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IRS issues Required Amendments List for 2019

Benefits Administration and Outsourcing|Executive Compensation|Retirement

By Gary Chase and William (Bill) Kalten | January 23, 2020

Plan sponsors must adopt any amendment on the 2019 Required Amendments List by December 31, 2021.

In Notice 2019-64, the IRS issued its 2019 Required Amendments (RA) List for individually designed qualified and 403(b) retirement plans. The deadline for adopting any amendment on the 2019 RA List is December 31, 2021 (i.e., the end of the second calendar year following the year of publication).1 “Discretionary amendments” must still be adopted by the end of the plan year in which the plan amendment is put into effect.2

The RA List is divided into two parts. Part A covers changes in qualification requirements that would require an amendment to most plans or to most plans of the type affected by the change. Part B includes changes in qualification requirements that do not affect most plan sponsors but might require an amendment because of an unusual plan provision in a particular type of plan.

The 2019 list has two Part A amendments and no part B amendments. The Part A amendments include:

  • Final regulations for hardship distributions require an amendment to eliminate the suspension of an employee’s elective deferrals or contributions as a condition for obtaining a hardship distribution and to require a representation from an employee who requests a hardship distribution regarding the need for the distribution.3
  • Final regulations regarding cash balance/hybrid defined benefit plans require an amendment for certain collectively bargained plans to provide for a market-rate-of-return requirement and satisfy other requirements.

Going forward

Plan sponsors should review the 2019 RA List to determine whether to incorporate any of the items into their plans. They should also consider having their plans reviewed periodically to ensure amendments are adopted on time, in light of the IRS’s elimination of cycle-based submissions under its determination letter program for qualified plans, and the newly established deadlines to adopt amendments for 403(b) plans.


1For more information on the amendment timing requirements, see “IRS provides guidance on future determination letter program,” Insider, August 2016 (for qualified plans) and “New IRS 403(b) plan document compliance program,” Insider, December 2019 (for 403(b) plans).

2In addition to the annual RA List, the IRS also publishes an Operational Compliance List, outlining changes in the qualification requirements that need to be reflected in plan operations because of a statutory or regulatory change before it shows up on the RA List.

3For more information on the final regulations for hardship distributions, see “IRS final guidance on hardship distribution changes,” Insider, October 2019.

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