If you are an employer who provides employees with a 401(k), 403(b), or any other “check-the-box” Prototype plan document, you will need to restate your qualified retirement plan by July 31, 2022. The restatement will require working with your document provider, plan consultant, or ERISA attorney to amend your plan document and execute it by the deadline.
What you need to know
Every six years, employers are required by the IRS to restate qualified retirement plan documents. This is done to incorporate any legislative or regulatory changes. The IRS announced that the Cycle 3 document restatement is due by July 31, 2022. This does not include revisions related to the SECURE Act or CARES Act, which must be in the plan by the end of the year. Cycle 3 restatements must incorporate all legislative changes enacted before February 1, 2017.
There are consequences for not amending the document on time. If you haven’t spoken to your document provider about the restatement, then you are already behind. If you are late restating your document, you will need to file under the Voluntary Correction Program (VCP). The IRS will allow you to correct the oversight, but there will be a penalty. If you fail to timely restate your plan document and also fail to file under the VCP, you can subject your plan to disqualification by the IRS. This effectively reverses all tax-deferred contributions to your plan. You will need to negotiate a payment penalty to stop that from happening.
Level up your plan
You can also use this restatement cycle as an opportunity to review your current plan document. If the plan is outdated, now is a perfect time to restructure things like eligibility, entry dates, and contribution types, to boost your recruitment and retention efforts. It’s also a chance to review your plan’s operations and if it’s being executed appropriately. Is the current plan being run in compliance with the document? If not, take this time to reevaluate and modify your processes as needed.
While not officially part of the Cycle 3 restatement process, now is also a good time to add the CARES and SECURE Act provisions to your plan before the December 31, 2022 deadline. The CARES Act was relief designed to help savers through COVID in 2020. Enhanced loan limits and a moratorium on loan repayments in 2020 became available. Distribution limits were increased without the 10% penalty, allowed paying the distribution back, and made it non-taxable. The SECURE Act changed the age for Required Minimum Distributions from 70 ½ to 72, including allowing Long Term Part-Time employees in the plan without a required employer contribution, and allowing penalty-free distributions up to $5,000 for childbirth or adoption.