Rev. Proc. 2018-52 (Sept. 28, 2018); IRS Webpage: Updated Retirement Plan Correction Procedures (Oct. 1, 2018)
The IRS has updated its consolidated statement of the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), primarily to establish new procedures for electronic filing of VCP submissions. EPCRS provides three retirement plan correction programs—a Self-Correction Program (SCP), the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP), and the Audit Closing Agreement Program (Audit CAP). The update entirely replaces the previous version of EPCRS (see our Checkpoint article) effective January 1, 2019, but it leaves the SCP and Audit CAP procedures largely unchanged, and it makes no significant changes to the appendices describing operational failures, correction methods, and earnings adjustment rules. Instead, the revisions focus on VCP submissions, which will have to be filed electronically using the www.pay.gov website and the procedures set forth in the update. Here are highlights of the VCP-related changes:
- Electronic filing of VCP submissions will be mandatory beginning April 1, 2019. From January 1, 2019, through March 31, 2019, VCP applications may be made on paper as before or electronically using the new procedures. (Electronic submissions are not allowed until 2019.) An IRS webpage on the updated correction procedures explains which forms must be used by paper filers during the transition period.
- Electronic filers must create an account on www.pay.gov. An authorized representative may file for a plan sponsor, but the sponsor must specifically grant that authority (sample language is provided). The sponsor must also sign and submit a “penalty of perjury declaration” affirming the truth, accuracy, and completeness of the submission.
- Electronic filers must complete and sign the Form 8950 VCP application on the website, and then upload all required documents in a single PDF file. Many of the same documents will be required. For example, no changes were made to the information that must be submitted about the failure, how and why it occurred, the proposed correction method, and earnings or actuarial adjustments. Also, filers still have the option to use Form 14568 (Model VCP Compliance Statement) and any of its schedules separately or together (see our Checkpoint article). Files larger than 15MB cannot be processed, so a portion of the documentation for larger submissions must be provided by fax.
- User fees must be paid using a method available on the website. Payment will generate a confirmation with a tracking number that identifies the submission.
- Other VCP-specific changes affect the procedures for anonymous submissions, penalty of perjury statements when submissions are modified, and circumstances in which the IRS might not contact the filer before issuing a compliance statement.
The EPCRS guidance has also been revised to reflect recent developments, including simplification of the VCP user fee schedule (which made procedures to obtain special reduced fees obsolete (see our Checkpoint article)), consolidation of the IRS’s programs for pre-approved plans (see our Checkpoint article), and elimination of the IRS’s letter-forwarding program for locating plan participants (see our Checkpoint article).
EBIA Comment: This streamlining of VCP will not end the tinkering with EPCRS. The IRS continues to invite comments on the program and is working on other modifications, including changes to the rules for correcting overpayments and a possible expansion of SCP. For more information, see EBIA’s 401(k) Plans manual at Sections XXXIV (“Correcting Plan Mistakes: Identifying and Fixing Common Errors”) and XXXV (“Correcting Plan Mistakes: IRS’s EPCRS”).
Contributing Author: EBIA Staff.