SPARK Asks IRS for 403(b) Prototype Plan Program

March 24, 2008 ( - The SPARK Institute has submitted a formal request to the IRS for a "Pre-Approved 403(b) Prototype Plan Program," according to SPARK Institute general counsel Larry Goldbrum.

In a SPARK Institute press release, Goldbrum said the Institute outlined in its letter nine areas for consideration in developing a prototype document to meet its stated goals. According to Goldbrum, some of the key considerations include pre-approval of documents covering governmental 403(b) plans and church 403(b)(9) plans.

“The objective of our comment letter to the IRS is to help in the design of a pre-approved 403(b) plan program which is accessible to employers on a cost-effective basis, is easy to implement and maintain, and is understandable to non-retirement plans specialists,” he said, in the announcement.

The SPARK Institute also requested that the IRS postpone the compliance deadline for the written 403(b) plan document requirement so that employers could adopt an IRS-approved prototype document at the outset, rather than developing their own document that may later have to be revised in order to comply.

Last week SPARK filed a 13-page comment letter with the IRS asking for an extension of the effective date for compliance and guidance on the treatment of contracts and information sharing agreements (See SPARK Institute Wants Extension on 403(b) Regs Compliance ).

The Institute has scheduled a “403(b) Plans Data Sharing Technology Summit” for Wednesday, March 26, in Hartford, Connecticut, to discuss the technology issues involved in the information sharing process that is required under the new regulations (See SPARK Calls for Provider/Sponsor Input on 403(b) Issues ).