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IRS Publishes New Form 5300 and Instructions

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published a revised form and instructions for Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan.  Form 5300 requests the IRS to determine whether the documentation of an individually designed retirement plan meets tax qualification standards under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Because the new Form 5300 has numerous changes, plan sponsors and their advisors should carefully review the new instructions before completing and submitting a Form 5300 and should allow extra time to prepare Cycle A determination letter filings that are due on or before January 31, 2012.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published a revised form and instructions for Form 5300, Application for Determination for Employee Benefit Plan.  Form 5300 requests the IRS to determine whether the documentation of an individually designed retirement plan meets tax qualification standards under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Although the IRS did not provide an effective date for the revised form, it replaces the prior version and appears to be intended for immediate use.

The revised form generally tracks the prior version, though it asks the plan sponsor to provide some additional information.  For example, the plan sponsor must:

  • Provide the signature date and effective date for each amendment submitted
  • Note whether any issue is pending before the Employee Benefits Security Administration or the Voluntary Compliance Program of the Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System
  • Identify the filing as on-cycle or off-cycle and provide the basis for that determination
  • State whether the plan has been involved in a merger not considered in a prior favorable determination letter
  • Classify the plan as an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) if the plan contains any ESOP provisions, and identify the ESOP as leveraged if the plan contains leveraged ESOP loan language (regardless of whether the plan has utilized this provision)
  • For multiple employer plans, submit a Form 5300 (lines 1–8 only) for each employer who adopts the plan, signed by the respective employer
  • Report whether the filing is for a foreign plan or foreign trust (including Puerto Rico), and, for plans in Puerto Rico, disclose whether the plan sponsor has made an irrevocable dual qualification election

In addition, the instructions formalize previous guidance that the IRS has released regarding formatting guidelines, including that Courier 10 point font should be used, that all letters should be capitalized, and that written responses are not acceptable if an item provides a box to check.

Because the new Form 5300 has numerous changes, plan sponsors and their advisors should carefully review the new instructions before completing and submitting a Form 5300, and should allow extra time to prepare Cycle A determination letter filings that are due on or before January 31, 2012.  View the new form and instructions

© 2019 McDermott Will & Emery

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About this Author

Maggie McTigue, Employee Benefits Matters, McDermott Will Law Firm
Associate

Maggie McTigue is an associate in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.  She focuses her practice on a variety of employee benefits matters relating to pension and 401(k) plans, health and welfare benefit plans, and executive compensation.

312-984-5812
Diane M. Morgenthaler, Corporate Tax Planning Attorney, Retirement Plans for Companies, McDermott Will Emery, Chicago Law Firm
Partner

Diane M. Morgenthaler focuses her practice on employee benefits and executive compensation. She represents clients in matters before the US Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Diane serves as employee benefit counsel to Fortune 500 corporations and other global corporations, and represents both public and private clients. She regularly designs and implements a variety of employee benefit plans and programs. Diane has extensive experience in employee benefit issues involved in acquisitions, reorganizations and divestitures and in the design of employee benefits plans following such transactions. She also advises clients in matters involving multi-employer withdrawal liability, fiduciary liability and benefit claims.

Diane’s experience includes:

  • Representing a Fortune 500 company in its $8.5 billion tax-free spin-off
  • Representing a company in one of the year's largest private transactions
  • Implementing an offshore pension plan for a company's global expatriates
  • Implementing a lump-sum window for a pension plan as part of a company's de-risking strategy

Since 2004, Diane has been ranked by her peers as a “Leading Lawyer” in a survey published by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company.  Since early 2009, Diane also has been named as an Illinois Super Lawyer by Law & Politics.  Finally, she was selected to the Legal 500 in 2011, and is the senior editor of EmployeeBenefitsBlog.com.   

312-984-7676
Stephen Pavlick Employee BenefitsLawyer, McDermott Will Emery Law firm
Partner

Stephen Pavlick is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  He focuses his practice on the area of employee benefits matters for large multinational corporations.  His clients include several Fortune 100 companies and a major trade association.  He is a member of the Tax Management Advisory Board for Compensation Planning and is a regular participant at their monthly luncheons with government officials.  Stephen is a Certified Public Accountant. 

Mr. Pavlick concentrates on qualified...

202-756-8312