2017 Required Amendments List for Qualified Retirement Plans
December 7, 2017
On December 5, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued Notice 2017-72, the 2017 list of required amendments. This list is the second of the annual required amendments lists (“RA List”) pursuant to Revenue Procedure 2016-37, which ended the cyclical determination letter program for individually designed plans.
Part A of Notice 2017-72 lists changes to qualification requirements that are likely to require an amendment in most plans. They are as follows:
• Cash balance/hybrid plans must be amended, as necessary, to comply with the market rate of return and other requirements in the final regulations that become applicable to the cash balance/hybrid plan for the plan year beginning in 2017.
• An eligible cooperative plan or eligible charity plan, not already subject to the benefit restrictions under Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) Section 436, generally becomes subject to the restrictions beginning with plan years on or after January 1, 2017.
Part B of Notice 2017-72 lists changes to qualification requirements that are not likely to require an amendment in most plans, but may, if there are unusual plan provisions. The one change listed is as follows:
• Defined benefit plans that permit benefits to be paid partly in the form of an annuity and partly as a single sum (or other accelerated form) must do so in compliance with Code Section 417(e).
The IRS noted that the change generally applies to distributions with annuity starting dates in plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017. It also noted that model amendments to offer bifurcated benefit distribution options are provided in IRS Notice 2017-44.
As a reminder, the fact that a qualification requirement is included on an RA List does not mean that every plan described requires an amendment. Each plan sponsor, in consultation with its trusted advisors, will need to review its plan in light of the RA List to determine if an amendment is necessary.
Under Revenue Procedure 2016-37, the remedial amendment period for a disqualifying provision in an individually designed plan that results from changed qualification requirements is the last day of the second calendar year after the issuance of the RA List. For calendar year plans, the deadline for this required amendment is December 31, 2019.
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