Historically, the Internal Revenue Service’s determination letter program was widely available to plan sponsors, giving reassurance that their plans were in documentary compliance with benefit laws. Unfortunately, the IRS has recently curtailed this program, making it available in very limited circumstances and leaving employers with little recourse to show interested third parties, such as outside auditors, plan participants, investment providers, and third-party administrators that their plan’s documents exhibit qualified status. By not having the opportunity to go through the determination letter process to ensure compliance, plan sponsors may now be exposed to costly IRS penalties and participant lawsuits. Further, not having a determination letter could delay annual financial audits and any due diligence process involving benefit plans.
For employers sponsoring retirement plans, a Littler benefits attorney will review the plan and can provide a written legal opinion related to the qualified status of the plan. Littler QualifiedAdvantage™ is beneficial because we not only provide plan sponsors with an opinion on plan provisions – we take things a step further by making specific recommendations on practice pointers in accord with best practices, lawsuit avoidance, and sound fiduciary governance. For an additional fee, Littler QualifiedAdvantage will also monitor developments and deliver updates of plan provisions as required by the IRS.
Littler QualifiedAdvantage is suitable for individually designed plans, prototype plans as well as volume submitter plans, including plans of tax-exempt and governmental entities.
Littler’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice groups have extensive experience in all aspects of employee benefits. Our attorneys deal with qualified plan compliance issues daily and we would be happy to discuss Littler QualifedAdvantage with you.