IRS: 'Off-the-Shelf" Changes on the Horizon

July 1, 2003 ( - Small and midsized businesses using "off-the-shelf" retirement plan documents have been reminded by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that those plans need to be updated to conform with current laws by September 30, 2003.

 The IRS, in a news release, reminded the approximately 750,000 business using the master and prototype (M&P) and volume submitter retirement plans that the IRS-approved templates used to standardize retirement plans need to adopt updates to maintain the tax benefits associated with retirement plans.   For most employers, this means no more than ensuring they adopt their plan amendments by the deadline.   However, others also have to file the amendments with the IRS by September 30 to keep their plans tax qualified.

“We are concerned that employers may inadvertently miss the deadline,” Carol Gold, Director of Employee Plans, said in a statement. “We urge employers to consult the sponsor of their M&P or volume submitter plan document and their pension plan advisor or attorney now. The September deadline will be here before you know it.”

M&P plans are “off-the-shelf” documents that employers obtain from plan sponsors such as banks, brokers, insurance companies, lawyers or consultants. Volume Submitter plans are more customized documents usually obtained from lawyers or consultants.

Employers or plan sponsors who need more information should call the customer account services toll-free at 1-877-829-5500.