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Northwest OH Legal Blog

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Internal Revenue Service Issues 2017 Required Amendments List for Individually Designed Tax-Qualified Retirement Plans

On December 5, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued the 2017 Required Amendments List for individually designed tax-qualified retirement plans.  By way of background, the IRS annually releases its Required Amendments List to identify changes to the rules governing tax-qualified retirement plans that may require amendments to such plans in order for such plans to remain tax-qualified under the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”).  The required amendments list is generally divided into two categories:

  • Part A covers changes that require amendments to most plans or to most plans of the type affected by the particular change.
  • Part B covers changes that the IRS anticipates will not require amendments to most plans, but might require an amendment to a particular plan because of an unusual plan provision.

The 2017 Required Amendments List sets forth the following changes to the legal requirements that are applicable to tax-qualified retirement plans under the Code beginning in 2017.  In general, these changes do not appear to affect mainstream Taft-Hartley plans.

Part A – Required Amendments to Most Plans or Most Plans of Type Affected by Particular Change.  Part A contains two changes.

1. To the extent applicable, cash balance/hybrid plans must be amended to comply with final regulations covering market rate of return and other requirements that first became applicable to such plans as of January 1, 2017.

2. An eligible cooperative plan or eligible charity plan that was not subject to the benefit restrictions of Code Section 436 generally becomes subject to those restrictions for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2017.

Part B – Required Amendments to Plans with Unusual Plan Provisions.  Part B contains only one change.  That change applies to defined benefit plans that permit bifurcated distributions pursuant to which the benefit is paid partly in the form of an annuity and partly as a single sum (or other accelerated form).  Any plan that offers bifurcated distributions of this type must do so in a manner that complies with the requirements of regulations issued by the United States Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) under Code Section 417(e).  Code Section 417(e) deals primarily with issues relating to the actuarial equivalency of different forms of benefit.  The final Treasury regulations issued in 2016 provide methods for satisfying this requirement. These regulations generally apply to plans effective as of January 1, 2017, but taxpayers may elect to apply the regulations to an earlier period.

Deadline for Adopting Amendments on 2017 Required Amendments List.  In general, amendments necessary to comply with the changes set forth on the 2017 Required Amendments List must be adopted by the last day of the second calendar year following the issuance of the list—that is, by December 31, 2019.  However, earlier amendments may be desirable in some instances (for example, amendments adopted to comply with the bifurcated distribution rules in Part B before December 31, 2017 are eligible for relief from the anticutback rules under Code Section 411(d)(6), which generally prohibits retroactive benefit reductions.


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With an office located in Toledo , OH Allotta Farley Co., L.P.A. serves clients throughout northwest OH with various legal matters. Areas of service include Allen County, Ashland County, Auglaize County, Crawford County, Defiance County, Erie County, Fulton County, Hancock County, Hardin County, Henry County, Huron County, Lucas County, Marion County, Mercer County, Morrow County, Ottawa County, Paulding County, Putnam County, Richland County, Sandusky County, Seneca County, Van Wert County, Williams County, Wood County, Wyandot County.

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