IRS Employee Plans unveils operating priorities for FY 2013

The IRS Employee Plans (EP) division has released its fiscal year 2013 Work Plan. The Work Plan includes four operating priorities: 401(k) plans, governmental plans, 403(b) plans, and International.

401(k) plans

IRS EP said that it will continue to analyze and use the data from the 401(k) questionnaire project and dialogue with 401(k) stakeholders to address compliance in the 401(k) market segment.

The project results will be used to improve education, outreach and guidance to the 401(k) community, enhance EP voluntary correction programs, redesign case selection methods and develop follow-up compliance projects to address identified issues and trends. This will include:

• Using data to design web-based outreach products including enhancements to the 401(k) Fix-It Guide;

• Holding focus groups with external stakeholders to clarify anomalies in 401(k) questionnaire responses;

• Evaluating suggestions from responses to the 401(k) verbatim questions to consider enhancements to guidance and EP’s determination letter and voluntary compliance programs;

• Designing and implementing compliance projects to address specific areas of potential noncompliance and emerging issues or potential abuse; and

• Refining the 401(k) case selection process through enhanced risk modeling.

Government plans

According to the Work Plan, EP will continue to partner with Federal, State and Local Governments and Indian Tribal Governments to improve service to the governmental plan community by:

• Continuing development of guidance to assist governmental plan sponsors in complying with the tax qualification requirements;

• Continuing to solicit input from the governmental plan community on published guidance;

• Processing the remaining Cycle C and Cycle E determination letter applications; and

• Analyzing how to improve the governmental plan determination letter process.

403(b) plans

Employee Plans said that it will continue to enhance the 403(b) compliance initiative by:

• Opening the 403(b) pre-approved plan program that will assist plan sponsors in complying with the 403(b) written plan requirement;

• Partnering with 403(b) stakeholders to make improvements to the 403(b) and correction programs;

• Developing outreach products to encourage sponsors to conduct self-audits and use the Employee Plans correction programs; and

• Sharing its examination results within the 403(b) community to reduce common error trends.

International

Finally, EP said that it will contribute to the IRS-wide International Strategic Plan by:

• Working with the Large Business & International Division on the development of an IRS-wide international glossary to ensure a corporate approach on global and U.S. territory issues;

• Sharing knowledge and coordinating issues to ensure effective global tax administration for retirement plans under IRS jurisdiction;

• Ensuring that Employee Plans’ international communications and referrals follow TE/GE operating procedures and the TE/GE Communication Plan;

• Developing educational tools and guidance to assist taxpayers with international/U.S. territory retirement plan compliance;

• Partnering with international stakeholders, including other government organizations, to enhance customer service and facilitate voluntary compliance with the tax law requirements for retirement plans;

• Designing and implementing compliance strategies to address potential noncompliance, emerging issues or potential abuse; and

• Building on completed compliance efforts and developing new global projects.

Source: IRS Employee Plans 2013 Work Plan, February 12, 2013.

For more information on this and related topics, consult the CCH Pension Plan Guide, CCH Employee Benefits Management, and Spencer’s Benefits Reports.

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