December 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 340

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December 03, 2021

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When to Amend: Deadline for Compliance with Hardship Distribution Regulations Clarified

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 liberalized the hardship distribution rules applicable to 401(k) and 403(b) plans. On September 23, 2019, the IRS issued final regulations — which we discussed in a previous blog — implementing the new hardship distribution rules. While some of the new rules were discretionary, there are several mandatory provisions that will take effect on January 1, 2020, including:

  • Plans are prohibited from suspending employee deferral contributions following hardship distributions that occur on or after January 1, 2020; and

  • Employees must represent in writing (including electronic representations) that they have insufficient cash or other liquid assets reasonably available to satisfy the need giving rise to hardship distribution requests that are made on or after January 1, 2020.

On December 12, 2019, the IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2020-9, clarifying when 401(k) plans must be amended to comply with the elimination of deferral suspension and written representation rules described above: December 31, 2021 for both individually designed and pre-approved 401(k) plans, which aligns with the deadline the IRS established for non-governmental 403(b) plans in Rev. Proc. 2019-39.

Key Takeaway: Although plan documents do not need to be amended immediately, plan sponsors should ensure that they are in operational compliance with all mandatory hardship distribution rules that become effective on January 1, 2020.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 357
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About this Author

Stephanie O. Zorn, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Employee Benefits Attorney
Of Counsel

Ms. Zorn  has over twenty years of experience exclusively representing management in employee benefits and employment matters, both as in-house counsel and in private practice.

Ms. Zorn’s  employee benefits practice includes counseling clients with regard to plan compliance, administration, participant disclosures, reporting and drafting requirements under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, ACA, HIPAA and COBRA. Ms. Zorn assists clients with a broad range of plans, including retirement plans, welfare benefit plans,...

314-827-3939
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