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Required Amendments (Revised 7/8/2008) is a chart with a list of required amendments and due dates for defined contribution plans since the GUST restatement:

Post-GUST Amendments

  • Required Minimum Distribution Final Reg (Required)
  • Deemed Section 125 Compensation (Optional)
  • Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA)(Required)
  • Automatic Rollover Amendment (Required)
  • Roth Amendment (Optional)
  • Katrina Amendment (Optional)
  • 401(k) Final Regulations Amendment (Required)
  • 2007 Interim Amendment (Required)

EGTRRA Restatement

  • 2007 Interim Amendment (Required)

Plan Termination Amendments

  • Amendment for DC Plan Terminating in 2008 (Required)

The chart also provides the same information for defined benefit plans, and provides the following details under the 2007 Interim Amendment section:

(It includes changes in Norma Retirement Age, Code section 415 Compensation, Excess Annual Additions, and Restorative Payments; along with an election for Post-Severance Compensation.)

Updating Your ERISA Retirement Plan for Section 415 Changes discusses the IRC Section 415 Final Regulations (T.D. 9319 - 72 Fed. Reg. 16878 (April 5, 2007) - Limitations on Benefits and Contributions Under Qualified Plans), with an emphasis on the post-employment compensation provisions:

The proposed regulations generally did not allow post-employment compensation to be considered compensation under Section 415 with 2 exceptions: (i) if the payments would have been paid if employment had been continued (such as overtime or commissions); or (ii) if the payments were due to accrued bona fide leave (such as vacation or sick leave) that would have been available if employment had been continued. These exceptions would only apply if the compensation was paid out no later than 2 ½ months after termination of employment.

With regard to the post-employment compensation, the final regulations adopted the proposed regulations with one adjustment. The final regulations extend the time period for severance compensation payout. Instead of requiring payment within 2 ½ months after termination of employment, payment of post-employment compensation (as allowed by the exceptions) must be made by the later of 2 ½ months after severance or the end of the limitation year that includes the participant's termination date.

Every Company's Retirement Plan Must be Amended this Year also discusses the IRC Section 415 amendment and its deadline:

If a plan document is not amended before the deadline, it will be subject to disqualification by the IRS. Generally, the deadline is the last day for filing the corporate tax return for the plan year commencing on or after July 1, 2007. For example, if the plan year is used to measure the Code Section 415 limitation, and the plan year is the calendar year, then the deadline is the filing of the corporate tax return for the 2008 calendar year.

Despite this general rule, the deadline may be earlier in 2008 depending on how the plan is written. This means that, if your company has a qualified retirement plan, it should be amended in the near future to avoid qualification problems.

Check with your retirement plan consultant or attorney for more information about your plan documents. ESOP Planning: Plan Documents and Disclosures, an installment in our ESOP Planning series, discusses some of the items to consider during your review and discussion.

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