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Summer To-Do List: Determination Letter Filing for Cash Balance Plans and Pension Equity Plans

The IRS deadline to file for a determination letter for an individually designed statutory hybrid plan is August 31, 2020. Statutory hybrid plans include cash balance plans, pension equity plans and certain other variable annuity plans. This deadline has not been extended under any recent IRS pandemic-related guidance.

Beginning in 2017, the IRS suspended the cyclic determination letter program for individually designed retirement plans. However, subsequent IRS guidance established a limited window for statutory hybrid plans to apply for a new determination letter.

The IRS will review statutory hybrid plan determination letter submissions to ensure compliance with the 2017 Required Amendment List (which includes the changes required by the final hybrid plan regulations) and all prior IRS Required Amendments Lists and Cumulative Lists.

Notice to interested parties of the application for a determination letter is required to be provided to plan participants not less than 10 days nor more than 24 days before the date the application is submitted. Thus, plan sponsors need to send out such notice no later than August 21, 2020, in order to submit an application by the August 31, 2020, deadline.

At this time, it is unknown when (if ever) the IRS will offer other another limited determination letter application window (although certain merged plans also may be eligible to submit determination letter applications under current IRS guidance). 

© 2020 Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 196


About this Author

Erik D. Vogt, Drinker Biddle, Administrative attorney

Erik D. Vogt is an associate in the firm's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group. His practice focuses on advising public, private, and non-profit companies in the design and administration of retirement plans, health and welfare plans, and executive compensation arrangements.

  • Retirement Plans: Erik assists clients with the design and administration of 401(k) plans, defined benefit plans (both traditional and cash balance), profit sharing plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and 403(b) plans.  He also...

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Mark P. Rosenfeld Employee Benefits Attorney Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath Minneapolis, MN

An employee benefits lawyer, Mark Rosenfeld counsels employers, plan sponsors and administrators on the design, administration and governance of retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans) and welfare plans (such as health plans). He also drafts executive compensation arrangements, equity incentive plans and severance plans. Mark provides detailed analysis and advice on IRS Code § 280G golden parachute provisions in M&A transactions.

Retirement Plans

Mark works with plans sponsors and plan administrators to support the day-to-day operation of both ERISA tax-qualified plans (like 401(k)s) and non-qualified plans (such as deferred compensation plans). He helps clients respond to claims for benefits and files correction applications with the IRS and DOL. Mark also assists in the review and approval of qualified domestic relations orders and power of attorney forms submitted to these plans. 

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mark provides deal support to both buyers and sellers by reviewing and advising on issues related to employee benefits plans in M&A transactions. He also analyzes potential IRS Code 280G issues and advises clients on how to proceed in order to eliminate or minimize any adverse tax implications. Following the completion of a merger, Mark assists the buyer in the winding down and termination (or merger) of recently acquired benefit plans. 

Other Employee Benefit Plans

Mark has assisted clients in drafting executive compensation arrangements, severance plans, deferred bonus plans, sale bonus plans and equity incentive plans. He also provides analysis and advice on potential IRS Code § 409A deferred compensation issues.

Previous Experience

During law school, Mark gained experience as a summer associate at Faegre Baker Daniels and law clerk with the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, Civil Division. Prior to his legal career, Mark worked in politics and government.

Personal Interests

Mark enjoys reading, cooking, hiking and playing board games.