IRS Offers Online 401(k) Guide

February 19, 2004 ( - Defined contribution jargon got you down? Well the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has provided a layman's tutorial that may be good for what ails the plan sponsor.

“Have no fear.  We’re with the government and we’re here to help you.   Really,” is how the IRS wants plan sponsors and other interested parties to feel when they come looking for information about the often complex world of the 401(k).   For that, the IRS has established a free online tutorial walking plan sponsors through some basics and more advanced 401(k) questions.

>The tutorial, available at,,id=120298,00.html , examines not only what makes a 401(k) plan tick but also some of basic regulatory questions plan sponsors often have such as filing requirements and annual contribution limits.

>The guide then goes on to cover “four distinct stages” of a 401(k) plan’s evolution:

  • choosing a 401(k)
  • establishing a 401(k)
  • operating a 401(k)
  • terminating a 401(k).

>Additionally, the IRS provides additional resources for plan sponsors who may have additional questions about the ins and outs of defined contribution administration.   These additional resources include a bevy of government publications from the IRS and the Department of Labor (DoL).