IRS Outlines Process Changes for GUST Determination Letters

July 2, 2001 ( - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has outlined changes to the determination letter process that will allow the agency to better handle the influx of applications associated with the "rush" to GUST amendments.

According to Announcement 2001-77, Schedule Q of the Form 5300 determination letter application, used to demonstrate coverage, nondiscrimination and other operational compliance, is optional effective July 23.

Employers that have adopted nonstandardized master and prototype and volume submitter plans can rely on a favorable opinion or advisory letter that has taken into account the requirements of GUST and other conditions without requesting a determination letter, according to the Service.

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Employers that maintain a multiple employer plan can rely on a favorable determination letter for most qualification requirements without submitting a new application, IRS said.

Before the end of 2001, the IRS says it will make available a list of master and prototype and volume submitter plans that were submitted for GUST advisory and opinion letters by Dec. 31, 2000, indicating the dates on which advisory and opinion letters were issued or the applications withdrawn.

Practitioners can amend volume submitter plans to reflect final regulations on cross-testing (TD 8954) issued June 28, while plan sponsors will be able to request determination letters that take into account the final regulations beginning Aug. 22.

According to the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA), the IRS will be revising several forms, including the Form 5300 series, and will soon post drafts of some of the forms on the IRS World Wide Web site until final forms are available ? probably in August.

Determination letter applicants will be allowed to submit either current or revised Form 5300 series forms until the end of the year.

– Nevin Adams