On January 13, 2017, the IRS issued guidance setting March 31, 2020 as the last day of the remedial amendment period for 403(b) retirement plans.

A remedial amendment period is a time frame during which an employer can identify and retroactively correct defects in its 403(b) plan document without IRS penalties. A "defect" for this purpose is the presence or absence of a provision that causes the plan to fail to satisfy the requirements of Section 403(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. 403(b) plan defects can be retroactively corrected to the start date of the remedial amendment period (the later of January 1, 2010 or the plan's effective date) by either adopting an IRS pre-approved 403(b) plan or amending its written 403(b) plan by March 31, 2020. Employers desiring to make 403(b) plan document corrections after March 31, 2020 may have to do so through the IRS's Employee Plans Compliance Resolution System, or EPCRS.

Employers at this point have significant time (between now and March 31, 2020) to identify and correct defects in their plan documents. Nonetheless, getting started now will allow employers to review and correct any defects in the plan document, as well as to address any operational errors that may have occurred as a result of the document errors, comfortably before the deadline.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.