As the end of 2023 quickly approaches, it is time for sponsors of tax-qualified plans to review their plan documents and the applicable annual Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Required Amendments List (RA List) to ensure their compliance with IRS plan amendment deadlines and requirements. Fortunately for plan sponsors, the list is short for required amendments to adopt before the 2023 year-end. Additionally, for most plan sponsors, it is also the time to formally adopt discretionary amendments made to the plan during the 2023 plan year.
2023 Discretionary Amendments
For qualified plans, whether individually designed or utilizing a preapproved plan document, the deadline to adopt any discretionary amendments that did not already require a written plan amendment is the last day of the plan year. For calendar year plans that date is December 31, 2023, the same deadline for required amendments discussed below. Plan sponsors will want to consult with their counsel and providers to make sure that their plan document accurately reflects how the plan operates in 2023 and adopt any necessary or desirable amendments before the end of the plan year.
2021 RA List for 2023 Required Plan Amendments
Generally, an RA List sets forth amendments that must be adopted to certain individually designed qualified plans and individually designed Section 403(b) plans because of changes in laws or regulations. An RA List requires that the specified amendments be made to the plans involved on or before the last day of the second calendar year after the issuance of the RA List. Therefore, for the 2021 RA List, December 31, 2023, is the plan amendment deadline if the required amendment applies to your plan.
The 2021 RA List, issued in Notice 2021-64, requires only one amendment related to the Special Financial Assistance Program for financially troubled multiemployer plans. The program provides that the sponsor of an eligible multiemployer plan may apply to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation for financial assistance. Generally, an affected multiemployer plan must meet certain benefit reinstatement and benefit payment requirements in order to be eligible.
Looking Ahead to 2024
The 2022 RA List does not list any required amendments for which December 31, 2024, would be the last day of the remedial amendment period. Some of the changes made by SECURE Act 2.0 to qualified plans and 403(b) plans will become effective in 2024, however. Although plan amendments are not yet required for those changes, employers will need to make some decisions about whether and how to implement them. We will be sending clients a further First Alert reminding them of those new provisions.