification requirements that may result in disqualifying provisions and require a remedial amendment (see our Checkpoint article). (A “disqualifying provision” is a required provision that is not in the plan document, a provision in the document that does not comply with the Code’s qualification requirements, or a provision that the IRS so designates.) RA Lists are usually divided into two parts. Part A lists changes in qualification requirements that require most plans (of the relevant type) to be amended. Part B lists changes that should only require amendments for certain plans with unusual plan provisions affected by the changes. Periodic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to various dollar limitations do not appear on the annual RA List but are treated as if they are included. (Many plans do not need to be amended to reflect these periodic COLAs.)

Like the 2016 and 2017 RA Lists, the 2018 RA List does not identify any qualification changes affecting 401(k) plans. In fact, the 2018 list identifies no qualification changes for any plan type.

EBIA Comment: While this year’s RA List has no entries, that does not necessarily mean that a plan sponsor has no amendments to make. The RA List does not apply to discretionary plan amendments, which generally must be adopted by the end of the plan year in which discretionary plan design or operational changes are implemented, except for certain discretionary amendments that must be adopted before they are implemented (for example, amendments relating to elective deferral, safe harbor, and anti-cutback provisions). And employers that decide to offer certain types of disaster relief under their plans may need to make plan amendments before the deadlines set by disaster-specific IRS guidance, even though disaster-related amendments are not included on the RA List. For more information, see EBIA’s 401(k) Plans manual at Sections IV.B (“Form and Operational Qualification Requirements”), XXVII.E.2 (“Statutory Deadlines for Disaster-Relief Amendments”), XXVII.F (“Disqualifying Provisions and Remedial Amendments”), and XXVII.G.1 (“Extended Remedial Amendment Periods for Individually Designed Plans Resulting From a Change in Qualification Requirements”).

Contributing Editors: EBIA Staff.

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