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The IRS has released the long-awaited revenue procedure, updating and expanding the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System (EPCRS), the system of voluntary correction programs for retirement plans. The EPCRS has been expanded to cover additional plan failures and includes streamlined application procedures under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP) for numerous categories of plan failures.

“Employers and plan administrators want to comply with the tax laws and regulations to protect plan participants,” said Michael Julianelle, director of the IRS’s Employee Plans division. “EPCRS helps employers and plan administrators take a proactive role in identifying and fixing mistakes. It also encourages implementation of practices and procedures that ensure retirement plans comply with laws and regulations.”

The updated EPCRS revenue procedure generally will be effective January 1, 2009. However, plan sponsors will be permitted to apply the provisions of the updated revenue procedure beginning September 2, 2008.

Time to self-correct expanded
The Self-Correction Program (SCP) permits a plan sponsor to correct insignificant operational failures in plans such as qualified plans, 403(b) plans, SEPs or SIMPLE IRA plans without having to notify the IRS and without paying any fee or sanction. The updated procedure expands the SCP in situations where employers discover failures in their plans and have begun the correction process.

The time by which a plan sponsor substantially corrects a significant operational failure and is therefore entitled to use the SCP has been liberalized. Sample correction methods for improperly excluded employees for both employer and employee contributions have been added to Appendix A. In addition, sample correction methods for the failure to implement an employee’s elective deferral election and to provide matching contributions have been added to Appendix B.

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